There are a ton of important factors to consider when picking an event venue – the type of event, budget, location, and décor, just to name a few. While it’s helpful to use those kinds of criteria to create a shortlist of venues to tour, you’ll need to ask the venue manager (or whomever it is that you meet during your tour) several questions to help you learn more about the space that isn’t visually obvious.
We’re in the midst of planning our own conference called OFFLine Summit, scheduled to take place later this year in New York City (keep your eyes peeled for news and exciting updates!). As you can imagine, this is a huge undertaking with a ton of responsibilities, many of which initially include finding the right event venue. We came up with this list of 30 questions to ask while touring an event venue to help make sure we were on the right track to finding our perfect space. While these questions may not apply to each event that you’re planning, using this list is a great way to make sure that your search is on track as well.
Venue and Logistics
1. Is the space available on our desired date?
2. How many hours do you offer for set-up?
3. When is the earliest we can set up?
4. How many hours do you offer for break down?
5. Can we ship to or drop things off at the venue beforehand?
6. Do you have a list of preferred suppliers/vendors?
7. Do you have an exclusive vendor list?
8. What staffing is included in the venue rental?
9. What additional staffing do you require during private events?
10. What furniture is included in the venue rental?
11. Do you have additional furniture on-site available to rent, e.g. chairs?
12. Are there any decoration restrictions or limitations?
13. Does your venue provide in-house A/V equipment, technicians and support, or will this need to be rented elsewhere?
14. How do you recommend controlling sound and acoustics in your space?
15. What kinds of internet capabilities does your venue have available for guests?
16. Is guest parking available? If so, is it free?
17. Is security included in the rental fee?
18. What additional insurance, if any, does your venue require for private events?
Food & Beverage
19. Do you have a liquor license?
20. Can we bring our own beer/wine/liquor? If so, is there a fee to do so?
21. Do you have staff members that are authorized to serve alcoholic beverages?
22. Does your venue offer in-house catering? If so, is it an exclusive offering?
23. Can we have a food truck on the premises, or if possible, inside the facility?
24. What happens if we do not meet our food and beverage minimum?
Payment and Event Budget
25. What is the cost to rent the venue for our event’s date and time? Is there an option to replace this with a food and beverage minimum?
26. Is there a payment scheduling option available?
27. What kind of deposits are required?
28. Are there hidden costs like a service charge, gratuity, cleaning fees, or overtime charges?
29. What is your policy regarding last minute changes or cancellations due to weather or other unexpected events?
30. Do you include any freebies or services with the venue rental fee?