I was teaching a class on venue research and site selection as part of a course on event management and I started out the one hour class by asking the students to share the most memorable event venue from an event they had attended. The answers ran the gamut from castles (more than one!) to landmarks like the Space Needle and museums like the Smithsonian. The one thing that almost all of the answers had in common was that they weren’t hotels or banquet halls – they were what we would consider non-traditional venues.
I like to describe non-traditional venues as any venue that exists for another reason besides hosting events; events are not their primary function. This also knocks out meeting space at hotels and private dining rooms or buyouts at restaurants. This includes places like parks, museums, libraries, warehouses, sports arenas, malls… this category is all encompassing. For many of these types of venues, hosting events there at all is somewhat unique and unexpected.