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Developing a Checklist for Selecting a Conference Venue

Let’s say you’ve held a meeting and made the decision to host a conference for your business, and everyone is excited and raring to go. Well, that’s just the first step – now comes the hard work of organising it! This includes deciding where to hold it, whether to provide accommodation, how to promote it, the topics and speakers to invite, drawing up a schedule, and of course setting the budget.

Drawing up checklists for the various aspects of a conference can take a lot of the stress out of the process. For example, you can make task lists for choosing speakers, scheduling, presentations, sponsors, topics, staffing, bookings, equipment required, and the venue.

Let’s focus on the latter – what to consider when selecting a conference venue.

Considerations for selecting a venue

The very first thing to decide is what the aims of your conference are – that is, whether it is to be a promotional, networking or training event, a retreat or something else, and what it is you hope to achieve. This will help you to get started on the various aspects of selecting the venue. The checklist for this includes:

  • Location

This one is a major priority. Your conference venue needs to be easy for people to get to. It’s important to consider driving times, whether there is public transport nearby, and ensuring there is adequate parking available on-site. Also, if people are travelling from interstate, the venue needs to be close to or easily accessible from the airport.

  • Seating capacity

Assuming you’ve already decided on the number of guests, your venue needs to be able to provide your seating requirements. Ideally the conference room should be a good match for your numbers – if it is too small, it will feel cramped, and if it is too large, it may feel a bit like an echo chamber! Seating arrangement is also relevant. Options include theatre or classroom style for presentations, U-shape configuration for participation, boardroom style around a long table, banquet style with separate tables, or a cocktail room for standing and mingling.

  • Ambiance

It’s very important that the style of the venue matches your aims. For a B2B conference, a corporate style of venue will probably be best, whereas for a retreat, you might want something more relaxing and informal, in a quiet and peaceful location.

  • Accommodation

If your conference or retreat is to run overnight or over several days, you will of course need a venue that includes accommodation.

In this case, you should check out the quality of your chosen venue’s accommodation as a priority – after all you want your guests to be rested and refreshed, so make sure the rooms are comfortable, clean, and attractive.

  • Catering and other services

Food is always important, so make sure it’s good! Find out what your chosen venue provides in the way of meals, tea, coffee, snacks, drinks, and cocktails. Other services you may want to look for include reliable Wi-Fi, secretarial services, and conference co-ordination services.

  • Equipment

Check out what equipment is included in the cost – such as audio-visual (A/V) equipment like projectors and screens, whiteboards and markers, staging, and so on. If you need to bring any of your own equipment, you might need to consider electrical and rigging capacity, loading dock access, and space restrictions.

  • Facilities

Consider what facilities you want for your participants, such as use of a games room, swimming pool, drinks bar, and outside areas for walking and relaxing in.

  • Other considerations

These include disabled access, heating and cooling, lighting, and whether note pads and pens are provided for guests. It’s also a good idea to take a look at online reviews and testimonials from past users of the venues you are interested in.

  • All-inclusive packages

Once you’ve worked out what you need for your event, see if you can find a package deal that includes all your requirements for the one cost. Make sure to check that there are no hidden costs.

Making a checklist for your venue can set your mind at rest so you can then concentrate on all the other aspects of your conference, such as promotions, schedules, ticket sales and the rest.

Check Glen Erin’s conference facilities against the list

Are you looking for conference venues in the Macedon Ranges? We provide facilities for both day and overnight events.

Day conference facilities at Glen Erin include conference room, A/V equipment, buffet lunch, afternoon tea, snacks, secretarial services, parking, and your own conference co-ordinator.

Residential packages come with all of the above, plus 4½ star accommodation, complimentary Wi-Fi, full use of retreat facilities and more.

Contact us at Glen Erin at Lancefield if you would like more information or to discuss your conference and obtain a quote.