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What to ask when choosing a conference venue

Looking for a London conference venue? Finding the right location can make the difference between an a great event and a mediocre event.

But picking the right place isn’t easy; the selection of venues available can seem overwhelming. To help you choose the perfect venue for your conference, here are some questions you should ask.

1. Is my date available?

Before you get into any detail with a conference venue, it’s important to check from the outset that they are available on your date. You don’t want to spend weeks narrowing down your shortlist to the perfect venue, only to find it was already booked!

2. What’s the capacity?

It’s also important to check the capacity of the venue early on. You need to ensure not just that it can fit the number of guests you are planning, but also that it’s not too big. The last thing you want is for your guests to be rattling around in a half-empty venue.

3. Do they provide in-house catering?

If your conference requires any catering, find out what’s available from the venue. Also ask about the food choices they can provide, how flexible they can be, and if they’re willing to cater for specific dietary requirements.

4. What are the local transport links like?

There’s one thing every conference needs: people. So make sure that any conference venue you consider has good transport links. If you’re choosing a London conference venue, for example, is it close to a Tube station? An airport? A train station? And what about bus routes and accessibility by car?

5. Is there accommodation nearby?

If you have guests, exhibitors or speakers traveling a reasonable distance to your conference, it’s a good idea to find a venue that offers accommodation. Speakers and exhibitors in particular often like to stay at of as close to the venue as possible, so having the option of accommodation nearby instantly makes your conference more attractive.  

6. What’s the local area like?

After the conference, guests and exhibitors may want to go out for drinks and dinner to network. Guests may even decide to make an event of the conference, and spend some time sightseeing or shopping. So make sure your conference venue has plenty to do and see nearby, including good restaurants. It’s also important to check it’s a safe area for people to walk around at night.  

7. How much support do you provide on the day?

If you need help setting up a stage, or technical assistance for things such as projectors, sound, and lighting, then check in advance if this is available. If not, you’ll need to arrange your own expert for your conference, to avoid your big event being disrupted by a technical hitch.

8. How much does it cost?

This may seem an obvious question, but it’s important to get a full idea of costs early on. So ask for a complete breakdown: costs for basic venue, plus any extras such as catering and any technical equipment or support you need – and what deposit they’ll want. This will allow you to weigh up your shortlist of conference venues on a genuine, like-for-like basis.

9. Can I see the contract?

Once you have decided on your conference venue, check the contract carefully before you sign. Is everything you had agreed on, on there? Did you miss anything out when negotiating what was included? Or have your needs changed since you started planning? Now is the time to spot anything missing, or anything included that you no longer need.  


Need more help in planning your conference?

Choosing the right conference venue in London is just the start! If you’re planning a conference, here’s some more advice to make it a success:

Make sure you read our checklist for planning a conference, read the five magical ingredients for successful conference planning or if you need conference marketing ideas to check out our six ways you can promote your conference.

For more information on how you can host your next event with us, or learn more about our unique venues, contact the Imperial Venues team.