You’ve finalised your meeting agenda and finally the guest list is complete. But the stress that almost every planner faces is how to choose the ideal meeting venue. Stop stressing because your team at The Planner Guru have compiled a list of the top things to look out for when selecting your ideal venue for your business meeting.

  • Location
Selecting where to host your meeting or conference can be a bit tricky so it’s important to assess your needs and requirements before you make any decisions. The location is one of the most critical factors to keep in mind when choosing meeting venues. If you want calm and serene, choose something outside of the city, for example in the Muldersdrift area, picturesque views and quacking ducks, beautiful gardens, it provides a calm environment for those all important meetings.

If transport and time is important for your guests, consider Sandton CBD, close to Gautrain station and nearby hotels and transit routes. Each event is different, so keep your guests requirements in mind too.

  • Cost
As tempting as it may be, do not compile your budget after you’ve seen great, expensive venues. Set a budget right at the beginning and stick to it. Booking a five star hotel when you can’t really afford to could make a huge dent in your bank account.

Provided you choose a good quality, experienced venue committed to making your meeting productive and interruption free, as well as keeping delegates nourished and hydrated with food, drinks and snacks, you’ll get just as much from the event, as if it where in plush surrounds.

  • Facilities
Always look at the facilities at the venue before you book it. Many venues claim to have ‘dedicated meeting facilities’ but not all of them do. Look out for the following if a site is claiming to have dedicated meeting facilities:

  • Does it have a meeting room or function suite?
  • Projectors, screens and LCD televisions available?
  • Does the venue use high quality, heavy duty cables and offer free, unlimited Wi-Fi access?
  • Are there suitable light fittings, power points and unobstructed views in the meeting room?
All of these should be a part and parcel of any local or international meeting venue that claims to have dedicated meeting facilities.

  • Response Times
When you’ve found a conference centre or venue that you like, see how quickly the venue’s sales team respond to your email or telephonic enquiry.

This can quite often be a sign of what the venue’s service will be like dealing with your booking. Always see if you are offered a site visit. Site visits are really crucial because they give you a chance to have a the venue and decide whether you like it or not, and whether it will fit your requirements.

  • Site Visit
When you have booked your site visit, always make a note of the important things you want  to know about, or need in the venue, a few days before you go to view it. This way, you won’t get distracted on the day and will know exactly what you are looking for. When you reach the venue, consider the following:

  • The welcome you receive from reception staff and your sales representative (likely your delegates will be greeted in the same way).
  • Is there a car park, and if so how full is it? Is it free?
  • Is there somewhere to order food? If there is, try to have something to eat  there to check the quality of the food and menu choices before you book the venue.
  • How do the staff behave? If they greet you and other clients in passing, this shows that they’re warm, friendly and welcoming. Do they stand around and talk, instead of doing their jobs? Again, what you see is what you will get.
  • Have you been given all the information you need and have the training and conference facilities been explained to you before you leave?
  • Do the rooms have things like blackout curtaining if they are very bright? Test the wifi connection strength on your phone. Do all the AV equipment items work correctly.
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