In London, the choices for event venues are as vast as the city itself. With a multitude of options to consider, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, so it’s crucial to establish a clear and detailed event brief from the outset. This way, you can efficiently shortlist the venues that align with your specific requirements and make the most of your valuable time during the showrounds.
Choosing the right venue can make or break your event, so including a venue showround an essential step in your event planning journey. In this guide, we will walk you through the steps to ensure you ask the right questions and make the most of your time during a venue showround.
Before you step foot in a potential event venue, it’s crucial to be well-prepared. Your preparation should start with researching the venue and gathering essential information:
- Define your event requirements: Clearly outline your event’s needs and objectives, including the type of event, expected number of attendees and any special requirements.
- Set a budget: Whilst you may not have defined your final budget yet, determine your budget constraints and elements to cover, and what you’re willing to spend on the venue rental.
- Know your location: Selecting the right location is key when choosing your venue, as it sets the stage for the overall ambience, accessibility and the success of the event. Know roughly where you guests will be coming from and how far they’re prepared to travel.
- Research the venue: Learn as much as you can about the venue online, including its offerings, reputation and any reviews or testimonials from previous clients.
Setting Clear Expectations
Before you schedule a venue showround, it’s essential to set clear expectations. Both you and the venue should be on the same page from the beginning:
- Contact the venue: Reach out to the venue’s event coordinator to discuss your event’s needs and schedule the showround. Have you confirmed the venue is available for your preferred date?
- Ask questions: Be sure to ask the venue representative about any initial questions or concerns you may have. Ask them if there are any venue ‘quirks’ that you should be aware of.
- Confirm the showround the day before: You may have booked the showround weeks ago and your plans may have changed so if you’re no longer free to attend the showround don’t forget to let the venue know as they may have staff coming in especially for the meeting.
Arriving at the Venue
When you arrive at the venue for the showround, take the time to consider the following:
- First impressions: Pay attention to the venue’s location, exterior and overall ambience. Is it easily accessible for your attendees? Will the style of venue complement the event? Will the venue deliver a ‘wow’ factor for your guests?
- Exclusive hire: Is the venue available exclusively for you and your guests or will there be other events happening on the same day?
- Parking and transportation: Assess the parking situation and nearby public transportation options.
- Proximity to accommodation: Consider the proximity of the venue to accommodation options for out-of-town guests. At Kent House Knightsbridge, we partner with a number of nearby hotels including The Berkeley and Mayfair Townhouse.
Touring the Venue
During the venue tour, be thorough and systematic:
- Explore room by room: Walk through each area of the venue, taking note of its layout, capacity, and potential uses for your event.
- Amenities and facilities: Ask about available amenities, such as audiovisual equipment, seating arrangements, and any unique features that the venue offers.
- Consider the whole event Does the space flow like you need it to and are there any breakout or outdoor spaces for guests who want to take a break.
- Don’t forget the basics: Ask to look at the restrooms and cloakroom facilities; will there be enough for your event without queues forming?
- Virtual showrounds: If colleagues can’t join you, find out if the venue has a link to a 3D tour, they can share with you.
Asking the Right Questions
Don’t hesitate to ask questions, make notes and take photos to ensure the venue meets your event’s needs:
- Pricing: Inquire about the venue’s pricing structure, including any packages or additional costs. Is there a minimum spend or numbers?
- Availability: Check if the venue has your preferred date and time available and if there are any booking restrictions. What time will you have access to the venue and what are the departure times for guests? Are late night extensions available and if so, at what cost?
- Catering and services: Ask about catering options and any additional services the venue provides. Does the venue work with a variety of caterers and are they able to provide for a variety of dietary requirements? Is there a list of approved caterers or are you able to bring your caterer in?
- Customisation: Discuss the extent to which you can customise the venue to fit your event’s theme and requirements. At Kent House Knightsbridge, we’re a ‘blank canvas’ venue so you can style it as you please. Not all historic venues can offer this, especially if they’re listed, so it’s worth asking how flexible the venue can be when it comes to styling.
Evaluating the Venue’s Offerings
To evaluate the venue effectively, consider the following:
- Kent House Knightsbridge as an example: Kent House Knightsbridge, an esteemed venue in the heart of London, is known for its elegant and versatile spaces. Consider its offerings as a benchmark for what to expect from a top-tier venue.
- Services and expertise: Assess the venue’s event planning expertise and the support they can provide in executing your event. What suppliers does the venue recommend and like to work with.
- Know your team: Is there a dedicated events team and will your key contact be there on the day? How engaged is the team – have they asked you lots of questions during the showround and do you think they’d work well with you.
If you’re exploring multiple venues, create a systematic approach for comparison:
- Create a Checklist: Develop a checklist or scoring system to rank each venue based on your requirements.
- Gather evidence: Don’t forget to take plenty of photographs and notes during your showround as this will really help when you compare venues, especially if you need to present your recommended venue to colleagues.
Budget and Contract Considerations
Negotiating pricing and contract terms is a crucial step:
- Negotiate price: Don’t be afraid to negotiate to stay within your budget. If you’re flexible on dates find out whether the venue varies its pricing for different days in the week.
- Review the contract: Carefully review the venue contract to ensure it aligns with your expectations and needs. Look at the small print such as the venue’s policies on refunds in case of cancellation or damage.
Finalising the Decision
After the showrounds, it’s time to make your final venue selection:
- Reflect on Your Findings: Reflect on your observations and the answers to your questions.
- Follow Up: After making your decision, follow up with the chosen venue to confirm the details and secure your booking.
In your quest to choose the perfect venue, a well-organised showround is key to success. By following these steps, asking the right questions and evaluating venues effectively, you’ll be well on your way to hosting a memorable event.
To experience the venue showround process of Kent House Knightsbridge, reach out to our dedicated event team and schedule your visit today. Your perfect event venue may be just a showround away!
Exclusive hire of Kent House Knightsbridge allows each event to unfold over two floors with four large and spacious rooms that be configure for different purposes. Kent House Knightsbridge is ideal for 50 to 300 guests. If you’d like to know more or arrange a showround do get in touch with Gary who will be happy to help.