Event Operations Manual
Software for Club Treasurers

Selecting the Venue

Steps to select a venue

Step 1: Analyse the event's need for a venue

It is necessary to ask many questions about what sort of venue is needed. Here are just a few of the questions that should be considered.

Step 2: Investigate possible venue

In a large metropolitan area there may be a great variety of venues from which to choose. However, outside of the metropolitan areas choice may be extremely limited.

On the assumption that your organisation does not own and operate a perfect venue for their event, event organisers should research possible venues by:

All information, even subjective comments, found as a result of researching venues should be retained for future use. Event managers should create their own database.

Step 3: Make site visits

Once some possible venues have been identified, it is important to make a site visit.

Venue staff are usually only too pleased to show prospective customer's around. The purpose a site visit is to determine the suitability of the venue. The table below identifies and explains five facets of suitability.

Venue suitability
  • Area must be appropriate to cater for the event i.e. abide by rules (if a sport). For indoor venues, ceiling height must be sufficient.
  • The venue needs to be appealing to all participants. The venue should appear to be well maintained and clean.
  • Indoor venues - consideration needs to be given to lighting and air temperature control. Seating needs to be comfortable and in good view of the performance area. Places to relax away from the performance area also a beneficial feature.
  • Outdoor venues - advantageous elements include sufficient drainage, lighting, shading and protection from wind.
  • Sufficient changing areas, showers, sauna, etc
  • Kitchens, canteens and food serving areas
  • Offices or meeting rooms for Media and the Event Staff
  • Telecommunication facilities - telephone, fax, Internet
  • Public address system is available
  • Can be accessed by public transport
  • Nearness to majority of participants
  • Sufficient accommodation within reasonable distance
  • Shops in close proximity
  • The cost of the venue need to be within the realistic limitations of the event budget.

Equipment has been left out of the above list. Organisations booking venues can be reasonably expected to supply and transport to the venue the equipment that their event needs. Some exceptions to this rule may be items related to popular indoor sports such as basketball hoops and backboards, indoor soccer goals, volleyball nets, etc. However this may only apply if the venue being sought is an indoor sports centre. Clearly if a cultural venue such as a theater is being sought for a sport such as Olympic Weightlifting, venue managers cannot be expected to provide equipment.

Step 4: Agree on price and terms

Once you have identified some possibly suitable venues, your next step is to enter into negotiations with venue managers to get the best possible deal that you can. Although venue managers will have standard prices you should not think there is no chance of bargaining the price down, or alternatively, bargaining for extra services.

If it proves to be difficult to get a reduced hourly rate, you may be able to get some free time, or use of an additional part of the facility free, or obtain access to sound equipment at no cost, or even get some additional personnel at a reduced price e.g. security.

Step 5: Make a booking and confirm

When you have selected which venue is the best for your event, it is time to make a booking. Although the venue will take a booking over the phone, it is likely that you will be sent within a few days a contract that states:

After you have signed and returned the contract together with a cheque deposit, you should never assume that your booking is safe and forget about it until the last week before the event. It is well worth your while to keep lines of communication open with the venue manager and to keep checking that you booking is safe (i.e. does not get double booked).

Step 6: Make further site visits

The purpose of making further site visits is to assure yourself that nothing has changed, or at least that any changes that do occur will not affect your event. Changes that could occur include lighting, fixtures removed, equipment and decor.

Further site visits are useful also to plan your event e.g. shipping in equipment.


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