Nailing Your Event Venue Selection (+ the Q's to Ask to Get It Right!)

Your event venue can make or break your event. For us small business owners, often your event is the first place you meet your potential new clients and we all know that first impressions really do count. But how do you know what venue is right for your event? Consider what we have to say below and be sure to ask your venue contact these questions before signing your life…uh, event…away.

1 | MATCH YOUR VENUE WITH YOUR EVENT + BIZ BRAND

If you’re like us, venue research can take, what seems like, forever! It’s like house hunting or finding that perfect holiday rental! Not only are we looking for a venue that looks good but we’re looking for a venue that won’t break the bank. One thing that we feel MUST be achieved is a strong link between the look and feel of your business brand and the look and feel of your potential event venue. If your brand is cutting edge and innovative, look straight to a venue like Deakin Edge in Fed Square, Melbourne or if your brand is fun and exciting, try any of the Art Series or QT Hotels (our personal faves!). Want to know more about how to really get this right? Check out our blog on How To Make Your Event Vibe = Your Brand Vibe.

Remember, photos can be deceiving. The best way to see and feel a venue is to physically visit. Not only will you get to see the venue in all it’s glory by conducting a site inspection. You will also get to meet the event coordinator behind the phone calls and emails which can lead to really great and ongoing working relationships.

Q: Am I able to see the space before making a decision? It would be great to meet you for a site inspection

2 | WHAT DOES YOUR EVENT NEED + WHAT DOES YOUR VENUE OFFER?

Of course you need a space to host your event but don’t forget everything else an event and function facility may have to offer. Is accommodation needed for yourself, your team or any special guests? What about catering? Are they flexible with room set up? Will there be any other events on at the same time (good to know for noise levels and distractions)? Is there AV equipment included or is it additional? The list goes on. Write a list of

Q: Could you please also quote me for [# NIGHTS] of accommodation for [# ROOMS].

Q: What Audio Visual equipment do you have available? Is this included? If not, could you please include [INSERT AV REQUIREMENTS LIST HERE] in the quote.

Q: What catering options do you offer for events? Tip: Often venues will provide catering packages at a cost/head which can be very expensive. Alternatively, you should have the option to offer small catering options for a much cheaper cost per head. Each event is different so be sure to weigh up all options.

3 | RESPECT YOUR EVENT BUDGET

So you’ve found the perfect venue, great! But does it fit within the restrictions of your event budget? If yes, awesome BUT….and this is a big BUT, do you know what the cost of the other venue services that may be added on to your event bill? What is the nightly rate for accommodation? What are the various catering and beverage packages worth? Yes you may have scored the event space itself for a sweet deal but don’t worry, they’ll take you for all you’re worth in other areas of the facility. Be very careful!

But going back to the whole ‘does your venue cost fit with you budget’ thang, if you answered no, let’s go back to the drawing board. If this venue is perfect, you want to assess every other element of the event budget to see where you can swap and change the dollars around to make it work. You may surprise yourself with where you have saved and instead can invest in securing your venue.

Also, don’t be shy to share your event budget with your venue contact, you never know, they may just work something out for you. They’d rather have an event on in the space that have it sitting there empty.

And finally, if your event is reoccurring, tell your venue contract and see what kind of a discount they can offer if you were to sign ac contract that saw you hosting your event there multiple times. We love bulk booking. You can see significant savings plus event confidence when returning time and time to the same venue. Trust us, it makes life so easy when your venue knows your event and you know your venue!

Q: Are you flexible with your event hire cost? Our max budget is [INSERT $ VALUE HERE] and we are really hoping to stick to it.

Q: Are you able to offer a venue hire discount if we were to lock in more than one event for the year with you?

4 | STUDY THE VENUE CONTRACT WITH A FINE TOOTH COMB

DISCLAIMER…we are definitely NOT offering legal advice or station legal actions to take. Phew, glad we got that out of the way. You see, some venues have simple venue contracts that are very straight forward while others can be seriously complicated in what seems to be another language. The most important clauses we often look for are venue access times, cancellation policies (things happen and often don’t go to plan) and payment terms. In short, be comfortable with you contract and if there is anything you’re not sure about or do not like, ask for it to be removed before signing. Above all, If you’re not 100% confident in managing contract signing on your own, seek the advice of a legal professional. Better to be safe than sorry.

Q: I am unsure about this clause within the contract, could you please clarify this for me?

Q: We don’t believe this clause is necessary. Could you please remove it before we move forward to signing the contract?

The venue selection process, although somewhat time consuming, can be very rewarding and can significantly impact on the event and business perception of your clients. Be bold, ask questions and don’t settle for anything less than your business deserves!

Amy Savage