When organizing your next event in a lively metropolitan city such as Toronto, there are a ton of variables to consider during the event planning and venue sourcing process. Effective venue sourcing could very well be the difference between your event’s success and failure. Below we have identified 5 Key Things To Consider When Sourcing Your Next Event Venue in Toronto, in order to minimize headaches and maximize attendee experience for all.
When planning an event one of the most important and obvious objectives is staying within budget. Sourcing an event can become extremely complex when you factor in the list of variables that can impact your bottom-line. Be aware of the seasonal effect on pricing changes, and that your venue pricing depends on anything from the time of year, day of week, and even the time of day. Other key areas to consider that may impact cost are the presence of in-house catering and associated facility fees. A venue may seem like the ideal option but without reasonable minimums for food and beverage fees, you may be better off sourcing your catering from an alternative arrangement if your contract even allows for this.
2. Location, Accessibility & Parking
The city of Toronto can present its’ own unique challenges when planning an upcoming event. Having a thorough understanding of the venue location can improve the event experience tremendously.
Is your location centrally located? Just this summer we saw the Toronto Raptors’ Championship Parade sweep through the downtown core, likely disrupting any planned event within the area. It is important to understand the accessibility of your venue, and how the attendee experience will be impacted before they even arrive. Selecting a venue that is easily accessible by transit and highways may impact attendance greater than you anticipate. A fundamental aspect of venue accessibility is the presence of Parking options. Does your venue provide on-site parking, or are there sufficient parking options within walking distance? It is important to evaluate these factors during the venue selection process.
3. Ability to Work with Outside Vendors (AV / Catering / Décor / Etc.)
In a very possible scenario, you have found the venue of your dreams, but a few things are not up to your required standard. In the case that you need to enlist the support of outside vendors, it is critical to know what flexibility you have with the venue. Be sure to evaluate the rental agreement and understand what options are available to you. Components like AV, Catering, & Décor can often require the need of outside vendors in order to facilitate the event as intended.
During the venue sourcing process, it is important to be aware of whether the allowance of such outside vendor services is permitted, and whether the venue has already defined a list of preferred vendors that you must choose from. Even further, be wary of any restrictions on access or access duration for your vendors – ensuring that deliveries, pick-ups and setup can run as smooth as possible.
4. Event Space Capacity & Features
Another consideration that ranks very high on the list of factors influencing a planner’s venue decision is the matter of event space (meeting rooms, capacity and minimums). It is imperative that your venue has enough space to run as planned, and that you are not met with any capacity concerns. There is no way to avoid safety codes and maximum room capacities, so you must plan your attendee list accordingly.
5. Attendee Experience
At the end of the day, when planning your event, you should ultimately be considering the attendee experience. Understanding the event from the perspective of the attendee can help you craft an engaging and entertaining event experience. Too often, events are planned with function served only in mind and no consideration of what the attendee actually wants and the experience they take home with them at the end of the event.
What is the persona of your expected attendee demographic? Are there any available insights in your audience that may be able to assist in the planning process? These are relevant questions that when answered, can elevate an event and provide a certain personal touch. Attendees that are engaged and connect with the event will likely respond more positively when recalling their experience.
As you can gather, there are many variables to consider during the venue sourcing process, especially in a unique urban centre such as Toronto. However, with the guide of the listed points above, we hope you will be able to find some assurance in your quest in sourcing the perfect event venue.