Venue hire in London can be a minefield, especially if you’ve never done it before. There are so many options, from hotels to purpose-built spaces to boats! We’ve got it all. However, choosing the right space massively impacts the success of your event. There are several points to think about which vary from business to business. Our team of experts have been observing the market of venue hire in London for years, and have created the below article to share our top things to think about.
Venue Hire in London: 6 Make or Break Points
A pretty obvious and self-explanatory point, your venue needs to be able to hold the right number of people. Before starting your venue search, it’s important to know how many people you’re expecting to attend, and what format the event will take. For example, a venue that can hold 500 people standing won’t be able to take anywhere near that number seated. There are many different seating styles that affect capacity. Click here to download our sheet which explains the different types.
We suggest looking for space which can take plus or minus 10% of your desired attendees, so if your attendance is less than you expected, the room won’t feel empty. Equally, if you end up being oversubscribed, you won’t have to turn people away.
Something to watch out for: venues can occasionally be a bit overly confident with their numbers on directories. Always have a site visit, and ask for the comfortable number rather than absolute max.
A good location can make or break your attendance numbers. Let’s take a conference as an example. If it’s easy to “pop in” when you have a spare half an hour, people are way more likely to make the effort to attend. Plus, if your event is good, they’ll stay. Things to think about when choosing your venue location are where most of your guests are coming from. If they’re all based in a certain area, it would make more sense to choose a space that is convenient for them to get to. If something is on the other side of London, fewer people are likely to make the effort. Sorry zone 2. Take the time to plot the route in City Mapper, and see what the journey would be like from key hot spots. It will only take two minutes, and you should see the effects reflect your attendee numbers. If you have a lot of people flying in, it makes sense for your venue to be in a place that is easily accessible from the airports.
Now obviously, a venue has to fit into your budget. Whether you’ve got a good healthy chunk or a more modest pot, there’s something that suits everyone. If you’re not blessed with an amazing budget, it doesn’t mean game over. Looking into restaurants that offer a minimum spend can often be a really good cost-effective option, as they mean you’re not “wasting” any money on room hire. Plus, with food and beverages in house, they can really make your £ stretch. Other ways to make your budget go further are by being flexible on your date/day. For business events, Thursdays are the most popular day. Therefore, if you choose to host your event on a Monday, you’ll be likely to get a lower rate as they’re less in demand.
The next thing to consider is the feel of your event. Are you looking for something formal and grand? Then somewhere with the impact of Two Temple Place would be perfect. Or are you looking for something more flexible and industrial? Check out Vinyl Factory. We’re lucky in London to be spoilt with so many different options, sometimes it can be overwhelming. There are also lots of different types of venues, from hotel to dry hire, to conference to restaurant. Each have their own benefits and negatives.
There will be factors that are unique to your audience and your industry. If you work in a creative world, then it might be worth looking into a dry hire venue. This means you’re literally paying for the walls, and you have to source everything which goes into it yourself. A lot harder work, but there’s so much more flexibility. Depending on the venue, you can literally go to town on creating your ideal environment. (Side note, also our most favorite type of venue to work in. Hit us up if you need a hand).
It might be food which is really important to your guests. Say you run a business which attracts foodies, you should make sure that whatever venue you choose has catering which matches up to your standards. Our advice is don’t always assume a good restaurant will be good at large event catering. Cooking 300 covers of the same thing is a very different game to servicing a restaurant.
In reality, the list of considerations when choosing your London event venue is endless. Sometimes, selecting a venue which has a good “name”, like The Tower of London, can be such a good draw that invitees will make more of an effort to attend. In the same vein, if your attendees are likely to get invited to events all the time, selecting somewhere new will again entice them into making more of an effort.
All of these points just increase your chances of more people actually turning up, and there being fewer dropouts. In turn, that means more engagement, more sales, and more revenue for you. Happy days.