What are the most important things to ask an event venue?

venues

(Amy Stroud) #1

What are the things people forget to ask or wouldn’t think to ask?


(Nick Lawson) #2

Hey Amy, a couple of left-of-field ones, but these came to mind:

  1. Are there any other corporate events/meetings scheduled at the same time? Any competitors? Any similar events on that could be confusing for attendees?
  2. Is there any building/refurbishment work planned for the time of the booking?
  3. How will payment be structured? Are deposits required? Is credit required?

(Amy Stroud) #3

Definitely hadn’t thought of those, really useful. Thanks Nick!


(Melissa Saunders) #4

Also relating to Nick’s point about co-located events, if there are other events at the same time ask about the expected demand on transport & parking. I worked on an event recently where visitors to the co-located event were also most likely to come by car. As they opened before us the car park was almost full by the time we opened our show & led to a lot of very unhappy visitors & most likely put others off attending.

Commenting on another thread I just remembered another thing to check during a site visit - connectivity - especially if it’s a temporary event site and out in the countryside. If there are problems such as access on the day due to weather, local or traffic issues you’ll need to be able to get information out to everyone traveling to the event so Internet access will be essential. If there is any chance this might not be available have a member of the team off site with access to all comms channels throughout the event & a plan of action prepared.


(Allison Pinney Collis) #5

Agree with all of the above, I would also add

  • Who would be the point of contact, how long have they been in post. Have there been any changes to the management structure?

(This may seem unnecessary, but I delivered an event recently where the complete team change a few weeks before the event. The leadership change had a marginal impact on the event. The Ops Manager, who was brilliant, was also battling with training new staff, upskill existing, recruiting for gaps and trying to adapt to the new venue. On the day the team lacked the fluidity and smooth execution etc


(Belinda Booker) #6

I think it’s important to ask about attrition if you are paying for F&B. If the you end up with fewer participants than anticipated, what will the costs be? You might also want to check the venue’s policy on bringing in external suppliers.


(Abbie) #7

Hi Amy, coming from both a venue and event managing side I think the most overlooked questions are:

  1. Who will be looking after you on the day, this can often be missed as you may assume it would be the sales coordinator you have been dealing with since day 1. In most cases the venue will have a designated team for your event on the day, so it is always handy to get hold of their contact details and have a final pre-event meeting with them to make sure you have a smooth run on the day.

  2. In terms of post-event, will someone from the venue be contacting you afterwards to schedule a debrief session to go through the event

  3. Catering organisation - make sure that you understand how the catering will work for tea/coffee breaks, lunch and dinner. Will there be enough catering points for your attendees? Menu choices will work with your layout and the gender of your attendees can make a difference to menu choices too.


(Amy Stroud) #8

Thank you all so much for these, it’s all really helpful!


(Melissa Saunders) #9

Also re catering - the venue/caterer should advise when the deadlines are for confirming numbers. You can then build these into your comms and planning.


(Abena P) #10

Wifi! How will attendees get on to it? Are there limits on streaming, etc? Are any sites blocked?


(Melissa Saunders) #11

Yes absolutely Abena. Do you think wifi is expected at all events now?


(Abena P) #12

Hi Melissa, yes I do. Funnily enough, I went on a course yesterday where the trainer wanted us to look at various websites on our smartphones, that he was using as case study examples. I think he assumed that everyone had internet data, which of course they didn’t, which prompted a 15 minute delay whilst we hunted down the onsite wifi login details. No idea what we would have done if no wifi was available!


(Melissa Saunders) #13

Hmm…sounds like someone forgot to do proper preparation! The wifi situation needs to be on everyone’s site visit/event prep list I think. Hope the course was good once you got going…


(Allison Pinney Collis) #14

Wifi! A bug bear for me! Something I find incredibly frustrating. Venue who offer free wifi. Venues who charge. In today’s business (and leisurely) world it’s something that should be standardised (at least in countries with a good infrastructure)


(Allison Pinney Collis) #15

Also Car parking! I’m working with two venues at the moment. One has incredibly limited car parking but are flexible without charging. Another who has ample parking but will charge £12 - 24 per day!


(Richard Heathcote) #16

Yes whenever we’re speaking to new venues (or venues approaching us to host events with them) we have a checklist of things we cover with them.

Having a main point of contact is essential, at least there’s someone who you can go to if questions need to be asked or problems arising on the day etc.

Whether the venue has free/easy access car parking or not. If not, are tickets validated at local multi-storeys etc.

How close venues are to public transport links, are cab ranks nearby etc.

Disabled access - as many non-standard event venues (like for us, we tend to host them in various places that aren’t typical ‘event spaces’, and a lot of places have large-group areas that are up/downstairs etc, and usually they won’t have a lift - so that’s always worthy of consideration.

As has been said above, if the event requires Wifi - is it an open network or will people need logins, and if logins are needed, hopefully they won’t divert to those horrible venue-branded login screens that you have to battle with just to end up logging on to a super-slow network!

Being aware of where venue facilities are like toilets, as some venues don’t have them that clearly marked.

Whether the venue has notice boards/standalone signage where you can put the usual arrows etc clearly marking where your event is taking place within any given venue so people aren’t milling around wondering where to go.

I’m sure there are more, but that’s just off the top of my head!


(Belinda Booker) #17

I agree. While I can understand the need to charge for events with massive connectivity requirements, charging for individual delegates to be able to log on to check their emails or post a tweet is unacceptable in this day and age, when you can do it in every McDonalds or Starbucks.


(Belinda Booker) #18

Having login screens can actually make it impossible to access the internet on some devices. I agree it’s incredibly frustrating, and a confusing process for those people who are less tech savvy.


(Melissa Saunders) #19

Good list @Voicey Glad it’s not just me who hates those guest wifi systems to give you slower than dial up Internet access! They’ve gone to the trouble of providing guests/customers with free wifi but then give them a really bad user experience?!! Just box ticking I think :frowning:
I’m sure it will be consigned to history eventually when we find a better way but good wifi access is definitely an expectation now.


(Richard Heathcote) #20

Absolutely! I think now with the advent of smartphones and more reliable, faster & larger mobile data packages, I’d say it’s easier to stick with your regular 4G! I know I do!