When evaluating event spaces, factor in time to prepare on-site for a successful event. In particular, ensure there is sufficient time reserved for setup. Many events will require at least 1 advance day, dedicated to building the stage and setting up all gear in the room. In addition, consider time for all of your presenter and entertainment rehearsals. The most successful live productions allow exclusive rehearsal time for everybody who will go on stage.
Some venues require use of their in-house AV company or in-house vendors for certain services. These expenses can make or break your event budget! Some companies charge thousands—even 10s of thousands—for gear another production company may be able to provide at another venue for a better price. Venues charge very different rates for power, internet, and especially rigging, so be sure to check those details before signing a contract. For best results, engage your production company in advance of signing the contract for the venue space to ensure these costs are evaluated. Many venues will discount their exclusive services, but your negotiation power ends the moment you contract the space!
When thinking about the technical success of your event, consider ceiling height, columns, acoustics (e.g. carpet, metal ceiling), and space for seating AND stage/rear projection, VIP holding areas, and your AV control center(s). Most venues present maximum capacities without any consideration for stage risers and production. Are you planning on rigging a lot of hardware for your stage design? Inquire about the availability of rigging for the space you’re considering.
Consider the elements of your event and the type of experience you’re looking for. If you’re planning for networking during your event, be sure the venue you’re choosing has an area with wide open space for people to gather. If you’re planning to have a lot of attendees in a ballroom or exhibit hall, consider the room capacity and shape you’ll need to accommodate. And be creative! Hotels, convention centers, stadiums, and arenas all offer different types of experiences, but why not host your next dinner gala in an airport hangar?
All of the above should put you a step ahead in your search for an event space. My biggest piece of advice: partner with a company with expertise in the industry, like Cybis. Our clients benefit from our knowledge of events from inception to completion. We are here for you if you need consultation in your event planning process, will answer any questions during pre-production, and will support you on-site through a successful event production. Orlando chooses Cybis and so should you!