How Many People Will Come To Your Next Event?
When you select a venue, one of questions you’re venue operator will ask is “How many people do you expect to come to your event” You’re planning your event in advance so now you must speculate how many people you expect to attend your event. Finding a venue requires you to judge your approximate attendance and reserve an appropriate space in advance. Now, you wouldn’t want to reserve a hall for 500 if you only have 50 attendees, and you wouldn’t want a classroom-size room for 200 people. When selecting a venue, here are my tips for planning ahead with built-in flexible options.
Price of the Venue Dependent Upon the Number of Attendees
Some venues price their facilities based on the number of attendees at your conference. This can be an excellent option if you’re not expecting many attendees, or if you don’t know how many attendees to expect. The cost-per-attendee minimum number in many cases is lower than the per-room rate if you just rented the room. However, a per-head rate can become far more than the cost of the room if you have many attendees.
If you’re not sure about attendance, discuss a per-head rate. If the per-head minimum is lower than the cost of renting the room outright, and you have an uncertain number of attendees, the per-head rate could conceivably cost you less if you need to cancel or don’t have enough attendees. If your risk tolerance is low or you need to conserve your budget, consider a per-head pricing structure. Otherwise, rent the venue outright.
Is the Venue Flexible?
If you receive substantially more or substantially fewer attendees, is the venue operator flexible? Is there a smaller room that can accommodate your group if you have fewer attendees than anticipated? Does the venue have partitions to close off a section of the room for a more intimate meeting space? Alternately, does the venue have a larger space available if you get more registrations than you anticipate?
A flexible venue gives you the option of accommodating a larger-than-expected crowd, or down-scaling your event if attendance isn’t as high as you’d anticipated. You wouldn’t want to schedule a venue for 100 people and have only 10 attendees, but if you have the ability to switch to a smaller area, you can retain the confidence of knowing you can accommodate any size group. The question for you then becomes whether the event is justifiable based on the attendance; not whether the venue can accommodate your group.
Selecting the Right Venue for Your Group
When considering the size of your group, select a venue that can accommodate the specific needs of your group. If you have 200 people attending your event, and you expect to serve refreshments, lunch, or dinner, you’ll need a different venue than, for example, an exhibit hall where vendors demonstrate wares to 200 attendees. Consider the facilities that your group will need, and whether the venue can comfortably accommodate a group of your size.
Estimating the number of attendees can be challenging. Utilize pre-registration techniques to get a preliminary head count, and try to select a venue that is flexible enough to adjust to your needs. Avoid committing to a firm number until as close as possible to your event, and evaluate whether a per-head or a flat room rate better benefits your event.