So you have a great idea for a seminar or training session, but have you discovered the best venue? Before you answer that question, you need to figure out what your goals are, as well as the primary purpose of your seminar. Simple questions to ask might include: What are the goals of the workshop?; Who do we want our workshop to reach? How will we get attendees there? How many people should we expect and do we have the capacity to accommodate them? How long should the workshop be? and most importantly, what is our budget for the workshop?
Once you have defined the goal and scope of your workshop or seminar, you need to establish where you want to hold it and why you want to hold it at that particular venue. The primary factors in choosing your venue could be location, cost, available dates, capacity and built-in amenities. Your priorities could be different from other businesses and organizations seeking space to hold a seminar or workshop.
Many seminar organizers will focus on location because of the importance of easy access to transportation – and may choose a central location in the city for the convenience of attendees. The availability of affordable parking is also an important factor in choosing a geographic location for the seminar or training session.
If you’re organizing a multi-day workshop with out-of-town attendees, you may want to have people stay overnight in the same place together, as free time in the evening often becomes important bonding time. You will be surprised how much attendees will talk about the information they retained from the seminar and will be more aware and inspired the next day.
So you have found the perfect location and venue for your next event. Now you need to start to think about the room layout and in particular the seating style. Before you book that venue, be sure that it offers various seating styles and is flexible to the needs of your seminar or training session. The simplest seating style is found in a theatre or cinema configuration, with chairs aligned in consecutive straight rows. But what if your session requires desks and internet access? Then you should look at classroom-style seating.
Before you book a venue for your seminar or training session, physically visit your top choices. Yes, they may have great photos or videos on their website, but actually visiting the venue will give you a much better idea if it will work for you and your attendees. Ask the host about parking, transit, local amenities and what your guests should expect at the facility.
You should also consider the professional atmosphere that you need to project. A hotel ballroom may sound and look good on paper, but does it have the back-up and support that an office business centre with meeting rooms offers? Consider the things you might be forgetting. A hotel may not be able to get you those things you need at the last minute, whereas an office business centre has available printers, photocopiers, fax machines, easy-to-use Wifi and professional support staff.