The venue plays an essential role in any event and it’s usually one of the first things selected and one of the biggest costs. A venue shapes the event and makes a big impression. It may even be one of the deciding factors as to whether someone attends the event or not. So what are some of the trends in event venues you need to be aware of? The venue flavors the event. It’s style and ambiance create an impression on your audience. Although venues are bricks and mortar constructions we have explored the event horizon and listened as growing interest in the following trends has bubbled up. Sustainability Sustainability is not a new concept. It’s been bandied around for years and venues are progressing at making changes to their facilities as well as their policies. These changes have brought about a new class of venue with green certifications and the like. This is likely a trend we’ll continue to see. As long as it’s on the minds of attendees, it will continue to be important to venues and planners. Select a greener event venue:
Events are wasteful so select a venue that takes their environmental responsibilities seriously. Choose venues in line with your CSR policy and feedback to venues that don’t make the grade so they can make improvements.
Share the venue ethos with your guests. If you have selected a venue on its green credentials, let your attendees know about it.
Test the venues public transport policy. Ensure they can provide detailed instructions for attendees to reach the venue via public transport and that there are provisions such as cycle racks.
Branded Venues Another trend in event venues is venues that were created as visitor attractions and are now becoming brand homes. Marketers may have taken note when Willie Wonka opened his great chocolate factory to the golden ticket contest because using the corporate headquarters as an event venue quickly became an intriguing way to tie in a brand, revenue, and attendee experience. Capitalize on the venue brand name:
Select brand spaces that come with personality and cater to a love of the brand. Even if attendees aren’t enamored of the brand itself, there is a certain amount of fascination that comes with insider tours. Even fictional and spin-off ideas can have a broad appeal for your guests. These brand spaces needn’t necessarily be affiliated with real companies. The big draw is the idea of being part of something exclusive; like seeing a factory off-hours or a behind-the-scenes look that others don’t get. It thrilled us as children (thank you, Mr. Wonka) and it continues to do so as adults.
Weirder and More Wonderful Venues
Events prosper, live and reproduce on social media so the weirder and more wonderful the venue, the more shareable it is on social media and that brings profile, awareness and… FOMO! Crucially, it also brings stimulation, excitement and energy - three characteristics that all meeting organizers want to foster. On the one hand, we have the health and safety police insisting on ergonomic chairs, proper lighting and safe access while, on the other, marketers want weird, wonderful and ‘out there’. There will always be a traditional cohort that insists on top-down meetings with PowerPoint decks and classroom style configurations. Horses for courses. However, more and more ‘traditional’ companies are now coloring outside of the lines and seeking out meeting locations that both delight and discombobulate attendees. After all, our creative juices are hardly going to flow in a beige world that’s sanitized and bland! Make a statement with your venue choice:
If you are running edgy, hip event, you want a unique, funky venue to backup your ethos, not a beige box that zaps creativity. Choosing wisely will set you apart from the competition. Play on the zaniness of your venue in your event marketing and even within your event press release.
Don’t just hunt for venues via the usual channels. If you really want to stand out you might need to go directly to the owner of a property, rather than traditional channels to find a venue.
Unthinkable Spaces as Event Backdrops Some venues are making the most of every square foot of their venue. It’s no longer simply offering many services under one roof. It’s also about the service space itself. Venue managers have noted a trend with event planners longing for non-traditional spaces and are accommodating this wish through making non-standard spaces available in the contract. These original spots are helping venues capitalize on areas of their business they weren’t using before. It also increases the amounts and types of groups they can accommodate and it gives event planners options that make a big impression. Get an edge with your venue choice:
Explore spaces that you can really put your stamp on by renting a parking lot or the roof of a venue. Popular venues are capitalizing on this demand for unusual spaces by hiring out areas that would previously have been off limits. The main concourse at sporting venues and outdoor spaces are now in high demand. As a planner, you can enjoy the benefits of a purpose-built venue but the wow factor of creating something that guests would never expect.
Be brave and explore dry hire options for venues that have never been used for events. Food courts in the mall, aircraft hangars, industrial wood shops, and anywhere guests can be accommodated might provide a versatile space for your event vision.
Focus on the architectural details of the spot, such as the exposed piping of a warehouse, these gems will give an authentic and photo-rich opportunity to your event.
Go Rogue Perhaps a kick-back from our super connected, 24-hour lifestyles is that some events are choosing venues and locations that are completely off the beaten track. Opting for quiet, rural locations, outside of busy city centers, is removing distractions and bringing the focus back to the core objectives for the event. Take some time away with your venue choice:
By choosing a more rural location you are potentially creating a more immersive experience and the opportunity to connect more deeply with more people. Away from bustling city life, it can be easier for your participants to switch off from their everyday stresses and enjoy the tranquility around them. Green spaces, water, mountains and picturesque surroundings can be grounding and make you appreciate the important things in life and our place within it. Some want attendees to unplug and are even banning technology completely from their meetings. This might be a drastic step for many, however, combined with a rural setting it can provide the ultimate break from the outside (or online) world.