Not only will you be looking for a suitable professional venue to reflect the image and purpose of the company or trust, you will also need to consider the availability of professional and business support services, location and accessibility, comfortable accommodations for meetings that last days rather than a few hours, and the size of venue that can hold your attendees.
Annual general meetings (AGM) for many companies and trust organisations are major highlights of the business year requiring a great deal of logistical organisation. These meetings also provide an opportunity to demonstrate to shareholders and investors the results of business performance over the last financial year as well as management plans for the future. It is essential that the right venue be selected, as proper consideration in choosing the venue to hold your annual general meeting will pay good dividends.
Consider the number of attendees you are likely to expect, and bear in mind that if you are a publicly listed company, this may run into hundreds or thousands that may or may not decide to turn up on the day. You may be looking to combine your annual general meeting with other company related events such as a product launch, PR event, or training courses that shareholders and staff may participate in, and this also needs to be factored into your decision for hosting the events. Once you have a realistic estimate of the number of attendees, consider the ability of the venue to handle spillover numbers, not just for seating capacity but also parking, food services, and overnight guests.
The geographical location of the venue for the annual general meeting (agm) also must be seriously thought through. Many meetings take place in London every day; however, before you decide to follow the herd or hold a meeting at the main operational location, take some time to look at where your shareholders and stakeholders are actually located. Some organisations deliberately host their annual general meetings at different locations around the country in order to be able to show off differing parts of the company or geographical divisions and dovetail this with what the change of scenery has to offer. The National Trust for instance, holds its annual general meeting at a different venue each year to provide management and stakeholders with the opportunity to sample first hand the efforts of the Trust.
The availability of overnight accommodations is also an important factor to consider when selecting your venue for hosting the annual general meeting. In this instance, the cost is primarily borne by the guests attending and not the company itself, so the ability to offer a range of accommodations to suit the varying budgets of your attendees becomes a good plus point. Bear in mind that quality accommodations will be required for company guests such as potential major investors and business partners who will be attending. These are likely to be required to be close at hand in order to facilitate business meetings and negotiations outside the main event.
It should go without saying that communication and transport links are essential, particularly for meetings that will only be held for the day. Proximity to rail and road links that will allow travel to and from the venue comfortably will go some way to ensuring that attendees arrive fresh and able to conduct the business of the day. Consider what shuttle transport services the venue is able to provide to collect and return attendees to the train station or airport, bearing in mind that attendees will be voting on company resolutions such as director's remuneration and their ability to serve on the board for the forthcoming year and to an extent they need to be catered for.
The ability to provide a wide variety of services such as corporate hospitality and business support services will also mark out those venues that are suitable for hosting your annual general meetings (agm). Asking your prospective venue providers what experience they have in hosting PR events, corporate hospitality provision, training, and team building exercises will help you gain an idea of the professional capability of the venue. Combining these ancillary factors together with the more obvious considerations such as hotel size and location will help you narrow down the choices available to you for hosting the meeting.
Whatever the choice you make, it is important to keep in the forefront of your mind what the annual general meeting (agm) is for and who will be there. This is the meeting where management and shareholders meet and vote on issues facing the company for the immediate future. How well the shareholders are catered for is a direct reflection upon how important management considers shareholders to be. The image that is projected by the selection of the venue will also reflect directly upon how the company is perceived by the shareholders themselves, and it is they who own the company.