Planning for events involves a number of moving parts and sometimes conflicting priorities. While it’s important to keep the original vision for your corporate conference or meeting in mind, it is also essential to make sure the event venue amenities provided are in line with your with logistical, financial and legal considerations. In the world of event planning, knowledge is everything. The following six questions are great to keep in mind when looking for a venue for your next event: How long is the rental period for the venue? Venues vary widely in how much time they include with the venue rental fee. Often, time for loading in and out of the venue is precious to ensure everything is set up the way you’d like. Make sure to ask what the overtime fees are for extended load-in/load-out or longer events.
Are any tables, chairs, podiums, etc., provided or will I have to rent them myself? Events come in many sizes, shapes, and forms. Once you have basic event information, it’s good to know what’s included in the venue rental. Ask questions like: Is there any furniture included in the venue? Is there a prep kitchen? Do you provide audio/visual components? Understanding these details will help you to better plan your budget for the event and to allot time for ordering items, if necessary. Some venues also have distinct and unique features that may eliminate some rental costs – these might include built-in display areas, bars, projection to replace gobos, etc. Inquire if they do, and find out what they are—it might be the reason you make a specific venue your event destination.
Can I hire my own vendors or do I have to select from a preferred vendor list? If you’re using vendors—like caterers, photographers, musicians, etc.— find out if you are able to use your own, or if you have to use preferred or pre-approved vendors. Furthermore, if they are open to outside vendors, ask if they have any buyout fees.
Are there branding or signage opportunities available? Events are one of the best opportunities you will have to provide a truly branded experience for your guests. When visiting a venue, consider at which points, from when guests arrive to when they depart, you will be able to brand the venue. Does the venue give you the opportunity to have street-level signage? Is it easy to project onto walls or screens, hang gobos, and hang or stick signage around the venue?Venues will vary in the branding opportunities they provide as well as guidelines and restrictions in hanging or posting signage, projection, etc.
Is there parking near the venue? Parking is another essential aspect for some guests when it comes to events. Whether your event is small or large, look into the how much available parking there is. What other methods of transportation are easily accessible? Is valet parking an option? Can you get a group rate?
Does the venue offer on-site coordination and planning? If so, what services are included? Many venues have their own experienced event staff who are familiar with the venue, tech, and what has worked well for past events.. See what services are included in the overall cost, and what is provided for extra. For example, is the venue able to recommend vendors, suggest floor plans or venue setup, and provide rentals?
Every detail you can gather will make planning an event that much easier. Some of these questions might be answered from an informational packet or through the website, and others by the coordinator or the venue staff directly. Any additional information that can be provided during the site visit should be welcomed and encouraged. If you’re unsure of how the venue might suit your vision, ask to see photos of previous events or sample floor plans. If viewing the included furniture, lighting options, and projection screens is an option, take it.
Information is the key to a successful event. Do not be afraid to ask any and all questions that you can think of and be sure to challenge the your venue contact to come up with any suggestions or ideas that you may be leaving out.