Benefits and Challenges of Selecting a Unique Venue

When a planner for a company or association hosts a number of events annually, finding a venue to suit each event can be challenging. Though it can be easy on the team and on the budget to book the same year after year, sometimes there’s a need to find a new event venue.

Luckily, the event industry is changing along with demand, and many of the new venues and restaurants that open have some sort of unique experience built in with them. When it comes to the event planning list, a unique venue can check all of the boxes. Below are 5 considerations when choosing a unique venue:

  1. Audience: For an event that needs to be elevated or impress, spending your budget on things that everyone will remember and notice will go a long way. For a teambuilding event, incentive trip, or event thanking donors, sponsors or partners, including an additional or unexpected twist will add value to the experience and an emotional takeaway as well.
  2. Decor: Many new venues have built-in decor that creates a certain type of ambience, and adding floral arrangements, centerpieces, or lighting can distract or take away from the overall experience. If you must add additional decor, consider the space: If there is already lighting or vibrant colors built-in, like the phenomenal wallpaper at Lucha Cartel (pictured) perhaps small and theme-specific centerpieces are the best way to go. Be sure to work with the existing decor and not against it—you chose this space for a reason.
  3. Menu: Selecting a venue because of the one-of-a-kind theme and decor, and trying to manipulate the existing menu, can take away from the overall experience. Selecting a brewery or distillery, but ignoring the dishes that pair with them, does your attendees and your event a disservice. If you are going to commit to a unique space, fully commit to the venue’s overall experience as well. An example of this is Philly's Mad Rex, which has a themed 'Survivor's Menu' that you'd be doing yourself a disservice not to try!
  4. Timeline: Allow additional time for your guests to experience the features of the venue, whether that be a wine tasting, a tour of the space or an exhibit, or games. This may mean a change in programming, seating arrangements or timing, but it’s something that is necessary. Make sure you speak to the venue contacts, or other planners who have had events before, and ask how long the experience generally takes for groups of your size. Always add time to account for way finding and moving between spaces.
  5. Event Goals and Objectives: If you are hosting an awards gala or conference with extensive programming, spending your budget on any of the above may not make sense. As you look at your goals and objectives, for the event in question and over the entire year, see what truly fits for your group(s).

Which unique venue is your favorite?