Finding the perfect event venue is crucial in the creation and execution of an unforgettable occasion, and is arguably the one decision that will have the largest impact on your event.
But identifying the right event venue can be intimidating, as it can take up quite a bit of your time and it is hard to know what to look for when selecting a location.
And, if your special occasion takes place abroad, you might encounter an additional layer of difficulty, especially if you are not familiar with the destination or do not know locals with knowledge and experience in event management.
[su_box title=”View/Download this Case Study in a PDF” style=”soft” box_color=”#ca9f83″]How to Choose your Event Venue Abroad
The first things you must have quite clear in your mind are the following:
- What’s your budget?
- How many attendees will you have (audience capacity)? This is really important to understand what kind of properties would suit you.
- Which part of Italy do you dream of?
- What kind of event is it? Formal or informal, wedding, corporate retreat, product launch…
- What kind of venue do you have in mind? Beach, mountain, countryside or metropolitan venue?
Once you have an idea of these things, you can begin your search.
Even though finding the right event venue is an exhaustive work, we would like to share with you 5 tips for accomplishing just that in Italy or anywhere else – whether you are organizing a destination wedding, product launch or corporate meeting, family reunion or a gourmet event.
1. DYI or Event Planning Company?
You can search for and select an event venue either on your own or by contacting and working with specialized event planning companies. While the first option might seem more straightforward and less expensive, it depends on the extent of your event-planning experience, how well you know the destination, and how much time you have at your disposal. It is probably a good idea to leave the difficult, exhaustive work to a trusted, transparent company that listens to and understands your needs, with local experts who know your chosen destination.
A destination management company (DMC) has experience, local knowledge and partnerships with venues and suppliers, factors that might make your event more cost effective in the long run. For example, at Italian Special Occasions DMC we have excellent partnerships with many fantastic, intimate and original properties. We have selected venues that are strictly characterized by a long history, solid traditions, sustainable approaches and unique styles. Ours is an ongoing selection: we are always on the lookout for amazing venues that are difficult to find, located off the beaten path.
2. Site Inspections
Once some possible venues have been identified, it is important to make a site visit, the purpose of which is to determine the suitability and “feel” of the venue.
By seeing and walking around the property, you can look at it with your specific needs in mind, or with the specific needs of your client in mind. A site inspection should include every aspect of the facility that will be used by your group, and any area that they might use. How well maintained is the property? Is there an issue with the space that doesn’t appear in the marketing brochure? How friendly and prepared is the staff?
Other aspects that you are able to consider first-hand during a site visit, are:
- room capacity and layout, because you want to make sure that your guests feel comfortable in a spacious place and that the flow of traffic during the event is smooth;
- whether the venue is accessible, i.e. if everyone, especially those with special needs, can access the building and its amenities;
- acoustics, because depending on the type of event, you want to avoid echoes and loud sounds that don’t allow your attendees to hear one another (architecture and ceilings can have quite an impact on poor acoustics!).
If you decide to rely on a DMC like Italian Special Occasions DMC for your event in Italy, we will organize a Fam trip that includes site inspections to achieve the highest level of transparency, trust and dedication.
3. Atmosphere and History
What’s the history of the venue you are looking at? What style is the décor and architecture of the building, and what do they convey?
If you are wondering why these aspects are important, just imagine two scenarios for a moment, involving a corporate event in Italy (although you can apply the story to any kind of special occasion). In the first case, the entire company eats a standard continental breakfast and is then crammed up in an impersonal hotel conference room. A lively but standard business meeting and gala dinner take place later on during the day. In the second circumstance, participants enjoy homemade pastry and artisanal products for breakfast, and then take their seats in a conference room with high-vaulted ceilings and frescoed walls. The meeting and gala dinner are themed after the local history and traditions of the destination where the corporate event is taking place. Which experience are guests more likely to remember positively?
Historic venues and themed events are likely to bring back the thrill of being part of such an occasion, and they treat participants with a story they look forward to tell when they return home – not only about the event itself, but also about the organizer – whether it is a newly-wedded couple or a company.
Being flexible on the date can be a great negotiating tool, as certain days of the week tend to cost less, just like some seasons of the year are less requested than others. In other words, timing can greatly affect the costs of your venue and event.
If you want your special occasion to be unique and eco-friendly, seasonality can also be reflected in the food menu of your event: treat your guests with fresh, genuine products and local specialties that are seasonal!
Each season has something special and different to offer, and we at Italian Special Occasions DMC can suggest you the best region-season combination for an event that not only helps your pockets, but also the local environment and community.
A convenient location means different things for different events. You might be interested in hosting a conference in a larger city with convenient airport access and a wide availability of hotels, such as Rome, Milan, Florence or Turin. Or you may prefer hosting a more intimate event in a scenic, countryside destination somewhere off the beaten path, such as Maremma (Tuscany), Langhe (Piedmont), or Valle d’Itria (Apulia).
Either way, location can affect other aspects of your event planning, such as logistics and transport. Do you need to allocate budget for bus trips? Can you reduce the chance that attendees will be late due to getting lost in Italy’s roads?
Also, if you are planning a themed event with original storytelling to make your brand or your wedding memorable, choosing the right location can simplify the process for you. For example, when we organized a product launch in Florence, we developed a theme centered on the Florentine Renaissance, and how it led to a new artistic identity with revisited values and spirituality. This historic journey was parallel to our client’s experience revolving around innovation, creativity and aesthetics. You can read more about this by downloading our Case Study “How to Plan the Perfect Corporate Event”.
What do you think about our tips? Are there other aspects that are fundamental to you when choosing an event venue abroad?
In this post we shared 5 tips: check out our blog for the next 5 tips that we will reveal very soon!
At Italian Special Occasions DMC we know how difficult and exhausting the organization of an event can be for you: our flexibility and dedication allow you to enjoy an enriching experience with your guests/clients while we handle the hassle, from selecting the perfect event venue, to logistics, to conceptualizing a story. Put us to the test: contact us now!