In the first chapter (https://bit.ly/2Z8kXwV) we covered how to search for a venue and what information you may want to request from them. Hopefully they will have now replied with some useful information and costs.
If they have said that your date/s is available make sure you ask them to hold it, this will not be done as standard. Normally they will only hold for 2 weeks. Some venues are good that if they know you are interested or booking a site visit they will extend this.
Ideally they would have confirmed the capacity of the room (this is normally the maximum they can hold in your required seating layout) and the costs associated to it.
If you are asking about a conference they may reference the phrase DDR – this means Day Delegate Rate and can be a cheaper, more straightforward way of costing up the day. Most DDRs include the room hire, refreshments, catering and technical equipment. If you have not been quoted a DDR you will most likely get all costs separately.
So you’ve now found a, or possibly a few venues you like and want to visit them. Here’s what you need to look out for.
The venue in general:
- How easy is it to find on google maps and does the postcode work when you use it on a sat nav?
- How is the parking? Is it free?
- How does the venue look from the outside? If you are already thinking it’s awful then the rest is probably not going to be great either.
- How are you greeted? Are you happy with the level of customer service? This could be a reflection of what you may get at your event. - - You may need to know if the venue and room are wheelchair friendly or have other disabled access.
- Does it suit the style you were after?
- Does it look big enough? Don’t be afraid to question capacity and ask them to show you where they would plan on putting tables and chairs etc.
- Does it have the technical equipment you need and where are the power sockets?
- What lighting options do they have available in case you want to jazz things up?
- What are their rules around where you can put your branding or decorations? Some venues don’t allow you to put anything on the walls.
- Where are the nearest toilets?
- Where do people hang their coats?
- What other rooms are near by and will they cause disruption to your event?
- If you are keen on a venue try and stay for some food so you get a taste of what it’s like – you can ask them for a menu tasting (we can cover this in more detail in the next chapter).
- Ask them for a sample menu.
- Where do they serve refreshments and does this work with your event?
- Is there a bar nearby or in the room that you will want access to?
Having a site visit is also a good opportunity for the meetings and events coordinator to really get to know you and your event so hopefully they would take some time to get to know you and what you are after. Feel free to take a VA with you or send one in your place. At The Contemporary PA we will take the time to get to know your event and needs and can make sure we ask the right questions to make you feel an ease with every detail.
In the next and final chapter we will cover – I have found my perfect venue – this will include negotiating and looking in to contracts.