A Guide For PA’s On Finding Great Event Venues

When your boss asks you to arrange a company event, what do you do first? There is so much to think about and usually very little time. One of the most important jobs is to find the right venue – it needs to match the event strategy, audience, budget and company needs. It’s not an easy task and most likely will be hugely time consuming at first but once secured, a great venue can make an event IMPRESS!

Here, our very own Becky Herbert, Senior Event Executive, discusses a 4-step approach for PA’s to finding great event venues.

1) Location

The location is a crucial element of an event – you need to make sure everyone can reach the destination to make it happen! Some venues have great transport connections via public transport. If you are booking a venue outside of a city or in a more rural location, it is always worth checking with the venue to see if they can arrange a shuttle service. This may be an additional cost, but it could be offered complementary.  If it can be arranged it will avoid any of your guests getting lost on their way and will be peace of mind for you.

2) Try the product first

You may be in the process of communicating with the venue to arrange a site visit, costs etc. Do not be afraid to ask the venue if you can come along to the venue perhaps stay overnight, try the food, leisure facilities or other products and services. This is the only way you will get a true understanding if this is the right venue for your event. Many venues will offer you a ‘try before you buy’ service complimentary. It will also give you the opportunity to raise any concerns or questions prior to confirming your booking.

3) Negotiate

Once you send the initial enquiry to a venue they will go through the full event details and provide you with a quote. Although some of these prices may be fixed it is always good to try and negotiate a deal. There are a few ways you can approach this;

If your dates are flexible this will be an advantage for you as the venue may offer days where the price can be reduced depending on availability at the venue (usually classed as off-peak).

Research some local competitors get an idea of their pricing and what they can offer, if they offer lower – see if the venue can match.

Sometimes there is no movement on the price if you are fixed on your dates and it is a peak day at the venue. However, you could suggest some added extras complimentary to benefit your event or your guests such as upgraded bedrooms for VIP guests, complimentary drinks reception, additional AV/staging or SPA treatments (venue dependent).

There is always a way to get a good deal, don’t hesitate to ask the venue!

4) Work with the venue

If anyone knows what will and won’t work for an event it will be the venue. They would have done many events similar to what you are looking to arrange and will have the experience. Make sure you communicate the full brief of the event so they can get a clear understanding of what you are aiming to achieve. They may have some ideas which have been proven to work at other events and could really fit in with your event. Anything you are unsure of always check with the venue and never assume as each venue works differently. It is always beneficial to go to the venue and arrange a meeting with your co-ordinator this is great during the planning processes. When all event details have been finalised always run through every detail with the venue to ensure every aspect has been communicated and both have a clear understanding so you can work together.

If you would like some help with an event do get in touch with us – we would love to hear from you.

We also offer our #GetMoore Hour of Power – a free hour of our time to advise or help you as needed – so please book in, if this sounds like something you could use!

5 Unique Event Venues in Sussex

By Samantha Reid, Senior Events Manager.

As an event planning and management agency, we are always on the lookout for great venues that offer something original, which are memorable and that will leave our clients feeling content and that they have had a great event experience with us. Here’s a few venues in Sussex that we think are pretty special and who are definitely worth considering for your next conference, exhibition or gala dinner.

British Airways i360

The British Airways i360 is one of the most unique, exciting new venues in the UK. You can host an exclusive event in their futuristic glass pod or in their contemporary beach-side rooms with private terrace for 10 to 1,100 guests. Offering catering for full banquets, private dining, drinks and canapé receptions, the beachside terrace makes British Airways i360 the ideal venue – enjoy outdoor barbecues, summer cocktails and Nyetimber, England’s finest sparkling wine, while taking in the sea views. Unforgettable!

Fishbourne Roman Palace & Gardens

Imagine the luxury that would once have surrounded the proud owner of this lavish Roman residence. This palace was certainly fit for a king. Fishbourne Roman Palace has several rooms available for hire particularly suited to presentations, meetings, workshops and other events.  The site and gardens are also available for hire for performances and other evening events.

All Saints Chapel

The Chapel is the ideal for events that are looking for a unique setting. The Chapel with the clever use of LED lighting can be transformed into the most extraordinary party venue. There is nothing quite like it in the South of England and we believe offers the best of both worlds, traditional and Modern in a very flexible environment that will make your next event truly magical.

