Finding the Right Venue for Your Next Event

Consider these tips to ensure your chosen venue has the amenities needed to host a comfortable and successful event.

When you’re planning an event for your association, selecting the right venue can make all the difference.

Whether you’re planning an annual conference, a lavish awards gala or board meeting, there are lots of things to consider when choosing a venue.

Based on Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority’s (RSCVA) extensive experience hosting events, here are some essential factors to consider when choosing a venue for your next event.

How Big Is Your Attendee List?

Are you planning an intimate board meeting or a conference for 15,000 attendees? “The venue you choose needs to fit the size and scale of your event,” advises Charles Harris, president and CEO of the RSCVA (aka Visit Reno Tahoe).

“You don’t want your meeting attendees to feel frustrated because there’s no space to attend the hot-topic sessions,” Harris said. “If you’ve ever been to a meeting where you had to sit on the floor, or were denied entry to an overcrowded room, you know how annoying that can be.”

For large conferences, Harris said his team in Reno Tahoe recommends venues like the 600,000 square-foot Reno-Sparks Convention Center or the Reno Events Center, which offers 118,000 square feet of flexible space for events.

Smaller groups may enjoy more unique meeting spots. For example, a popular idea for groups with up to 100 attendees is the Kingpin Club at the National Bowling Stadium, which can be booked for a private, catered bowling party.

Consider the Health and Safety Guidelines in Place

While it’s always been important, these days the health and safety guidelines at your chosen meeting space is likely even more top-of-mind for attendees.

Harris says there are some protocols you can look for that will make your attendees feel as safe as possible while at your event.

“When you plan or attend an event at any of the large venues in Reno Tahoe, your health and safety is the number one priority,” Harris said. “We follow current health and safety protocols in accordance with the CDC, Nevada OSHA, Washoe County and other relevant agencies to make sure every event goes off without a hitch.”

Accreditations exist to help you feel more confident that meetings will be safe and secure. Harris explained that one such certification, GBAC STAR™, can help organizations establish protocols and procedures, offers expert-led training, and assess a facility’s readiness for biorisk situations.

“To achieve GBAC STAR™ accreditation, facilities here in Reno demonstrated compliance with the program’s 20 core elements,” Harris said. “Those elements range from standard operating procedures and risk assessment strategies to personal protective equipment and emergency preparedness and response measures.”

Choose a Flexible Host

Should a health and safety situation require a pivot in plans, such as working with a hybrid meeting setup, working with venues that offer flexibility is key for peace of mind during the planning process.

“Today’s environment necessitates virtual and hybrid events, and the Reno-Sparks Convention Center’s i-Studio can be used for a virtual meeting,” Harris said. “This setup lets virtual attendees and your live audience see and hear each other and have the opportunity to interact together as if they were in the same room.”

Should the unexpected happen and a meeting absolutely needs to be canceled or rescheduled, Harris advised checking for destination incentives such as no attrition and flexible cancellation policies.

Infrastructure Is Imperative

Looking further, outside the meeting venue itself, Harris advises considering the other facilities near your meeting space and throughout the destination. They’ll need to be outfitted with the infrastructure attendees expect in order to pull off a successful event.

For example, Harris said that several resorts and hotels in the Reno area have seen millions of dollars worth of upgrades and renovations in recent years.

Additionally, economic development initiatives have successfully attracted big-name businesses like Tesla, Amazon, Apple, Toast and Switch to the area, Harris explains. These new additions to the economy have resulted in the development of new infrastructure and area amenities that are attractive to meeting attendees.

The access an area offers to a strong infrastructure goes farther than just ensuring access to great hotels and restaurants, though.

In Reno Tahoe, a high-tech, diversified economy also allows for new and exciting excursion opportunities such as tours of the Tesla gigafactory. The proximity to these industry leaders also allow for enhanced corporate and academic speaker access for meetings.

If you’re interested in checking out the variety of venues and the natural beauty surrounding Reno Tahoe, you can experience an all-expense-paid site survey through Reno Tahoe’s Come See, Fly Free program. Learn more!

(Handout photo)