by Devin Carver May 04th, 2023
Like the populations selected for clinical trials, choosing your pharmaceutical event venue is crucial to its success. Ensuring that you find one that can handle the specific needs and challenges that pharma clients are faced with can make or break an event. And when we drill down into what pharma events really need, it can get even more specific and detailed.
In fact, the right event venue becomes even more essential when it comes to managing healthcare providers (HCPs). Picking the right venue to meet all of your needs from food and drink to space and staff is more challenging than many would assume.
Why Does Venue Selection Matter for Pharma Event Management?
For pharma events, the corporate event venue you choose is crucial for ensuring strong attendance, staying on budget, keeping the event accessible, and accessing specific technology features and resources to support your event plans.
Picking the wrong event venue could mean cost overruns, low attendance rates, inadequate space to set up vendor booths or displays, and a host of other issues.
Here are a few considerations to keep in mind when selecting your next pharma venue:
The location of the event can have a huge impact on event attendance. An inconvenient location means you’re less likely to get buy-in from essential team members. For this reason and more, it’s important to consider factors like:
- Ease of Access. How easy is it to reach the venue for your intended audience? If your event is for staff at your headquarters, finding a venue within reasonable distance of your HQ might work. However, if you expect attendees from all over the country, it may be better to pick a venue near a major airport and to work flight schedules into your event’s timeline, so that attendees don’t miss important presentations.
- Venue Capacity. How many visitors can the venue handle at one time? The physical size of the venue can be a limiting factor on attendance—though choosing a venue that’s too large can drive up costs, so select carefully.
- Technological Integration. Given the importance of certain events, virtual attendance may be a necessity for key team members. Finding a venue and an event planning agency with the right technological capabilities to ensure consistent and reliable streaming is crucial.
As we have discussed in previous blogs, one of the most important elements of managing a pharmaceutical event is a keen understanding of how to manage an event with HCPs present. Because Open Payment regulations dictate how and what can be spent on HCPs – and because your ideal goal is to create a parallel experience for those attendees – finding a venue with pharma experience is crucial.
The right venue (one with experience hosting and orchestrating pharmaceutical meetings and events) can create similar menus and accommodations with pricing scales that meet HCP thresholds. Further, these venues will also have a good understanding of the strict regulations regarding the detailed record-keeping and tracking requirements. Even a small misstep here can be costly and jeopardize far more than the event itself.
Ultimately, this means that you’ll not only need a management team but also front-of-house staff who understand the requirements at hand. This also means you should partner with an event planning agency that has established relationships and connections with venues that can adequately handle your pharmaceutical event.
For pharmaceutical companies, brand image (for the company overall, as well as for the products themselves) is essential. Because of this, you’ll want to consider the optics of a particular venue. For example, what’s the tone of the space? While playful and fun may be great for a sales team recognition event, it may not be the best option for investigator meetings.
Choosing a venue to hold your event may also mean connecting your brand to another brand or location known by locals, consumers, and other businesses for something that does not reflect your values or mission. Vetting a venue for past issues, particularly in the pharma space given the regulatory requirements, is important for protecting your brand image.
The cost of a venue is one of the largest limiting factors you’ll encounter. It’s important to find the best possible balance between cost and return on investment in the form of event goals met.
When selecting a venue, you or your event planner will want to verify details regarding how the billing will be handled. Services and staff may require additional fees, and the venue may work with preferred vendors that can also change your budget or plans. For that reason, a seasoned event planner who has pharmaceutical experience, like Bishop-McCann, is key to alleviating the stress of selecting a location.
As mentioned previously, pharmaceutical events should be as accessible as possible, but accessibility can mean different things to different audiences. For most, one of the first associations of the term “accessibility” is ADA compliance. Does the venue have wheelchair access? Are there braille signs available? Do presentation areas have displays for projecting live speech-to-text transcriptions or sign language interpretations of discussions?
Other forms of accessibility involve ease of venue use. Is there adequate parking? Are attendees able to navigate the surrounding area easily? Also to be considered is digital accessibility. Is the technology up to date? Is the WiFi adequate? How many users can the Wi-Fi network handle before slowdown becomes an issue? These are all considerations that need to be taken into account in order to create a positive event experience for your attendees.
Health and Safety
When it comes to the pharmaceutical industry, health and safety are paramount. For many in this space, there’s an expectation that protocols initiated during COVID are continuing to be implemented. So, in addition to basic standards and health codes, you’ll want to ensure that those expectations are met.
Another essential measure for pharma events is maintaining venue security. Controlling meeting access is among the most important requirements for a pharma event venue host. It’s no secret that the pharmaceutical industry is a highly competitive space. For this reason, you’ll want to consider how the layout of a particular venue can simplify, or complicate, the security measures you’ll need for access control.
Though health and safety are major concerns for any industry event, pharmaceutical organizations are especially cognizant of health, safety, and security issues. With this in mind, you should ensure that you have careful plans in place to effectively manage your meeting.
Need Help with Your Pharmaceutical Event Planning?
Selecting a venue for your pharmaceutical event requires answering a lot of questions. However, you don’t have to tackle the process of vetting a location and handling the details of your contract on your own. In fact, because of our years of experience in the pharmaceutical space, Bishop-McCann has partnerships and relationships with venues that are well-versed in the pharma space. That not only saves you time and money but offers incredible peace of mind.
When you need to plan your next pharma meeting or event, Bishop-McCann is here to help with every step of the process. Get started by connecting with our experts today!