Planning an event? Five questions you need to ask venues

Planning a corporate event? One of the biggest decisions you need to make is picking the venue. Get it right, and you’re halfway to a successful event. 

But get it wrong, and you could have a roomful of unhappy guests – and the potential embarrassment and expense of refunding tickets.

So how can you be sure you’re picking the right location? Here are five questions you need to ask venues before making a decision.

1) How many guests can the venue hold?

It may seem obvious, but it’s essential the venue you choose can fit the number of guests you’re planning. So before you fall in love with a venue’s architecture or in-house catering, make sure you establish its capacity.

And don’t forget to check whether the capacity is for seated or standing guests.

2) Are your function rooms suitable for my event?

A venue may have the right number of rooms, with the perfect capacity, but are they ideal for your event?

For example, are they the right size and shape (a room that is too large is just as bad as a cramped space)? Can they be re-arranged to suit your layout? Can two smaller rooms be connected if you need?

Finally, ensure that the rooms have the kind of facilities you need to make your event work. For example, do you need adjustable lighting, projectors, or AV equipment? Some places – like this venue – are equipped for a range of uses, while others will be more limited. So make sure you check they’re set up for exactly what you need.

And do the rooms have natural light and air-conditioning? These factors will all affect the comfort of your guests, and how successfully your event unfolds.

3) Is your venue accessible?

How will your guests get to your event? If they’re driving, is it close to major roads, and is there plenty of parking? And can it be reserved for your guests, if needed?

If not, how easy is it to travel by public transport? Is there a nearby train station with a good taxi service? And if guests are coming from further afield, is there an airport within reasonable traveling distance, and good accommodation?

And what about disabled access? If your attendees may have any special needs, are these catered for?

4) Is there in-house catering?

If your event requires any catering – even as basic as tea and coffee or bottles of water – find out what’s available from the venue. And if you’d prefer, ask if it’s possible to bring in your own caterers, as not all venues allow this.

If you plan to use in-house caterers, check what food choices they can provide, how flexible they can be, and if they’re willing to cater for specific dietary requirements.

5) How much help can you provide?

If you need help with setting up a stage, or technical assistance for things such as projectors, sound, and lighting, then ask in advance if this is available. And if so, if there are any extra costs for assistance?

If not, you’ll need to make sure you bring your own expert – the last thing you want to happen is for your perfect-planned event to be brought to a halt by a simple technical hitch!

Need more venue advice? Read 10 common mistakes to avoid when planning a corporate event.