What to consider when choosing a venue for your event? Is a venue finder for you?
If you were to list the most important factors to consider when organising an event, the right venue will certainly be top 3 if not the number 1 most important element.
Choosing the best venue for your event can make or break the occasion and will have the largest overall impact on your guests and the final results. In Dubai there are so many venues and so many variations or requirements, do you want indoor, outdoor, indoor and outdoor, a yacht, beach club, ballroom, private space, mixed use space…. The list goes on and is also very unique for most events.
There is a lot to think about, many things to consider. You can of course talk to DXB Event Works about our venue finding service and speak to our experienced team to discuss the best venue options available. We know the venues, connect with their teams regularly and can usually get the best deals and availability.
It can be a daunting task with so many things to consider and ensure all guest requirements are met, so, many people rely on our services to guarantee successful events.
We work through some guidelines when we are venue finding, we take all things into consideration and compile a detailed list of requirements with the client before our venue search. Some of the things we consider, as venue finders, before recommending or suggesting any venues are below.
How soon should we start our Dubai venue finding?
This can never be too early. If you want to be guaranteed your most suitable venue on your preferred date then it’s never too early to start the venue search as long as you have a few basic details confirmed, estimated attendance, event size, space required, approximate budget and event format (seated dinner for gala ball, buffet style dining…)
We recommend around 6 months in advance to guarantee your desired location and allow time to plan all other event elements such as event production, entertainment, theme, event marketing, event artwork and creatives etc.
Where should you host your event in Dubai?
As venue finders, we usually suggest a venue that is within close proximity to the majority of people that will attend, near the office or close to their homes. If your guests will travel internationally or then maybe near the airport is more suitable or if guests are staying in a particular hotel location then maybe in that hotel or close by will be best.
All venue choices can be customised to work best for your guests but we always need to consider traffic, access for transportation, parking and hotel facilities. For many events now, we suggest an event app to eliminate any confusion or issues on the day, everybody downloads the app and they have GPS maps, directions to show arrival time, this helps to eliminate late arrivals (although there is always a few!), parking instructions, check in / hotel information etc, everything they need to know in the palm of their hands. We can even include interactive maps to help attendees navigate to the exact location so they have no excuse for getting lost or being late. On site directional signs need to be positioned in well thought out locations to make it easy for your guests and nobody arrives flustered, especially for exhibitions or large-scale events.
What parking facilities does the venue offer?
Many venues have a variety of parking facilities including valet parking, self-park or for large scale events in some cases there will be park and ride options. Some venues in built up areas may have limited parking so it is worth checking if they have access to other car parks nearby. Parking is extremely important because that is the very first impression of the event. If guests get frustrated parking then that sets their mood for the evening. Not good!
We have all heard the stories in Dubai of highways becoming car parks when trying to attend a concert or on particular celebrations, you don’t want that to be your guests.
Alternatives, if the venue has little or no parking is
- reserve a nearby carpark and include in the budget,
- we can talk to Uber or Careem and arrange preferential rates for guests attending or at least ensure they have plenty of availability in the area,
- suggest taxi sharing for guests that can be connected through the app, good for team connections also, people living in the same area travel together…
- valet is essential for highbrow events so we can find many parking solutions to this.
What is the capacity of the venue?
Health and safety guidelines must be adhered to when considering this and in times of Covid these rules can change so it is important that you know your max attendance and work towards that with the guidelines in mind.
Obviously, we can’t have 500 people attend an event with a capacity for 300. Also, we need to consider other elements such as stage and event production, entertainment etc. The comfort of guests at your event at the event is important so it is better to overestimate rather than have a venue that is too small and crowded.
What facilities, services and amenities are offered?
Is there on-site catering or is there a kitchen that can be used by outside caterers? Food and drinks are an important element and you need to be sure that all guests in attendance have plenty of both, otherwise they get grumpy!
Often a venue will have a minimum spend, especially the up-market venues in Dubai with guarantees of 50k AED and upwards. The spend is redeemable so it is worth considering previous events and what your total spend was previously, maybe it will be above the venue minimum in which case the venue is free. If you spend below then the balance is charged as a venue rental. Also check if they include taxes, municipality fees, service charges etc.
If the venue has no kitchen then its best to bring your own caterers that you can share details with and tailor your food and beverage menus to match your theme or event. Always check and taste the caterer’s food in advance of confirming any event because the last thing you want is to negatively impact your event or party. Try to avoid venues that only allow specified caterers. This limits your creativity and the event.
