How much does it cost to hire a conference venue?

Including why to hire one, what to look out for and how to pay for it

Updated on 21 December 2021 • Written By Ellie Donnell

How much does it cost to hire a conference venue?

So, this is your first foray into the world of corporate events and you’re looking to hire a conference venue. Great, you’ve come to the right place! SquareMeal offers a broad range of event venues including a free concierge service to help you narrow down your search – and that includes finding places within your budget. Yes, the matter of money is bound to come into it sooner or later, and we’re here to break down the costs of hiring a conference venue. 

You might want to hire a conference space for a variety of reasons, whether you’re hosting a networking event and require a relaxed but formal place to meet, or you’re organising a company away day to encourage team bonding and boost office morale. Whatever your reason for hiring a conference venue, the likelihood is you’ll have a few requirements when making your booking, whether that’s breakout rooms for team building exercises or food and refreshments on site, which can all have an impact on the price of hire.

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If you’ve never hired a meeting room or conference space before, it can be a little daunting doing it for the first time. There are quite a few elements to think about, such as where to host the event, whether you require special conferencing technology and does it need to be easily accessible via public transport? And that’s before you’ve even thought about the cost! Chances are you’ll already have a budget in mind, which can certainly help narrow down your search. 

To fill any gaps in your knowledge, we’ve broken down exactly what goes into hiring a conference room including how much it costs and how to pay for it (yes, there are multiple ways to pay off the cost of rental). Find out the answers to all your questions.

Why hire a conference venue? 

Let’s take it back to the very beginning. You may be wondering: why not cut costs and simply host the event at your usual office space? There are lots of benefits to hiring a dedicated conference venue, not least because they’re specifically geared up to host events of different types. 

Technology 
One of the best things about hiring a conference venue is gaining access to its conferencing technology and other built-in equipment. Things like interactive whiteboards, LED HD displays, sound systems and video capabilities. 
 
Privacy 
If you’re looking to knuckle down and brainstorm for a big project, or want to inspire creativity amongst your colleagues, it doesn’t help if Brian from accounts keeps knocking on your door and interrupting your workflow. Booking a space for exclusive hire for your company can encourage focus by removing disruptions.  
 
Staff 
Organising a huge number of people on the day can be a challenge in itself, so hiring extra staff to help out, from answering questions to supporting with tech, can be a huge weight off your shoulders.  
 
Space 
Very simply, if your office isn’t big enough to host all your guests in one room, then you’re going to need more space! 


Image: QEII Centre

What factors affect the cost of hiring a conference venue? 

Whether you’re looking for a private room or need a space with all the frills, there are many factors that affect how much conference room hire is going to cost. These are the main ones.  

 
Location 
Conference venues located in major cities are likely to be more expensive than those further out, especially those in London. 
 
Size of room 
Depending on whether you’re hiring a room that holds 20 or 200 will affect the cost. Make sure the room is big enough to hold everyone though – the maximum capacity will vary depending on whether the event is seated or standing.  
 
Number of people 
If you pay the venue a fee per attendee, this will affect the total cost of hire. You could charge an attendance fee if budget is tight, or consider venues that offer flat fee hire.  

The length of the event 
Whether you’re looking to book a room for an hour or a few days, the rule goes: the longer you stay, the more you’ll pay.  

Extra services 
Many venues will include basic services such as Wi-Fi and some conferencing equipment in a standard package, while others will require you to pay extra for them. This depends on the type of venue (hotels will differ from purpose-built conference venues for example) so double check what’s included before you book.  

Catering 
Some venues offer in-house catering services so you don’t have to think about outsourcing the food. For example, etc. Venues has a team of resident chefs who can cater for everything from a nutritious lunch to homemade treats.  


Image: etc. Venues County Hall

Other things you might want to consider 

Transport links 
Ensure the event is easy for people to travel to and is either close to a train station or includes on-site parking.  

Sustainability 
This might feel like a ‘nice to have’, but now more than ever it's important for businesses to be more sustainably-minded. This is a great chance to show your colleagues you’re conscious about the company’s impact on the planet and are keen to make a difference. Or, take matters into your own hands and check out our guide on how to make your next event more eco-friendly.  

What is the average cost of conference venue hire?

The average cost of hiring a conference venue is around £70 to £120 person, although this could be a little higher for London venues and on the cheaper end if you're looking to hire elsewhere. If you're paying a flat fee for a meeting room (for the day), instead of a cost per person, prices can start from £250. As we mentioned, the cost of hiring a meeting space does vary significantly depending on size, location, number of guests and type of venue, but it helps to have a rough idea of what you expect to pay before asking for a quote. 

How to pay for conference venue hire? 

Yep, there are multiple ways to pay and each vary depending on the type of event you're hosting. Find out which one is best for you. 

Hire fee 
A hire fee means rental is charged by the day, hour or session. It’s a good option if you’re looking for flexibility with your meeting and don’t require use of the venue for the full day. 

Day Delegate Rate (DDR) 
A Day Delegate Rate simply means the venue is charged per person, and includes hire of the venue for the whole day. This is a good choice for conferences that might need special equipment and catering services, or run for a few days. Sometimes DDR rates specify a minimum number of guests. Roehampton Venues, for example, requires a minimum of 10 people.


Image: Roehampton Venues
 
Dry hire 
Dry hire is when venues only rent out their space and don’t include any extras, such as food and drink or equipment. This is probably the most basic form of hire but could be a good option if you’re looking for a space that’s cost effective and allows you more flexibility over the suppliers you use. 

Looking to maximise attendance at your event? Consider hosting a hybrid event with these essential tips and tricks