Key questions to ask before committing to a venue
After choosing the most suitable venue to host your event, the temptation might just be to throw down a deposit without considering some very important questions that you need to ask the venue first. Emma Little, Founder and CEO of ExecSpace, outlines a number of key questions that event planners should ask before committing to any deposit or signing a contract.
1. What is the cancellation policy? Cancellation terms and conditions can vary enormously between venues so it is fundamental that you do your homework here and get a clear overview from the outset of how any unforeseen circumstances resulting in cancellation could affect your bottom line.
It is also worth asking the venue if there is any opportunity to resell the space if your event needs to be cancelled. Ensure that this has been discussed and covered in your contract as you may be able to protect yourself if the venue/dates are able to be used by another event.
2. What happens if you don’t secure the attendance figures that you are looking for? Most venues charge based on a minimum spend or amount of attendees but this can be very difficult for an event planner to gauge, as event turnout is notoriously unpredictable. Be sure to discuss minimum spend and the financial consequences if you don’t achieve this.
3. What is included in the booking price and do you have the freedom to bring in external suppliers if you so wish? It may be the case that the venue you have chosen meets all your expectations in terms of catering and equipment available but in some instances, you may be looking to add something a little different to your event. Some venues will be willing to accommodate input from external suppliers but it’s important to have that conversation when you are discussing exactly what your venue-booking fee does and doesn’t cover. Don’t take any of these details for granted.
4. Technology - Who is responsible for this and what’s on offer? Most venues will include Wi-Fi, AV, lighting and presentation facilities and these will be marketed to you as part of the booking process but it’s really important not only to ask what is included in the booking price but also who will be responsible for getting that technology up and running on the day.
All too often, there will be technology available for use but no one there to help you set up. With all of the other things going on as part of your event, it’s a good idea to make sure you have the contact details for the venue tech support and their assurance that they will be on hand to help you with any hiccups.
5. Pre and post event access – Make sure you have enough time! – The event itself is the culmination of all of your hard work but as we know, a great deal of time and effort goes into setting up the event ahead of your guest’s arrival. Make sure you discuss access times with your venue and ensure that they are able to offer you enough time both pre and post event to get everything in order. There is nothing worse than racing frantically to prepare for an event because you haven’t been given enough venue access time.