How to Hire an Exhibition Venue

Hiring an exhibition venue can be a stressful experience; you want to be sure you've found the right place for your event, whether that's an art unveiling, fashion show or trade expo. From the size and location, to reviews and special requests, we've included top tips for the important factors you'll need to consider.

Researching a venue

Before you go out and explore venues, it's good to narrow down your requirements and find venues that meet those absolute necessities, to give you a shortlist. These should tie in with your overall goals for the exhibition.

Everyone's requirements will vary based on their circumstances and those of the event, however, common things to consider include:

• What's the venue's capacity?

• Will the venue provide food, or will you need third-party caterers?

• What room, or rooms, will you have access to? How much space will you need?

• How easy is it for you and your guests to get to the venue?

Venue size and location are very critical factors when it comes to running an exhibition, or any event, so we have delved into further detail on these:

What size venue do you need?

The kind of exhibition you're holding will largely determine the amount of space you'll need from your chosen venue.

Hosting a fashion exhibition will require a large main room for the catwalk, lighting, music and the audience (most likely a seated audience, so you'll need to account for chairs); you may also like to have drinks served in this room, either from a bar or having waiting staff circling. You'll also need ample space 'backstage' where the models can get changed, and for the designers, technicians and other working bods.

Hosting an art exhibition unveiling a new collection will likely require a smaller, more intimate space. A medium-sized room as a gallery with an adjacent or nearby kitchen from which to serve nibbles and drinks may suffice in this case.

A trade show exhibition with stalls from many different vendors and suppliers from across their industry will require one or more large spaces. Where possible, it's best to keep a large event as close together as possible, rather than having your guests walking through long corridors at a sprawled event.

Identifying what kind of activities you'll need to accommodate, and how many guests you're expecting, will help you determine the size of the venue you'll need.

Remember, if your event has multiple guest-facing rooms or halls, you should provide a map so they know what's in which room and they can easily make their way around.

Can attendees get to the venue - is it in the right location?

There's very little point in holding an exhibition if people can't get to it.

Check your venue's transport links - bus routes, train stations, tram stops and even airports, to make sure your guests will be able to easily get from where they are to where you want them to be.

Also, check what parking is like at or near your intended venue, as some guests may choose to drive.

Are there any reviews from previous customers?

Checking the experiences of other people who have hired the venue you are considering hiring will help narrow down your shortlist. This can highlight elements you perhaps hadn't thought of, or identify an issue with a venue that makes you reconsider them as a potential host.

One of the easiest ways to find reviews of a potential venue is to Google " reviews", and you will be greeted with a wealth of feedback from previous customers, from the likes of Tripadvisor and Yelp.

Meet with the venue

Be sure to discuss your plans with the venue before committing to the hire - you don't want any blockers put in after you've signed:

• If, for example, you're hosting a circus-themed event, will the owners be happy to have fire breathers operating on-site?

• If, for an art show, would they be happy for you to hang your art on their walls, or would they require you to use freestanding wall panels? Will they provide these, or will you have to source them?

• Does the venue offer enough power to cater for your trade stands?

• Do you need to work with an approved AV supplier?

• Will they allow you to change the décor to better suit your exhibition?

• Are there any noise concerns?

Making sure your venue host can accommodate what you have in mind for your exhibition upfront and ahead of time will save a lot of stress, and potentially money, further down the line.

What else do I need to consider when running an exhibition?

While this isn't a complete list, we have included some further questions you may want to ask yourself when it comes to planning your exhibition.

• How will you get guests to attend your exhibition?

• Will this be a ticketed event?

• Will you have any special guests?

• What kind of food and drink will you serve?

• How many days will the event run over?

• Will you hire additional hospitality and logistics staff?

• Will guests need overnight accommodation, what is available nearby?

• Will you seek sponsorship for your exhibition?

• How will you sell exhibition space to potential stallholders?

• How will you define success for your exhibition, what does 'good' look like?

• How much budget do you have?

Does Twickenham Stadium have any exhibition space?

While there is much to consider when planning and running an exhibition, not least the venue, we are here to help. Twickenham Stadium hosts a range of events including exhibitions of any size with on-site catering and accommodation. We also have fantastic transport links and ample parking.

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