Sarah Halfpenny Events

5 questions you should always ask when selecting a venue


by Sarah Halfpenny

When undertaking a venue visit for an event, I go armed with about 30 different questions. These range from the basic information such as "Where can we place the registration desk?" "What are the catering options for that day?" and "How would you normally set out the room for this style of event?".

There are however a few questions that often get forgotten which not asked could impact upon your budget and delegate experience.

Below are my top 5 questions to ask any venue:

1. What is the cancellation policy?

Unbelievably this question is often not asked. When your visiting a venue you don’t want to give the impression that you may have to cancel but it is important to understand the supplier’s terms and conditions. If not understood this can trip you up in the event of any changes that need to be made.

2. What are the insurance requirements?
Most venues have fully comprehensive insurance in the event of anything going wrong with their building and assets, its worth checking if you need to take out further insurance to make you and your guests fully compliant.

3. Does the venue have a list of required suppliers?
This is such an obvious question but often overlooked as many Event Professionals have their on suppliers they use regularly. It is however worth obtaining the list of florists, musicians, entertainers, caterers etc. as you might find they can offer preferential rates if its booked with the venue,

4. How many employees will be available on the day of your event to ensure it runs smoothly?
Will the venue provide a dedicated Event Co-ordinator and AV technician. From experience this is often assumed by many Event Professionals. If you are booking a venue for a day its expected that an Event Manager and AV Technician are included. Do check as this is not always included in the price. If you require access to the room 2 hours before your delegates are due to arrive then you may find that you will need to book theses additional hours of support.

5. Does the venue have its own waiting staff?
Believe it or not this can make a big difference. A venue with its own staff will provide a more professional and sleek service because they are familiar with the venue, suppliers and each other. Agency staff are often not fully briefed, are unfamiliar and possibly never worked an event before.

I hope that you have found this short list helpful and can use some of the tips when selecting your next event venue. If you think you could do with some more advice on this or other parts of staging an event, get in touch with me via my contact page.