Living up to our title as “Hospitality Capital of World,” Central Florida is home to thousands of spaces and places from which to produce engaging event experiences. Events of all types: conferences, conventions, festivals, performances, weddings, corporate retreats, fundraising events, charity galas, social affairs, networking experiences, and of course – parties!
At Anything is Posh Able, we have been building excitement about brands, missions, and events for over 15 years in Central Florida. And as an Event Strategist and Communication Consultant, I consider “place” central to the experiences we curate for our clients. If you are planning an event in Central Florida, check out these tips and tricks to find the perfect event space for the experience you are seeking to create for your attendees. But hurry up....things book quickly in our town – and remember you can’t actually start planning or marketing your event – until you book your venue!
The term Central Florida means different things to different folks, at Posh Able Events – we define it at as Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Lake, and Volusia counties (with a combined population of nearly four million). Planning a corporate or nonprofit event, when there are thousands of venue options, can be overwhelming.
It usually starts with a google search, then reaching out to a ton of venues and waiting for a reply, then you start touring. It can also be tricky to get a real cost (all in with tax, gratuity, service and more). Then if you wait long, your venue is booked and you have to start all over again. If you are working with any of Orlando’s talented event producers or planners, the venue scouting process can be seamless and fun. But if you are doing it on your own no worries it’s simple – but not easy. Follow this Venue Scouting process below and you’ll have your dream venue in no time.
Venue Scouting Process
Step 1 - Involve key decision makers from day one, because if you involve them later they may redefine your parameters. Include your committee, board, staff, volunteers - and definitely whomever is signing the contract and cutting the check.
Step 2 - Define event parameters (see below) related to parking, geography, etc. (if you change your parameters you have re-reach out to venues to update information).
Step 3 - Creating a communication plan for your team, send invites and zoom links
Zoom 1 - confirm parameters and create the RFP – then divide and conquer to make a list of all venues that fit your parameters.
Zoom 2 – each team member screen shares to present their top five ideas.
Venue Tour Day – schedule all tours the same day requesting contracts and soft holds on your top three. Have all decision makers present.
Zoom 3 - Group leader presents an apples to apples venue comp chart based RFPs and Tour Day. Assigning final action items.
Zoom 4 –Sign and start planning your event.
Consider the Following Event Parameters When Building Your Event Plan, RFP, and Comp Chart
Geography – Determine your central point (a place of business or area of town) then determine a radius from which you think the majority of your attendees will willingly travel. We suggest ten miles.
Budget – Having produced hundreds of event experiences all over Central Florida I would say less 30% of our clients come to us with a budget. Most of our corporate and nonprofit clients aren’t sure what an event costs – and we are more likely than not helping them to reverse engineer the budget to the event. Having said selection of a venue can be one of your largest expenses.
Objective and Goals – Your venue is your canvas from which you build your event experience, which should elevate the objectives of your event. Whether the goal is to raise a million dollars, introduce a new congresswoman to the area, to team build, or to have fun – make sure your venue supports that in terms of style, function, flow and amenities.
Attendee Experience – The impression your event will leave is influenced by many factors starting usually with how easy the space is to arrive at and continues to parking, restroms, Wi-Fi, food access, bar access, inclement weather plan, stage, seating, sound, temperature, lighting and so much more. Take a think with your team about what’s important so you can easily prioritize and eliminate venues that aren’t a good fit for any of the reasons you will define.