Kevin Lewis

Finding Venues For Your Events

In 2021, I ran a small community of developer event organizers called Event Handler. It ultimately didn't gain the traction it needed, but I recently discovered the 'Event Handler Vault' - a set of guides and checklists which event organizers could use - and I thought it would be a good idea to publish them. This is a set of tips and questions to ask when finding and managing venues for your events.

Finding a Venue

  • Research venues in your city or town that have held similar events.
  • Reach out to local event organizers for their recommendations and introductions where appropriate.
  • Understand what is in it for the venue
    • Tech companies may lend you use of their office to further their own goals
    • Dedicated venue spaces are generally for-profit and you should expect to pay
    • Like sponsorships, make it clear what you want when approaching venues and offer something in return.

Standard Questions

  • What spaces are available? Dependent on format:
    • Main space(s)
    • Quiet, breastfeeding, prayer space(s)
    • Speaker green/preparation room
    • Breakout rooms
    • Many of these could be as simple as a large meeting room
  • How many people can they host?
    • Dependent on format - check capacity with different layouts
    • Do they have enough tables for a hackathon, for example? Enough chairs for a meetup in theatre style?
  • Where will food and drink be served from?
    • How will you keep queues low based on layout?
  • If people come late, will they interrupt the speaker or attract attention?
  • Is there available WiFi and power throughout? If a hackathon, you may want to also have a small number of wired internet points available.

Common Layouts

Understanding the name of common layouts will help you communicate requirements to venues.

  • Hackathons generally happen dining style
  • Meetups generally happen theatre style if talks
  • Workshops or meetups with hands-on elements generally happen classroom-style or U-Shaped style


  • Where is the nearest public transportation stop?
    • Is it accessible to those with mobility devices? Those who are visually impaired?
  • Is the area safe and well-lit?
  • Is there parking? What is it's cost? How can attendees access it?
  • Is there a safe place to leave a bike? How can attendees access it?
  • Where will people enter? Is it clearly signposted?
    • Are there easy exits and reentries for smokers?
    • Is internal access easy? Or will it need lots of swipe-accessed doors?


  • How early can you turn up to set up?
  • Where can you have any large deliveries including equipment, sponsor drops, and food?
  • What roles do you need to fill vs the venue host?

Check-In & Guest Lists

  • What do they need from you in terms of a guest list?
    • When do they need it by?
    • Any provisions for last-minute additions or missing names?
  • Where and how will attendees be checked-in to the venue?
    • If this is away from the main space (a ground-floor reception) how will you make sure operational questions or concerns are handled around admittance throughout the event?


  • What relationship do you have with the venue?
    • Will you pay for the space?
    • Will they get a short introduction/callout?
  • Will your venue provide food or refreshments? Will you need to pay for this?
    • If they're providing - what do they normally do to cater for dietary requirements?
  • Are you bound by any venue rules?
    • Catering
    • No-access areas


⚠️ If you can't do any of these things make sure to set and manage expectations to your audience so they can make an informed decision on whether to attend

  • Is your venue wheelchair accessible?
  • Do stairs have rails?
  • Is there a hearing loop? Do you know how to connect the sound system to it? What are the joining details?
  • Does your venue have audience limitations?
    • If you run an event in a pub, for example, those under legal drinking ages cannot enter. Potentially some people can't enter based on faith or personal circumstance (alcoholism, etc)
    • Some venues don't allow minors for insurance and safeguarding concerns - see if you can work with them to allow this
  • Are lecterns and microphone stands height-adjustable?


  • How will your speakers plug in and show screens?
    • Ideal is a single HDMI cable presenting to a screen or projector
  • Does your venue require special audio setup to make sure everyone in the room can hear?
  • If you need mics do you have access to a spare mic to give the audience during Q&A?

Attendee Experience

  • Is there enough power throughout the venue?
  • Can you play light music into the space(s) to create a nice environment?
  • Is there phone signal?
  • Do you have control over the temperature or lights?


  • Is there anything in the venue that may be questionable?
    • For example, offices can have in-jokes, memes, or other material which may not be appropriate on the walls.
  • Toilets
    • Are there gender-neutral options?
      • If yes, are there also single-unit options if people need to readjust headdresses, etc?
    • Are there wheelchair-accessible options?
  • Removing alcohol
    • I am a believer that alcohol does not improve social spaces and only has uninclusive traits
    • if the venue provides alcohol, can this be made unavailable?


  • When must you leave by?
    • Build buffer into your event schedule. For example if you must be out by 19:00 schedule your planned exit for 18:30. This should factor in your clean up.
  • What is the expectation about how you will leave the space post-event?
    • For example, do they have morning cleaners to look after finer details, or is that your job?


  • Where does trash go? Is this your job to keep on top of during the event? Where is the external bin?
  • If overnight or spanning multiple days
    • Can people sleep in the venue (if hackathon)? Are there extra provisions required? Can people freely leave and reenter throughout the night - especially if smokers?
    • How safe is equipment overnight? Do specific items need to be removed overnight?
    • Note: It’s important to let the venue know that people will be working in the space overnight - often the word "working" differentiates it from local places of rest such as hotels.