Choosing your venue


Your venue needs to be able to accommodate attendees for talks, have room for their lunches and refreshments, space for sponsors’ tables and stands, and also some additional space for registration, quiet rooms, a crèche or anything else you’re planning.


Choose a place that’s reasonably easy for people, especially people who may be unfamiliar with the local area or language, to get to from their accommodation.


Get quotes as early as you can. When asking for quotes, be as detailed as possible so that you don’t run into unpleasant surprises later. Don’t assume that things you need will be included - even basics like tables and chairs can sometimes come at extra cost.

The staff

You’re going to be working with the people at the venue, and will need their assistance. You’ll generally find that they are accommodating and helpful, but ascertain that as soon as you can.

Use your first meetings to ask everything you can think of; ask them to explain the most basic things, and to see as much as possible. If you get a sense that their patience is running out, you might want to reconsider working with them, because it will be painful and stressful later on when you need to rely upon their help and co-operation.


Does the venue have good access for people who use wheelchairs or have mobility issues? Ask about lifts, ramps and disabled toilets. Is there step-free access between different rooms, for talks, lunch, breaks and so on?

Facilities and services

See Catering and Other important services

Venues for different purposes

For your programme of talks, you need a venue that can work to a tight and demanding schedule. For sprints, workshops and other events, everything is more relaxed, and you can consider other venues too.


For sprints and workshops, a local university makes an ideal venue. This is especially the case if you’re not charging for those sessions, which typically makes it easy for a committee member involved with a university to book rooms, obtain suitable network/AV support, get official support for the event and so on.

Typically, universities are only too pleased to have collaborative coding events and educational sessions taking place on their premises, and are keen to be involved.

A university will also be likely to have a cafeteria or dining hall well-equipped to feed dozens or hundreds of people.

During university vacations, it’s even easier to find suitable rooms and halls for your purposes. You could even find that the university is able to provide inexpensive accommodation in its halls of residence during vacations.

What if your venue becomes unexpectedly unavailable?

Venues can be rendered unavailable without warning by any kind of unexpected event. This has happened.

You should have Insurance to cover you financially in the event of a disaster, but you should also need to look into the possibility of having a backup venue.

Consider the possibility, so that you know what you would do if the worst were to happen.