Selecting the perfect venue is an art and a science alike.
It’s a never-ending quest for balancing price, location, availability & suitability. And it can be incredibly stressful.
However, before you rush into signing a contract just to get this off your To-Do list, you need to be sure the venue is perfect.
To de-stress and simplify your life, here are 29 questions you must ask your venue when planning your next meeting or event.
Question About Venue Location
You can do a lot of research yourself before speaking to your shortlisted venues.
By checking the venue’s website or their profile of venue sourcing platforms, you can gather valuable information about the location itself.
- Will the location be easy to reach for attendees?
- Does the venue reflect the style of your meeting or event?
- Are there any potential accessibility issues for disabled guests with limited mobility?
- How accessible is the venue?
You need to decide if a remote farmhouse will be more suitable than a hotel in the city center? Or if meeting at a golf course would create a better atmosphere than a room in the the local convention center.
Location counts. It's everything. A great location can make or break your event, so think about this carefully.
Question About Prices & Discounts
This one is obvious.
Before confirming the venue, make sure the required times are available.
Hint: Meetings & Events Technology can be your best friend here. Most venue sourcing platforms allow you to select the required dates & times and only find suitable venues that are available.
You also want to come prepared to ask questions about the pricing and the discounts available.
- What’s included in the price (AV, Tech, Food & Beverages)?
- What are the rates for early bookings?
- Do you offer mid-week discounts?
- Is the venue available when I want it to be available?
You can potentially negotiate a discount for having your meeting or event during the week instead of on the weekends or if you book way in advance.
It's a fact that the sooner you start your venue search, the more likely you’ll be able to negotiate significant discounts.
Question About Parking & Public Transport
Parking is one of those things that can quickly end up in a disaster. Trust us, we've been there.
You want to make sure that attendees can quickly get to and from the location and that parking is ultra convenient.
The questions you must be prepared to ask:
- How is the parking situation at and around the venue?
- Are public car parking spaces available?
- Where is the nearest train station, taxi stand or airport?
- Does the venue have accessible car parking spaces for people with disabilities?
Quick and easy parking and nearby public transport can help increase the attendee experience right off the bat.
Question About Points Of Contact
According to an interview conducted by Eventbrite, unresponsive venues cause meeting and event planners a huge headache.
You want to build a strong business relationship with the venue and meet your main point of contact in advance.
Don't shy away from asking:
- Who will be answering my questions?
- Who will be the person on-site during the meeting or event?
Having a dedicated point of contact can reduce your stress. You already have plenty of that.
Questions About Food & Beverages
Great food and amazing service are crucial to any event.
To avoid any disappointments, make sure to ask the venue:
- Do you provide in-house catering services?
- Do you source your food locally?
- Can you cater for allergies like Gluten intolerance?
- What’s the minimum order?
- Do you have any testimonials from previous customers?
Getting feedback from previous customers can help with re-assurance and making sure your guests are well-fed in a healthy and sustainable way.
Questions About Payment & Cancellation
One thing's for sure, you don’t want surprises when it comes to costs. Staying within your budget is key.
Make sure you fully understand what’s included in the pricing and what additional add-ons are should those be required.
Another tricky element are cancellation costs. They can vary from venue to venue. It usually depends on the size of the group, the number of attendees, and the cancellation time frame, e.g., 60 days, 40 days, or a week before.
Often, venues will apply a fixed % cancellation fee that can vary from between 43% - 82%.
Ask questions like:
- What’s the breakdown of all the charges?
- Do you offer a fixed payment plan?
- What’s the policy regarding last-minute changes or cancellation due to unexpected events?
- Do you require any deposits? If yes, how much is the deposit and is it refundable?
You want to be one hundred percent certain you're clear about this before signing any agreement.
Questions About AV, WiFi & Third-Party Vendors
You don’t necessarily want to rely on suppliers provided by the venue.
Sometimes you need to bring along your on-site AV team or caterer to provide the best production value for your event.
So it’s best to ask if third-party vendors are allowed before signing any contract.
Here's another one: Venue WiFi is often terrible, so make sure you ask about the WiFi speeds, in particular:
- What is the available WiFi speed?
- How many guests can access the WiFi without disrupting the speed?
- Do attendees need a WiFi password, or is it publicly available?
- Are there any additional WiFi costs?
Not only your tech-savvy attendees will assume the meeting or event venue has ultra-fast WiFi available for the duration of the event.
Questions About Venue Restrictions
The best way of running a smooth event is by having the least amount of disruption.
Obviously, you want to make sure that your attendees are safe & secure at all times. However, apart from security, you also want to guarantee there are no restrictions.
The best way to go about this is by asking the right questions in advance:
- When do I get access to the venue for set up?
- Are there any other meetings or events taking place at the same time?
- What is the setup of the central meeting & event rooms? Are there restrictions in terms of capacity & layout?
Don’t feel strange about going the extra mile and clarifying those questions in advance and before signing any contract with your chosen venue.
You need to be 100% clear on all of the above. Open communication and building a trust-worthy relationship with planners is key.
Make sure you cover questions about:
- Pricing & Discounts
- Points of contact
- Payments & Cancellations
- Any venue restrictions
Platforms like Meetingselect can help you send request for proposals based on your requirements and simplify the venue sourcing process.