Thinking outside the box and choosing unusual conference venues can really inspire your attendees. You might pick an attention-grabbing space to attract more participants, or focus on an unusual conference venue that’s fun to be photographed in and will generate extra social media buzz. We’ve checked out some creative conference venues and business event ideas that will captivate your audience. Read on to discover examples of how Eventbrite creators have hosted events and promotions in unusual venues in Australia and overseas.
Unique, large conference venues
You might choose a big venue for your conference or business event because you have lots of attendees to accommodate, or you may simply want a business event space that creates a memorable experience. Take a look at these hints and examples, which will help you visualise your potential event in a large conference venue – particularly if you want to go big in a way that will surprise attendees!
Turn parking lots and warehouses into a conference event space
Parking lots make an unexpected event venue. The top levels of metro parking garages often have a brilliant view of the skyline – choose outdoors if you want a roof-top vibe or the second level from the top if rain could be an issue. Attendees can park below and then just head up to join the event.
Many cities now have vibrant, refurbished markets or industrial precincts too, which have become trendy shopping and dining districts. These offer great venues like the K-Shed at the Queen Victoria Markets in Melbourne, where event creator Foodie Trails hosts The Indian Festival. Part of the Foodie Trails Festival calendar, this event features delectable cuisine, market stalls, and Bollywood-style dance.
Reimagine airport runways and hangars
Small and suburban airports often close at dusk so it’s possible to host an event next to the runway or in a hangar. An inflatable screen can be set up around planes to create an impressive display. These locations are especially exciting for product or program launches.
Or consider these locations for hosting a fashion show. Social Australia Fashion Events held its Winter Runway @ T2 at Perth Airport. Participants were directed to their flight gate for a night of cutting-edge fashion, local food and drinks, and an afterparty powered by some of Perth’s top-tier DJs.
Fill up a sports stadium
Sports stadiums are ideal for large-scale events. They often have audio/visual systems ready to use, which can reduce your set-up time. The Active Wyndham collaboration uses Eagle Stadium in Werribee for its Active Kinders Day, which includes a huge range of fun sporting and fitness activities. And the Alice Springs Turf Club uses its outdoor arena spaces and clear desert skies for concerts such as Daryl Braithwaite Under the Stars.
Boutique conference venue ideas
If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary, consider boutique conference venues, which are popping up in several destinations. These can work well if you want to give your attendees plenty of opportunities to mingle and network.
Nightclubs are often empty during the day and have the space and tech capabilities needed for conferences, networking events, and product launches. These venues have loads of atmosphere and can be themed or decorated for special events. Hire a local DJ or musician and turn a lunch or dinner into a spectacular music event.
Take your meeting to an art school
Art schools differ from galleries because there’s dynamism, progress, and creative flow. You could tap into the creativity of the space by turning your attendees’ event-inspired ideas into lasting works of art, for example, by using typography on canvas or by using sculpture. You could involve everyone in an impressive collective artwork or hand out a more personal souvenir for attendees to take home, like a decorated tote bag.
Hewlett Packard added art to a recent product launch to great effect. Promotions to support the launch of its HP Dragonfly Elite laptop included the tagline #LighterThanAir and a giant, Insta-worthy dragonfly-inspired sculptural installation that toured high footfall train stations across the UK.
Engaging outdoor business conference venues
Quirky outdoor locations also work well as conference or networking venues that take your attendees out of their usual work zone and vibe. This section is all about getting attendees out and about.
Farms and sustainability projects
Some farms offer trendy meeting spaces such as renovated barns that creators can book for a distinctive event space. If your event is near Woombye, in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, organising a long-table lunch with the Good Harvest Organic Farm could be the ticket for your guests. They feature paddock-to-plate produce accompanied by refreshments from local boutique distilleries and local entertainment.
Sustainability projects offer an added bonus with the fees for hiring the space going to a green cause. For example, in New York City the fees from hiring Project Farmhouse go towards GrowNYC, a sustainability resource that provides hands-on environmental education.
Meeting spaces on the water
To get a different view of your location, take attendees onto the water by hiring a waterfront venue, a cruise ship, or a dock-side boat that has been converted to host events.
#KindnessShake uses the Darwin Waterfront Precinct in the Northern Territory for its Kindness Festivals. This event is a community-led initiative that provides support for students experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19.
Another event creator, Tropicale, offers a Saturday afternoon beach-club party on the exclusive upper deck of the motor vessel MV Catalina. As well as hosting local and touring DJs, they offer cocktails, dancing, and a sunset dinner cruise on the Noosa River in Queensland.
Intriguing business event spaces
Purpose-designed, quirky event venues are ideal if you are looking for a more unusual or collaborative setting for your corporate events.
Co-working spaces can host low-effort, low-cost events because they have purpose-designed seating and tech capabilities ready to go. Plus, there is often a kitchen area for easy catering of lunches or post-conference drinks. These trendy, collaborative spaces can give corporate events a contemporary feel.
Surprise attendees with experiential elements
Indoor and outdoor venues can be transformed with projections. At the Up In Lights Event, presented by YP Gold Coast and BIG CITY LIGHTS, event-goers experience stunning immersive audio-visuals, large-scale digital works, 3D mapping, and unexpected projection sites by artists working in the fields of light, installation, architecture, and digital design.
Cavill Lane on the Gold Coast is an event space with a twist. It provides entertainment in a creative environment with enticing food and drinks at its Arts in the Alley events. Here, art is brought to life in an immersive environment for all visitors to explore, enjoy, purchase, and participate in.
How do I choose a conference venue?
If you’re planning a conference or networking event, consider the following when choosing a characterful or unusual venue:
- The theme of the event – for example, an event for designers could work well in an arty space, while an event for small businesses would make more sense in a co-working space.
- Number of attendees – you don’t want empty space or for it to be too crowded.
- The length of the event – a four-day conference could benefit from using multiple venues to mix things up a bit, while a half-day networking event or product launch would only need one venue.
- Catering requirements – will the event offer food and refreshments, and will you self-cater or bring in a specialist?
- Special equipment requirements – good sound, lighting, and audio-visual tech are important for any successful event.
To help you get organised and maximise your event’s success, we’ve put together a corporate event and conference planning checklist along with a conference timeline with 20 essential tasks to plan a conference.
Reimagine your next conference with an unexpected business event space
Plan your next unique conference or networking event confidently and market it easily with Eventbrite Boost.