When it comes to choosing a destination for your event, it can be a labyrinth. In this blog, we breakdown the decision-making process into bitesize pieces:
Before determining where your event is to take place, decide what your objectives are; What is the purpose of you event? Is it to launch or promote something new, is it to celebrate success or is it to bring like-minded people together to inspire and encourage collaboration? Once your objectives are set, you can ensure that your choice of destination and venue mirrors your objectives. You can decide whether you need somewhere dramatic, indulgent, motivating, or somewhere that offers a level, calm, distraction free atmosphere. Do your objectives require a destination that is historic or contemporary? Extravagant or modest? What impression should it make? If you apply the theory that destinations and venues are a bit like brands, this will help you to discover which destination and venues work best for your event; what does your choice say about your organisation?
Evaluate the accessibility of the destination by considering transportation options, including airports, road networks, rail and other forms of public transportation; is the destination easy for attendees to reach, especially if they are travelling from different locations? Also factor in a destination’s logistics and infrastructure, do delegates need a visa to travel to that destination? Can the destination cope with influx of people? What technology is in place at the venue to facilitate a smooth check-in process i.e, is the Wi-Fi stable; is there enough bandwidth; can they offer automatic check-in and checkout?
Could the event be hybrid or wholly online? This is an excellent way to ensure that your event is inclusive to all attendees as there may be some who may not be able to travel. Furthermore, take into account how easy it would be for delegates to access your chosen destination if they have equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) requirements. Read Visit Britain's 'DEI Pathway' to understand more how to embed diversity, equity and inclusion into your event design here.
Safety and Security
Prioritise the safety and security of your attendees. Research the safety reputation of your chosen destination, and consider factors such as crime rates, health considerations, and emergency services. Check the UK government’s travel advice for countries outside of the UK here.
Cultural and Legal Considerations
Be aware of cultural norms and legal requirements in your destination. This includes understanding local customs, potential language barriers, and any necessary permits or regulations for hosting events.
Consider the demographics and preferences of your target audience. What will be the draw to make them come over and above great content? People attend events to gain knowledge, network and be inspired – but it’s true that the choice of location can also influence attendance. Pick somewhere different, unique or unusual to add interest to your event. There are some amazing spaces which can work flexibly for events. Be inventive and be extraordinary. Make your event memorable so your guests will be talking about the ambience for as much as the content.
Venue Options / Facilities
Research available venues in your destination. Consider the capacity, facilities, and overall suitability of venues for your event. Ensure that the destination offers a variety of options that match your objectives.
Check the availability and quality of accommodation options. Ensure that there are enough hotels or lodging facilities to accommodate all your attendees by factoring in proximity to the event venue, pricing, and amenities.
Establish a realistic budget for your event and consider the cost implications of choosing a particular destination. Some destinations may be more expensive than others, and costs can vary based on factors such as venue hire, accommodation and transportation. However, events don’t have to be expensive. With a little creativity and imagination, you can host a great event that meets its objectives and more; all within budget.
If you are opting for a popular summer destination, factor in availability of venues during peak holiday season. Consider opting for autumn/winter meetings where availability may be more flexible.
Acknowledge that some delegates don’t appreciate high humidity or heat, hurricanes or snow drifts. Many destinations and venues are better suited to, or only available at, certain times of year, whether it’s for climate reasons, religious reasons, peaks of tourism or academic calendars.
Local Support Services
Check the availability of local support services such as convention bureaus, destination marketing organisations, event planners, and other suppliers. Having a reliable local support network can make the planning and managing of your event a much smoother task.
Local Attractions / Activities
Most attendees when recalling a specific event will naturally think first of the destination. Is there a local element that you can add to your event that will make it unforgettable? Consider involving a local speaker from your industry or field, or add an art, garden, library or chapel tour, something that isn’t ordinarily open to the general public will be special and unexpected! Consider your guests’ likes and dislikes and think about what makes this destination unique and include it in your programme. Many destinations have great ideas for imaginative activities and incentive programmes – take the opportunity to include just a brief window of time in your itinerary for something like this at your event.
Read our sample itineraries here.
Find out about others’ experiences by taking up references.
By carefully considering these factors, you can choose a destination that not only meets the logistical requirements of your event but also enhances the overall experience for your attendees.
Read more of our blogs for helpful tips, insider viewpoints, check lists and much more to help you with planning an event in Cambridge here.
Meet Cambridge can help you find a venue and host the perfect event in Cambridge.
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- using our online enquiry form
- emailing us
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