Venue hire in London: central London venues
If there’s one thing Central London isn’t short of, it’s venues! Within the three mile distance between Bank to Hyde Park corner, you’ll be certain to find a venue to hire on most streets, whether it be a private dining room for 12, or conference space for 1,012.
So why does the ideal venue rarely feel like it exists? I’ve been there before. Many times I’ve experienced the struggle of knowing exactly what you want, but then finding it just doesn’t exist. So, here’s my guide on how to find your nearly ideal venue hire in Central London (if your ideal venue doesn’t exist).
It’s crucial to identify what’s important to your guests and management before you begin your search.
Top Tip: Before you spend hours trawling the Internet and days running around the city viewing them all, I would suggest collating a shortlist of ideas and asking the decision-maker their initial thoughts on your list. You’ll quickly discover what their musts and must nots are and that could really help you focus your search.
Personally, I will always go by four main factors: location, cost, capacity, ‘feel’.
To me, a wedding venue is fairly simple as there is much less to consider. Does the client like it? Yes. Does it fit in budget? Yes. Done. People will travel to you for a wedding venue (within reason), but this is certainly not the case for corporate events.
The more convenient, the more likely the guests are to attend. Think about it from their shoes. Are they based in a certain area of London and coming straight from work? Will a lot of guests be flying in? If so, you’ll need a venue easily accessible from airports, so look at the tube lines and the route people would be taking in. City Mapper always helps if it’s a route you’re unfamiliar with.
My second biggest consideration is budget, which ties into location as you’ll pay significantly more for central London venues compared to Portsmouth. Corporate budgets can range depending on the importance of the event. I’ve worked in places where some budgets were £500, and others were £600k, purely because of the importance of the event. If budget is an issue, always negotiate. Can you give the venue more than one event? This will help reduce the cost. Could you ask to pay by minimum spend rather than hire charge? You’ll get more for your money and nothing is being wasted.
Sometimes you have to be careful with the connotations of a particular venue. Some are subtle, some not so much. I doubt there are many corporates who would approve venue hire at the Playboy Club, despite the space being ideal for many different events, and being slap bang in the middle of central London. If the associations are less than ideal, can you get around it by naming the room rather than the venue itself on an invitation? Most people will use a postcode to find a venue, so sometimes you can get away with not using the name.
Annoyingly, it is rare that a venue pops into your head and matches all your criteria, so it’s important to know what priority order your tick list is in. Find out if you can compromise on the perfect location to hire a venue thats style matches your brand, or if you can drop guest numbers slightly for a budget-friendly hire.
Don’t disregard venues for problems that can be fixed. Be creative with the space, try to think of ways around the issue. If a venue has a caterer that isn’t so good, explore the option of buying out the kitchen. If the space is old and tired, bring in some contemporary and stylish designers to fix the space for you *hint*. There are few problems which can’t be fixed!
Change the layout of the room. Does it have to be cabaret seating, can it be theatre?
Do you have to have round tables, could it be one, or even two, long tables?
Can you split the event into two venues, day conference in one and a dinner in another?
Finally and my top tip, did you know that if you don’t have time to search for a venue there are companies out there that will do it for you for free? How so? Because they get paid by the venue in commission for sourcing them the booking – so it doesn’t cost you a penny. Some venue finding companies are affiliated with certain venues or groups and they will only show you from their portfolio. We are not affiliated with any venue so will show you everything that is available. Contact us if you’d like to find out more about how we can find you the perfect event venue in London!