When organising a business event such as a conference or launch, location is key. Before you book a basic hotel solution, it's worth looking around for a more impressive venue that could turn your event into a special occasion
If you're hosting an event, conference, meeting or launch, your venue decision will no doubt be influenced by factors such as price, position and facilities. You may also need overnight accommodation, good transport links, catering facilities or exhibition space. First and foremost, your venue choice need to be practical.
But thinking outside the box can pay dividends. An unusual or surprising corporate event venue can deliver three important advantages:
- it can increase attendance levels;
- it can show your business in a more positive light;
- it can make the event itself more atmospheric and memorable.
Here are some ideas for impressive venues that could help your business event go with a swing.
Historical business event venues
Museums can be fascinating places to hold a corporate get-together. The National Science and Media Museum in Bradford, for example, has everything from large auditoria to seminar rooms, all with state-of-the-art AV facilities. It even offers exclusive screenings of IMAX films.
In London, the Canal Museum, close to King's Cross station, has bags of character and a peaceful waterside setting. Its unique selling point is that it offers quality at budget prices - small meeting rooms cost from £99 plus VAT.
If you're after a historic event location, you can't beat London's Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms. The meeting facilities include a number of period rooms, all with up-to-date AV facilities and air conditioning.
Sporting venues for business events
The atmosphere of a sporting venue can help you create a successful conference, meeting or launch. Many football clubs, including Tottenham Hotspur, offer meeting rooms, conference facilities, catering and a tour of their own hallowed ground.
For rugby fans, Edinburgh's Murrayfield Stadium has facilities for events of all sizes.
Cricket-lovers will jump at the chance to come to any event held at a major cricket ground. Edgbaston, in the West Midlands, has conference rooms and boxes. In London, Lords promises an unforgettable experience whether you are a fan of cricket or not.
One sporting event that has wide appeal is horse-racing. Perth Racecourse in Scotland, for example, is set in the beautiful surroundings of Scone Palace Park.
London-based venues for private hire
If you're holding your meeting or event in London, how about the legendary Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club? Impress your guests in a club that has played host to everyone from Nina Simone to The Rolling Stones.
Another winning idea is to hold your business event in a zoo. London Zoo has facilities for everything from team-building events to press launches.
You don't have to be green-fingered to appreciate the splendour of Kew Gardens. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is gaining a reputation for hosting corporate events with the wow factor, thanks to its venues such as the Orangery.
A stunning Thames location and a touch of history are on offer aboard the HMS Belfast. Inside there are special spaces to hire for your special event, including the Admiral's Quarters. Outside, you can have a barbeque reception on the Quarterdeck.
Corporate event venues outside London
One of the premier venues in Wales has to be the Millennium Centre, in Cardiff Bay. The centre has two theatres, six function rooms, galleries, shops, restaurants and foyer spaces.
In Scotland, the Tall Ship at Glasgow Harbour is a major visitor attraction and an interesting place to hold an event. Further north on the banks of Loch Ness is another venue with a view. Loch Ness Lodge has facilities for small groups such as team gatherings and receptions.
Thrill-seekers will love the idea of an event at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, which has a variety of high-tech facilities suitable for business presentations, conferences or launches. Hireable rooms are suitable for group sizes from 50 up to 2,000 delegates.
Getting help from an events management company
There are hundreds of interesting conference venues the length and breath of the UK, and holding your event at an unusual venue does not have to cost the earth. Most venues have a wide choice of facilities for every budget, and with smart negotiation you may be able to find some bargains.
A specialist venue-finding company can help you find the right location. You won't pay any more than going direct, as these companies agree discounted rates and receive commission from the venue.
In addition a good events management agency can help you run the entire event and add creative value with ideas for an engaging programme.
When it comes to booking a venue for your next corporate event, business meeting or splashy product launch, it definitely pays to think outside the box.
With thanks to Pete Forse of Apex Event Management