Goodwood Racecourse

Offering breath-taking views across the undulating beauty of the South Downs, to the Solent and the Isle of Wight, Goodwood Racecourse is an idyllic and unique setting. It hosts some of the finest horseracing in the world, including the iconic Glorious Goodwood meeting. For entertaining clients, treating staff, indulging with family and friends or simply sharing a celebration, Goodwood Racecourse is the perfect venue.

Chichester Watersports Centre

Are you looking for a venue to hire for a special occasion or event? Parkers is a unique venue set on the lake side, with panoramic glass doors opening out from the spacious interior onto the large decked balcony with stunning lake views. When the sun sets on the lake it is truly breath-taking. Parkers has facilities to accommodate for 20 – 150 guests, and offer a great service to make every event truly special.

If you need any help finding a unique and engaging venue for your event, get in touch with us today. We’d love to help!

You can also take advantage of our #GetMoore hour – a free hour of our time to help in whichever way you need – whether that’s advice, reviewing a current event format or finding a venue – book in NOW!

5 Key Ways To Secure The Perfect Venue For Your Pharmaceutical Events

by Jilly Bullock, Pharmaceutical Event Manager, McCullough Moore

Venue searching for pharmaceutical clients requires specific things to be considered – you can apply the usual venue-finding processes but when it comes to pharmaceutical advisory boards, investigator meetings and other industry-related events, event planners need to assess some very specific areas.

When a new client requests our help for venue searching or planning for a specific pharmaceutical meeting, we work with them to understand why they need this meeting, and the results they want to achieve from it. It’s key for your event planner to understand the requirements up front as everyone works differently and this helps to ensure the event delivers on all levels – for the pharmaceutical company AND the attendees.

1) Know the budget and stick to it

The first important factor tends to be the cost. Depending on where the attendees are coming from can dictate how much there is to spend. Hotels and venues are very aware that the client has an end budget to work to, to be compliant, and with the right negotiation, hotels can be flexible to your needs.  Event management companies can help with this negotiation and can often bring the costs down using their current relationships with the venue to the advantage of the client. Read here about why event planning companies are worth their weight in gold.

2) Destination is key

On the whole, we at McCullough Moore generally only go for 4* properties when it comes to pharmaceutical events, and so we would start the search based on that. There will be some destinations that pharmaceutical clients want to work with specifically, but you can also draw on the expertise of the event management company to guide you as to where else might be an option. It is always important to go for destinations that are considered ‘hubs’, destinations with good travel links, especially if the attendees are flying in from all over the world, such as Amsterdam, Barcelona, London and Frankfurt etc. There are definitely some places in the world that we would love to host a pharmaceutical meeting, but would never consider, such as the Maldives, or the Caribbean, as these are considered to be resort locations and therefore not appropriate for events where healthcare professionals are in attendance!

3) Define the event experience you want

Before sending the RFP (request for proposal) to hotels, it’s vital to know what sort of meeting you are planning and how you want the audience to interact and engage. Advisory  Boards are typically best in a u-shape, as you want the conversation to flow between delegates. The same applies to an Investigator Meeting – these are usually styled in classroom seating so that attendees can write things down, but it’s also nice to offer cabaret style seating, as it encourages people to speak and interact.

4) Natural light maintains focus

As a lot of meeting rooms are on the lower ground floor and therefore have no windows. Where there is an opportunity to have a higher floor or a meeting room with natural daylight then try and secure this first and foremost. Curtains can always be pushed to one side during the breaks to open up the room more, especially when there isn’t much space or the weather isn’t great outside. Attendees need to stay focused, especially in the “graveyard slot” after lunch – this is a good time to move them to an area of natural light.

5) Make sure the space works on all levels

It’s important to consider the ceiling height in a room and if there are any obstructions that could block the audience’s view of the screen or presenters.  This is especially vital for Advisory Boards and Investigator Meetings where the level of detail presented is key to the event as a whole. Another thing to consider is in relation to filming for a live stream – the videographers need to get a good view of the space, the audience, the presentations, and the faculty presenting. Ensure they have some input into the venue brief from the outset.

And lastly, it’s really important to check with the venue if there are any other pharmaceutical meetings in-house at the same time. If there are, then it’s critical you are aware of this and check it is not a direct competitor.


If you need help planning an Advisory Board, Investigator Meeting or other pharmaceutical event please get in touch with us.

You can also find out a bit more about what we have done for other pharmaceutical clients by reading our case studies:


Envision Pharma