By Steve Bindley (pictured), MD of Media 1 Productions
We often forget to ask the important questions before embarking on the next event. The ‘big’ things are a priority – location, guest list, Audio Visual – but what about the small print? If you’re about the start your journey then check out these 10 questions you should be asking your event management company.
1.What services do you offer for event management?
This may sound obvious but knowing the range of services that are available and unavailable to you is important so that you can select the elements you need and make any arrangements to outsource the things you can’t or don’t want to handle internally.
2. Will this, this and this be covered by my budget?
Be sure to discuss your budget with your event management company early on and regularly during the pre-production stage. Some items often get added during the process and it is not uncommon for some ideas to also get dropped. This all has an effect on your budget, which could change significantly as your progress.
3. What is your sustainability policy?
A Sustainability Policy is a statement outlining a company’s strategy with regards to environmental impact, relevant legal requirements and sustainability. One of the first steps in your relationship with your event management company is to find out as much information as possible about their policy. This should include asking questions such as: which parts of the policy do you insist your suppliers adhere to?
4. Do you carry liability insurance?
Although you will probably have your day planned to a T, in the world of events things don’t always go according to plan. Ask your event management company about their liability insurance to protect yourself from any problems that may arise. This should cover a number of areas such as: cancellation, public, workers and goods in transit; it’s better to be safe than sorry.
5. What data security and safeguarding policies do you have in place?
Depending on the nature of your event, the process may involve the display or transfer of sensitive information such as a PowerPoint presentation showing a company’s financial reports. You may want to consider confidentiality agreements with your event management company to ensure that any sensitive or private information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.
6. Will there be any limitations for my venue in terms of set and staging?
Ensuring that your choice of venue is suitable is key to the success of your event. Confirm load-in and out curfews with your venue and discuss these with your Event Management Company to avoid any unnecessary charges for running over time. Charges may incur for additional factors such as power, security and insurance for venue damage should be discussed early on and factored into your budget.
7. How many hours will be required for set up and pack up?
Aside from including this in your personal plans, you will need to inform the venue of access times which will include the times required for setting up and putting away all the equipment used. It is also important to note this as you need to factor it in to your budget plans. Typically venues will charge for set-up time as there are no delegates and therefore no catering or accommodation charges generating income.
8. Can you tell me about the quality of the equipment? How often is it used? How old is it?
When you’re setting aside a considerable amount of your budget for technical equipment, you want to make sure you’re getting the most out of your money. Ask your event management company about the usage, lifetime and quality to ensure that you have reliable equipment that will be compatible with the latest input sources.
9. What staff will be present to operate the machinery?
Have you ever heard the phrase: ‘all the gear but no idea’? The members of staff operating the machinery are just as important as the equipment itself. Check with your event management company about the number of staff who will be present, their competencies and experience and make sure that they suit your needs and requirements.
10. What support will I receive from the technical staff?
It is also worth finding out how much the technical staff onsite will be responsible for and how much they will be involved on the day. Confirm who your point of contact throughout the course of the event will be such as the production or project manager, so that any queries or problems you may have on the day can be channelled in the right direction.
Armed with this information, you are guaranteed to find an event management company that fits the bill (and those that don’t). Don’t be afraid to ask the awkward questions; by doing so you will find yourself a dedicated and loyal event partner.