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Transform Your Next Event with an Unconventional Event Venue

August 5, 2016

Traditional ballrooms and convention spaces work for a reason, but hosting your event at one of the usual suspects of event venues can unintentionally lend your function an air of “sameness.” Save your participants from event deja vu by jumping on the bespoke venue trend. It’s easier than you think to serve up the unexpected when you work with an event planner to transform an unconventional space into the perfect backdrop for your next big event.


If it’s hard to envision your next company party, networking event, or training conference taking place in an empty warehouse or parking lot, here’s everything you need to know – from how to select a unique venue to what you need to transform the space into an unforgettable experience for your attendees.


Know Your Purpose

Working with unconventional spaces is more than simply moving your office party from the breakroom to the rooftop. You need to make sure the space you choose will serve the intended purpose of your event. Is it a free-flowing networking event or straightforward training session? Is it a celebration? Is it a product launch or marketing mixer? Start with a clear vision of your purpose before you begin touring unused airport terminals and avant garde art galleries.


Sometimes there is more than one intended outcome for an event. In those cases, it can help to sit down with an experienced event designer. They can help you narrow your focus and identify the best alternative venue to showcase your event’s goals and objectives.


Think Outside the Box

Event VenueIn this case, the box is the same, old boring ballroom we’ve all seen a hundred times. To create an experience your participants will be buzzing about for weeks, think beyond walls. Wide-open spaces like warehouses, parking lots, gardens, empty retail space, and rooftops are the perfect blank slate.


These types of venues are an ideal match for informal networking events and company celebrations that center on interaction and conversation. However, with the right know-how (and the perfect event rentals) you can also use them effectively for more formal functions like training sessions, product knowledge presentations, or to kick-off a multi-day conference in style.


Turn the Usual on Its Head

An unconventional event venue doesn’t always have to be held in a former railway station or abandoned building. Sometimes the best way to mix things up is to use an existing meeting space in a new way. How about hosting your next marketing mixer at one of the city’s hottest nightclubs – but instead of dancing under the stars, you’re mingling under the brilliant afternoon sun?


This can be a win-win, especially for businesses that operate only during specific hours. Because the venue would normally be dark during daytime hours, the space can usually be reserved for a fraction of what traditional ballrooms or convention centers charge. Other cool ideas include art galleries, artist lofts, theatres, athletic facilities, and dinner-only restaurants.


Define the Space

Decor Carnival Event

One of the keys that makes a bespoke venue work is filling it with the right staging, furniture, and decor. This helps you define the space so attendees understand where they are, what the purpose is, and how they should participate in the event.


Renting tables, chairs, a bar, couches, or lighting is the easiest way to transform the unique backdrop you’ve chosen into a functional and effective event venue. If you already have an event planner on your team, rely on them to assist with space design, lighting, audio-visual needs and furniture rental. A professional designer will also know the best way to creatively capitalize on the natural or industrial character of a unique venue.


Get Inspired by Pop-Ups

Pop-up events are probably the hottest trend to hit experience marketing and event planning in the past year. “Pop-up” generally refers to an event that takes place in spontaneous way, for a limited time, and in a temporary location. It’s practically the opposite of a traditional, corporate event. Restaurants have really embraced the trend, but many companies are using this format to roll out new products or services and build new relationships.


Even though pop-ups are usually marketing events, the idea can easily be converted to accommodate the goals of a networking event or product knowledge training. Advantages include lower costs, strengthening local connections, intimate client interactions, and increased hands-on involvement. Pop-ups also play very well on social media and can help create new excitement about your company, product, or service.


Pro Tip: Whether you want to go traditional or unconventional with your venue, these are the things you should always keep in mind when selecting a venue:


  • Venue Layout: Do you need one large, open space, multiple rooms for breakout sessions, or a combination of both? Make sure your preferred location can accommodate the activities you have in mind.


    • Location: Is the venue easy to get to? Can you find it accurately using GPS?
    • Parking: If most attendees will drive to the event, is parking ample, affordable, and easy to access?


  • Catering: Some venues restrict catering services or require use of preferred vendors. Make sure that your venue allows you the catering support and/or freedom that you need.


  • Technical Specs: Will you have all the Wi-Fi and other technical support that you need to put on your event as well as any presentations? If you’re using an unconventional space make sure there is ample access to electricity and the Internet.


There’s no doubt about it – unique event venues that are customized to showcase your company are here to stay. If you’re tired of the same-old, same-old, shake things up by finding out how In the Event can help you turn that open field or funky loft space into the perfect environment to mix, mingle, sell, and celebrate.

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