Most venues will provide tables, chairs, linen, cutlery etc but it is worth checking and it is definitely worthwhile checking the quality in advance of confirming the use of those. You may need to hire these to meet your requirements, theme or just to look more pretty.
Will the venue set up and dismantle everything, will they also clean the venue before and after your event? You think it’s obvious but some venues won’t offer this so its always good to check every detail. Arriving to a dirty venue is not a fun arrival and then there is a hurry to find people on very short notice!
What event production, AV, staging, dance floor etc are provided, if any. Many in-house systems do not meet the requirements of events with any large numbers attending so this needs to be hired if it’s not provided. Ask for a list of what is provided and check with a professional team if it is adequate for your requirements. A small in-house system (in the ceiling or similar) may work for 20 people and one or two speakers but above this needs a professional event production team like DXB Event Works.
Don’t forget to check power points, hanging points, AV locations and all other technical details to confirm the venue is suitable. A venue finder can help with all of this if you do engage one in Dubai.
What activities will you include in your event and can the venue cater for all of these?
As part of the event planning process, you really need to have a rough idea on how you think your event would work, format, layout, amenities required, people required, space etc. Use venue floor plans to help guide you through this, all venues should have venue plans and some even have interactive maps to help visualise your event. We have created 3D visuals of events in the past. Using modern event technology, we generate a walk-through of your event before we ever get on site to start the build.
Your venue layout needs to be considered to assist with flow of traffic, caterers and guests, registration areas, bars, toilets, entrances, exits, stage, stage access, dressing rooms, demo areas, promotion points etc. Every event is unique so each element needs to be confirmed for a successful event.
What is the result you are trying to achieve?
The ambiance in the venue is important and this can only be changed through lighting, décor and sound. Check the existing décor and lighting, do they match your theme? Is the architecture particularly attractive or not at all therefore needs to be hidden?
All events require different elements but a gala ball will be expected to look pretty and pose a gala ambiance whereas an exhibition is functional and needs less of the pretty dressing and more meeting facilities, less ambiance basically. The less the venue matches your wishes, the more you need to spend to bring it up to par and match the event. The event theme will need to be considered also, masquerade ball or Christmas wonderland, does the venue work?
How flexible is the event date?
Great for negotiating if you are flexible and can offer the venue 2 or 3 options. They will usually be more negotiable if your filling a date that maybe they haven’t already filled or think they may not fill, Tuesday above a Friday for example, depending on the event and venue.
Some other venue finding items worth checking, according to our venue finders in Dubai, are:
- Venue insurance, some venues want you to provide event liability insurance, not all but it’s worth asking, they may want to be named on your policy or a particular amount of liability needs to be met.
- Are the facilities easily accessible to people of determination or anyone with special needs? Can they access the venue and is there an easy route for access? Will this be of concern for you, only you will know your guests.
- Will children attend and if so does the venue have any facilities for children?
- Venue acoustics are regularly overlooked. In simple terms this is how sound travels and some venues have very poor acoustics (warehouses can produce huge echoes or reverberation, small ballrooms too low and can be loud if overcrowded) so you wake up with a sore throat from shouting and you barely heard anything that was said. It really is helpful to get the venue size and capacity right however there are always ways to fix this should it become a problem but it eats into the budget.
- Other events. Don’t host your event on the same day as a similar or competing event. This will affect your attendance numbers and after all the hard work you want to ensure you achieve the huge success you’re after.
- Get an official agreement or contract from the venue to guarantee your chosen date and venue.
- Consider live polling prior to the event either through the app or online. This can confirm attendance, food and beverage requirements, staff requirements etc. Its worth considering and may save you time and money.
- Event permits and performer permissions are required for events in Dubai through DTCM. Some venues charge to apply for this, others don’t so it is something to flag for your information and confirm cost also. There is a cost for permissions so you need to decide if you want to do this, the venue can do this or you can hire someone to this for you.
There is a lot to think about. If you take all of the above into consideration when booking your venue, you will be successful but it’s not for everyone and can be stressful. This might also explain why you would need a venue finder.
Venue finding shortcuts!
Talk to DXB Event Works today to discuss our venue finder options and save yourself all the headaches. Check out our full list of services here also.