Debate: Fully equipped venue or blank canvas?

Is it better to hire a venue that’s kitted out with everything you need or book an empty space you can personalise and make your own?

Fully equipped venue versus blank canvas: Mehmet Kandemir and Natalie Franco
Mehmet Kandemir and Natalie Franco

Fully equipped

Mehmet Kandemir, general manger, Cadbury House

“Booking a fully equipped venue for your conferencing needs has a number of benefits, not least because it’s the easiest and most stress-free option for the booker.

Facilities such as free Wi-Fi, printing, an audio-visual (AV) system, catering and a dedicated event manager, all help to give an air of professionalism to attendees.

A fully equipped venue means that everything you need is at your fingertips – and any other requirements can be arranged at the drop of a hat by the event manager assigned to the booking. Knowing that everything is already in place for a stress-free conference leaves the organiser better able to prepare the content of the event without worrying about whether the AV system will work or if the catering will arrive on time.

It’s also more cost-effective than hiring a blank-canvas space and sourcing facilities separately, saving the organiser vital time – and time is money!

Venues such as Cadbury House are also able to offer bespoke packages to clients. The venue has
various-sized conference rooms as well as relaxing break-out areas for delegates. And the hotel has two on-site restaurants so guests can have a break away from the focus of the meeting room.

For conferences over multiple days, or if delegates are finishing late, a hotel, which has bedrooms and a health club and spa on site, such as Cadbury House, is a better option as it means guests can relax and unwind after the event without worrying about travelling home. The same goes for clients who want to incorporate team-building activities into their event.”

Blank canvas

Natalie Franco, venue and event director, The Paintworks

A blank-canvas space is better than a fully equipped venue, by far, for any creative, brand, or special event; it is the best way to create an occasion with impact because the organiser is able to completely personalise the space.

Every event varies in terms of layout, content, lighting, technical needs, flow of movement and catering – and it’s so much harder to get this right in a fully equipped venue which already has ready-positioned screens, speakers, projectors and other equipment in place.

The Paintworks has gone from strength to strength over the last 10 years because of its incredible versatility as a blank-canvas space. The venue
has style and personality, and has hosted events including top-brand product launches, public
fairs, music events, high-end art shows and other corporate parties and occasions.

With a blank-canvas venue you start from scratch with every new booking and adapt the space depending on the needs of the event. It means you can make sure the event is tailored to the organisation using the venue – it’s the difference between an off-the-peg suit, which does the job, and a custom-made suit, which fits the dimensions perfectly.

Another benefit of using a blank-canvas space is that you can often use your own suppliers. But most spaces have great contacts so it’s not something you need to worry about if you don’t have any either.

In events, hiring a blank-canvas venue doesn’t necessarily mean having to pay more, it just means paying for exactly what you want.

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