One of the reasons event planners find it so hard to secure the right event venue is because they don’t know the right questions to ask.
Know how to cater to your target audience
Knowing the demographics of your audience is vital to the selection of your event venue. For example, know the average income of your attendees, what their likes or dislikes are, what they are accustomed to, etc. If your audience is a group of CEO’s then your venue should reflect their tastes and needs.
Venue knowledge and experience
Before you decide to hire a venue for your event, ask them for a list of events they’ve planned, ask to see pictures of those events so you can see the various layout options, and ask for references. You might want to speak to some of the staff as well so you know what expertise they have and how accommodating and friendly they are. Find out the ratio of servers to guests, what they’ll wear during your event, and whether or not they can or will work over-time if needed.
You’ll also want to know what the event venue will take care of and what you have to prepare for, i.e. decorating, set-up, tear-down. The more behind-the-scenes information you have, the better!
Walk around the outside of the venue, too, and check for possible noise issues, where neighbors are located, is decorating required outside the venue, possible hazards, where the fire exits are located, and parking or drop-off points for limousines, buses, or taxis.
What other services do the venue provide?
Before hiring a venue get a list of other services they provide, like:
- Parking. Do they have their own parking facility or is there space nearby that can be used? Can you negotiate a better rate for your event?
- Security. Depending on the type and size of your event, you may need to hire security. For large scale festivals where the City/Township is involved in planning then you’re often required to have police, fire fighters and/or paramedics on-hand. Also make sure the venue has fire extinguishers, working fire alarms, first-aid kits, and power backup. Know where the emergency exits are and have an emergency plan in place. Don’t overlook cell phone reception because you may need to rent two-way radios to communicate with your staff.
- Restrictions. Venues often have unstated restrictions that include, but not limited to, decorating (inquire about posting on walls), photography/videographer, alcohol sales, bringing in outside food like cakes, and bringing in outside caterers.
- Additional Services to consider. Many venues provides additional services like catering, floral arrangements, audio-visual services, staging and lighting, decor for event production, ticketing, transportation, and sight seeing tours for the guests.
What are the venue fees?
Prior to choosing your venue, ask for a list of items the fee covers. Based on this checklist, you’ll want to know:
- What is the event venue fee and are taxes included? Negotiate the fee so you get the best rate available.
- What else is included in the venue fee? Dance floor, tables, chairs, linens, security, parking, and liability coverage, what is the corkage fee and is the liquor license valid and up-to-date?
- What is not included in the venue fee?
- What is the price range for a served meal or buffet, and cost per person?
- If hotel rooms are required, what is the cost per night?
- What are the bartending and bar set up fees?
- What forms of payments are available and what is the payment schedule? What is the refund and cancellation policy?