We’ve provided the most common questions to ask when hiring an events venue so you can enquire and visit venues confidently.
We have structured the questions around the following:
The questions we will list are all of equal importance, however, you may place more or less importance on some according to your event goals (you can read some more about how to plan a successful event in our November 2022 blog).
Here are the vital questions to ask when choosing a venue for your event:
Asking this question early on is vital, especially if your event has a fixed date. The height of frustration would be finding an excellent venue only to find out there is no availability on your chosen date.
Your venue needs to be able to accommodate the number of guests attending your event comfortably and safely. You may also want to ask the potential venues for floorplans and photos showing examples of different layout styles.
Different venues may be best suited to particular types of events, due to their layout and even technological capabilities. Others may be governed or owned by organisations that have guidelines around the types of events they can host.
There are different types of pricing models a venue may operate under depending on their offering, and in-house or outsourced offerings. Ask for an explicit breakdown of costs according to your needs as set out in your events brief. You can then determine if the venue can host your event within your budget and know exactly what the venue will charge.
So, your shortlist of venues has been narrowed down, and you have scheduled site visits. It can be easy to get swept up in the excitement when visiting a venue. Make sure you’ve got all your bases covered by asking the following:
Well-located bathrooms, breakout areas, fire exits, and registration areas are points to consider when receiving the answer to this question. Depending on your event type and programme, you will also need to consider AV equipment and capabilities, as well as the all-important catering facilities, don’t forget to inquire about the availability of support staff around these areas.
Delegate experience is highly impacted by the geographical journey they follow as they flow through the event. Is there a logical and stress-free journey between entrance, registration, and the main event? For first-hand experience, ask your venue contact to give you a walk-through as if you were a delegate attending the event.
You want to ensure your event is inclusive of everyone’s needs, and that your delegates are informed of any particular arrangements that may be relevant to them, such as alternate accessible entrances and exits, hearing loops, lifts, quiet rooms and more.
Marketing your event is key to generate excitement around attending, and you will want continuity of branding to be experienced in-event. Ask your venue contact about their branding capabilities, this will include digital and traditional signage. They may even be able to help with branded catering and collateral for your event.
Venues may be able to offer you packages that include in-house catering, audio-visual support, and security personnel. In contrast, they may have select & approved service providers they work with who are external. Some venues also have rules in place that enable or prevent the use of external suppliers so be sure to clarify the rules around this.
Unforeseen circumstance befalls us all at times. In the event of the unthinkable, it pays to already know what your venue’s contingency and/or cancellation policy is. Ask for the terms and conditions to be sent to you via e-mail so you can read through them thoroughly.
Now you’ve visited your shortlist and narrowed your list down to the last 2 or 3, it’s time for the final round of questioning. Ask your venue contact the following questions before closing the deal:
Some venues may require a certain amount of notice between booking and the actual event to allow for operational activities to take place, make sure you are clear about these details.
The venue must have insurance in place in the event of a plethora of events that could (but hopefully won’t!) happen. This means the venue, yourself, and your delegates will be protected in case of any unfortunate mishaps. Ask your venue for a copy of their insurance certificate; and any health and safety/risk assessment documentation they have available.
Don’t be afraid to ask your venue about how they can make your event stand out. They’ll know what works best in their venue and will likely relish the opportunity to make your event as memorable as possible, a mutually beneficial scenario.
We have covered this in the enquiry stage; however, things may have changed now the venue knows more about your requirements. Ask for a full breakdown of what’s included in the price, based on your brief and budget so you are clear on the final costings.
More than likely, your venue has dedicated events managers and staff who will be on hand during your event. Ask for clarification around timings, locations of the venue staff and how to identify them on the day. You will also want direct contact details of main staff contacts to use on the big day.
Often overlooked, post-event clean up details need to be clarified. Depending on the type of event and its features of it you may need special disposal, including recycling where possible. If you have external suppliers facilitating aspects of the event, they will need to provide your venue with documentation and particulars that include these details. Your venue may also provide you with these services as part of the package but it’s always best to confirm this.
Once again, cross all the t’s and dot all the i’s by asking for copies of all health and safety documentation. This is an important part of event planning admin, & your venue contact should have no problem producing this for you.
After reviewing the answers you get to these questions, you’ll be well-equipped to choose the perfect venue for your event. Of course, if you have been fortunate enough to find several amazing venues that meet all your requirements, don’t be afraid to make a final visit to each. Your choice of venue will have the highest impact on the success of your event.
At Congress Centre, our team has over a century of shared experience in event planning & our venue is ideal for various events. Our London venue provides 16 different event spaces catering for 20-500 guests – so you can choose a space that suits your brief and your budget.
Whether you’re an event planner; or need help planning your next exciting conference, contact our team today at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0207 467 1318.