How to Find Event Venues: Tips from Industry Experts

How to Find Event Venues: Tips from Industry Experts

Finding event venues can be difficult. Venues set the tone of your event and contribute to the overall experience of the attendees. It has to be the perfect space - the right size, with ample parking and fast wifi - that makes your attendees feel comfortable. But even after finding a great space for an upcoming event, the questions continue, what happens if you sell more tickets than you expected? What happens if you sell less tickets than expected? What happens if no one shows up?

Bevy has facilitated thousands of events hosted all over the world, and we have found that almost everyone experiences a similar pain point. Finding venue spaces can be intimidating, time-consuming, and ultimately, a bit stressful. But it doesn’t have to be. We’ve partnered with two of the industry’s top in-person community leaders to share their best practices when selecting venues for their in-person community events. Here are some expert tips to help you find the perfect venue.

Relevant space

Find companies that align with your mission. Guillaume “G” de Smedt, Head of Global Community for Startup Grind gives the example, “Startup Grind, a global community of entrepreneurs, works with a lot of startups. So, maybe a Law Firm that focuses on tech or early stage companies could be a great fit because they can offer services to these companies.” A lot of tech companies are often willing to host meetups in their offices after hours for free! If you have a speaker, you can ask to use their office space for the event.

There are many small businesses who are happy to partner and host relevant events. “If you know that a small Bookstore on Main Street shares an interest in the topic,” Kimberlea Buczeke, Global Community at Asana suggests, “they could be open to having a small gathering in their store after hours.”

Community space

Public Community Spaces:

Find community spaces that are open to the public like parks, public amphitheaters, and libraries. G suggests coffee shops and restaurants as good places to look as well. “Coffee Shops are great for small group meetings of less than 15 people. These spaces can be very noisy so it has to fit for your use case,” G shares, “Bars and Restaurants with space for large parties are good if you plan to have food and drink because purchasing food can reserve private space in the restaurant.” Kimberlea also suggests, “check out educational resources in your area that are regularly hosting events in a classroom setting, like General Assembly or even a local Community College. Universities and Community Colleges might only allow enrolled students or alumni to host events on campus, but it’s always worth it to find out.”

Private Community Spaces:

Coworking spaces are always open to new members and can be a great place to find venue space. Many venues like this may consider a partnership of sorts if they feel they will get enough value out of hosting your audience. This value proposition should be carefully packaged for them in order for them to see the value for themselves. This can lead to significant cost savings for the venue organizers if arranged correctly. Kimberlea says, “you’re bringing a group of people into a space for the first time, so ask yourself these questions: Can you promote the space in any way or share your attendee list? Always plan to include the space in your presentation and educate your guests about what they offer. This could also open up into a regular opportunity. For example, once a month you could host a free, scheduled workshop. This helps the event space have a steady stream of events and you to create a relationship with your venue.”

Paid space

There is always a chance you won’t find a free venue. After exhausting the options for free space - although, if it’s a nice evening, a picnic event in the park, anyone? - there are plenty of paid venue options. If you do have a little budget to spare, you can take a look at venue sharing apps like Peerspace or Breather that offer different-sized spaces to rent all in one place.

General things to keep in mind

It’s good to have a checklist when beginning the search for the perfect venue. Here is list of G and Kimberlea’s “Don’t Forgets”

  • Do they have A/V equipment and will they help with setup?
  • Are they able to support external catering or food, is it easy to clean up if anything is dropped or spilled?
  • Will you be able to record video? Think about echoes and lighting.
  • Is the location convenient to transportation? Is there parking for those who are arriving in vehicles?
  • Will the venue fit your group size?
  • Is the venue accessible for everyone who may attend?
  • It’s often beneficial to reach out to multiple venues at the same time, in case your preferred location isn’t available on your preferred date.

Our Experts

Kimberlea Buczeke, Global Community at Asana
Kimberlea started her career in Public Policy, organizing large community advocate groups in public spaces to promote positive change. She currently works on Asana’s Global Community team, helping launch a global program of professionals dedicated to Asana. Right now, they are hosting the Asana Together World Tour, a series of events featuring workshops and panel discussions around Asana and productivity in major cities worldwide.

Guillaume “G” de Smedt, VP Community
G is the VP of Community for Startup Grind. He oversees a team of 6 community specialists. Guillaume and his team were behind the growth of Startup Grind communities from 200 chapters in 2016 to 600 by the end of 2018. G enjoys making use of his engineering background to build systems to scale global communities. He is also chairman of the community council for the not-for-profit corporation, Silicon Cape.

What to read next:

How does one build and scale an in person community? With a decade of experience, and numerous clients with strong and engaged in person community, Bevy is the thought leader in this space. Here is Bevy's Beginner's Guide for Building an In Person Community.

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