by Stuart Harris, Co-Founder and Managing Director at Team Building Asia
It can be quite tricky to find a venue that has precisely what you are looking for, especially in areas like Hong Kong, where indoor space is limited. Hong Kong doesn't have the best climate for outdoor activities either, so if you want to play it safe, you're better off with an indoor venue (potentially with access to an outdoor area). As Team Building and Training organisers, we have years of experience with finding adequate venues and are now sharing our secrets with you on how to go about finding the right venue for your event in Hong Kong.
1. Estimate the budget
To determine the type of venue to choose, the budget is the first thing you want to look at. If you're on a tight budget, compromising on the material, quality and location are unavoidable. Reach out to the government to reserve a free (outdoor) area or to NGOs for a basic room. On the other hand, if your budget is rather high, the options are endless. Venues dedicated to hosting special events (e.g. weddings) and the large hotels will be able to provide you with all the help you need, from furniture to F&B to servicing staff, plus this will bring you peace of mind.
2. Determine the size of the room you'll need
The number of attendees is probably the second thing to think about. If you're expecting over 50 people, you'll want to check out venues with experience hosting big events. For our team building events, we suggest you use well-known hotels because they already have everything in place, they are flexible, and sometimes they can even resize rooms. If you're expecting under 50 people, organisations like chambers of commerce often rent smaller spaces with essential equipment.
It's also important to consider the set-up of the room because this will have an impact on the minimum size you will need. For example, for a cocktail party, you can make use of the maximum capacity of the room. For banquet rounds, you'll need double the space.
3. Decide on the location of the event
The location and easy access to the venue are other important factors when considering different venues for your event. If your location does not matter, you could opt for coworking spaces, they are located all around Hong Kong and have spacious rooms with the necessary equipment. If the location does matter, you can go with any hotel, restaurant, bar or even sports clubs around the neighbourhood you would like to host the event.
4. Determine the equipment needed
Something else worth taking into account is the required equipment and what the venue can provide for you. It might save you a lot of trouble if the venue has tables, chairs, catering services, AV equipment, and other material available.
As mentioned before, hotels and other large organisations (e.g. amusement parks or members' clubs) are experienced with events and have everything you might need, including staff, to help you set everything up. Another great option would be coworking spaces, and they typically provide lovely event spaces with basic material. However, they may not have AV equipment designed for large group presentations.
Some examples of venues suitable for team-building events
Venues operated by NGOs and social enterprises
Meeting rooms from organisations
Meeting rooms from coworking spaces
Outdoor areas, sports clubs and bars
It's always a good idea to keep an eye open for venues with pop-up events. For instance, the Hong Kong Observation Wheel's event space at the Central Harbourfront can be rented for unique events like corporate days, staff days and client functions – perfect for a team-building activity. Another great option during the holiday season would be private, bespoke corporate days at the AIA Carnival. Companies can invite their staff and families to enjoy the rides for free, an exceptional corporate team building day assured.
Finally, here are some dos and don'ts you might want to keep in mind when organising an event in Hong Kong:
- If you're engaging the venue's crew to help you out, request for one to have a valid first aid training certificate. Anything can happen, especially in the heat outdoors, and if anything, you would rather have people talk about the first aid hero than about the panic and wait for an ambulance.
- Review any requirements for your event - before booking the venue and especially before the start of your event. If you need to move tables and chairs around, signal/time for breaks, crew meals, etc., arrive approximately an hour early at the venue but also take additional time into account for the clean-up.
- When you arrive at the venue, introduce yourself to the Banquet Captain and other primary staff as they will be the people in the room helping you most throughout the day.
- Before booking a venue, make sure you receive good, recent pictures of the actual room you will be using. A pillar in the centre of the room can be very hindering if you're going to be speaking or showing visuals on a wall.
- Try to find venues where natural daylight comes into the room. Especially if you're hosting an all-day event, spending it in a basement can be quite tiring for the crowd.
- Don't leave a mess for the staff to clean up, tidy up after yourself throughout the day and especially at the end of the event.
Founded in 2002, Team Building Asia delivers over 200 team building programmes in and around Hong Kong each year. Their experienced team provides innovative team building, team development and team training programmes such as maze escaping, robot building, and art-jamming for companies and organisations of various industries. Check out other amazing team building activities they offer at www.teambuildingasia.com/en/programmes.