If you’ve been doing your research, you may already have an event venue in mind. If you’ve done your research, you know the costs involved and you know that the date of your event is open at this particular venue. However, there may be a few things you’ve not considered. Before you sign a contract and invest money through a deposit, you’ll want to ask this list of venue questions to be sure you’re making the right choice.
What Is Your Cancellation Policy?
Before you sign a contract, it is vital that you not only find out what the cancellation policy is but that you get it in writing. Find out how far ahead of time you have to cancel your event to avoid serious penalties. If the worst case scenario happens and you have to cancel, you’ll likely lose a little money anyway. You don’t want to get stuck with a large venue bill on top of that loss.
Know up front what cancellation fees there are and how much you’ll have to pay at different dates if you are forced to cancel. This can also help you when you’re planning a refund schedule for conference attendees who might need to cancel.
What Parking Is Available?
The less stress your attendees experience when arriving at the venue, the more positive they’ll rate your event. Find out ahead of time what parking is available in the area, how much it costs and if there are going to be plenty of open spaces.
It is also a good idea to find out if there is valet parking and how much that costs per day. Ask for a map that shows where those using valet parking should pull up. In addition, find out where overflow parking is located in case the first choice parking fills up and attendees have to find another parking spot.
What Accommodations Are There for Handicapped Attendees?
Most venues offer handicap ramps and elevators to access upper levels. If you are holding your conference at a hotel, you’ll want to find out how many handicapped rooms are available. Those in wheelchairs typically need a room with wider doorways and some may prefer to be located on the ground floor in case of an emergency when elevators might not work.
Can I Rearrange Furniture?
It is good to know if you have permission to rearrange furniture. For example, if you have a keynote speaker, you might want to meet in the room with tables facing toward the front. However, later in the day, when there is an evening banquet and dancing, you might want to fold the tables and put them up or push them to the sides of the room.
Some locations require that you use their staff to move furniture around or they charge a hefty damage fee. You’ll also want to ask if there is an additional charge if staff is required to move the furniture and what that fee will be.
Have You Ever Held a Similar Event?
That brand new conference center in town might offer a great rate, but if they’ve never handled an event of your size or type, you could run into serious learning curve problems that will cost you attendees in the future.
If they answer that they have not handled a similar event, ask what their plan is to ensure everything flows smoothly. They may have a representative who has handled a similar event for another location, for example, which would be an acceptable alternative.
Be sure that you get the answer to each question in a formal written document. Keep in mind that nothing is set in stone until you have a signed contract in hand. Even though you may have a verbal agreement to host your event at that venue on a set date, if you don’t have a contract and someone offers them more money, it’s possible that they will either boot you to the curb or go with the event they know they can count on to sign the contract.
If you’re unsure about any parts of the venue’s contract, don’t hesitate to get a legal opinion before signing. You’ve agreeing to pay the venue a lot of money so it’s important to be sure you know what you’re signing and what the ramifications might be.
- What is your cancellation policy? Fee schedule?
- What parking is available? Valet? Overflow? Costs?
- What accommodations are there for handicapped attendees?
- Can I rearrange furniture? Fees for staff to move?
- Have you held a similar event? Is someone available on staff who has?
Topic you might be interested in: Figuring Out Your Event Budget