This post is part of my Hackathon Edventures series to help you plan a spectacular hackathon!
Find a Venue
One of the first things you need to run a successful hackathon is a venue. This post covers the process I go through when I’m looking for a venue. I am generally searching for a venue online and I don’t have the option to look at spaces in person. However, if you are planning a local hackathon, I highly recommend doing a venue walk through before signing a contract with a venue. This is especially important if you’ve never run an event there previously.
Searching Online for a Venue
I run hackathons all over the country. Usually, I am not local to the city the hackathon is in, so I can’t go to a venue for a walk through. I rely on photos, floor plans and any other details a venue can give me to make decisions.
The first kind of venues I look at are coworking spaces. Coworking spaces generally have a large common area (good for kickoff and final presentations), plenty of tables and desks and great wifi. Using the search terms below, you should be able to compile a good list of possible venues to research.
- Coworking space + CITY
- Startup Incubator + CITY
- Hackathon + CITY (This is helpful to find venues that have previously hosted hackathons.)
In addition to seeking out possible venues, there are some websites that make searching and filtering venues super easy. I use Peerspace the most.
- Peerspace – this site has great search features. You can filter based on type of event (I usually choose Retreat or Workshop), location, number of attendees and price. In addition there are photos of the venues and you can reach out to the venue manager through Peerspace.
- EventUp – this site has more search filters that you can use. However, I haven’t had as much luck with EventUp as I have with Peerspace. It really depends on what kind of venue and price point you are looking for.
- Spacebase – this site has international options and it could work well for smaller events (>100 attendees). The site is focused on an hourly rental business model; I recommend contacting the space provider for a custom price quote.
I reach out to 3 – 5 venues to get a price quote for the space. Some venues will provide a request form for you fill out and others will have an events or community management contact. If you are sending an email or a message through a contact form, include as much detail as possible. If you are able to include enough detail in the quote request, a venue might be able to provide a quote right away, cutting out a lot of back and forth. Here are some details you should include, if you know them:
- Your name and contact details
- What kind of event you are running (company hackathon, themed hackathon, hackathon for charity, etc.) and the intended audience
- Date and times when the venue is needed (will the hackathon be overnight or will the venue close and reopen the next day? Be sure to include setup and cleanup time.)
- Target attendance (50, 100, 200 attendees?)
- What kind of seating setup you would like (I typically request theater style for the kickoff and tables and chairs for the rest of the event)
- A/V needs like projector, screen, microphone
- Will you be providing catering? Do you need assistance with catering?
I hope these tips are able to assist you in your venue search. If you have any great resources for finding awesome venues, leave it in the comments!
Be sure to check out the rest of the Hackathon Edventures series.