Twenty Essential Questions to Ask Corporate Event Venues
You are planning a corporate event and are ready to issue an RFP (Request for Proposal) to find the perfect venue. What should you ask the venues to make sure that they are the right one for you? The list below is Eat Party Love Events’ exclusive list of questions to assist in finding the best venue for your needs. Please note that the questions should be customized based on your event, since your needs will be different if you are having a meeting/workshop, throwing a charity gala, or holding a small wine tasting!
General Venue Questions
1. How many attendees can your venue hold?
Depending on your event, you may want to be more specific. If you have a preferred layout, you can send it over alongside the question. If you do not have a layout, you can ask for seated or standing capacity to get a general idea.
2. What is the minimum amount of time that the venue needs to be booked in order to reserve the space?
If your event is only going to be 2 hours long and the venue requires a 3-hour block, the venue may not be a good fit your event. Venues often have a certain number of hours that each event needs to meet before renting the space out entirely, so it is good to know beforehand!
3. What is the earliest time the venue can be booked? What is the latest?
As an example, some venues do not open before noon, so they would not be appropriate for a morning event. However, venues are sometimes open to making exceptions (at an additional cost, of course). Other venues may be subject to curfew restrictions, so they may have a limit on how late your event can go.
4. How far in advance do we need to notify you to book the space?
Venues will need some lead time in order to get the right staff in place for your event. It is always good to know what they are comfortable with.
5. What do guests love about the space? What do guests complain about the space?
Personally, I love these questions because they give you an idea of what you can play up in the space, as well as what you may need to do to mitigate any issues. Since venues are all unique, the answers to these questions give you insights to the venue’s value propositions and potential areas of weakness.
Payments & Cost Questions
6. What is the site fee for our event’s date and time (if known) and what is included in it?
Depending on the venue, set-up and breakdown time may or may not be an additional charge on top of the site fee. Other charges to look out for are service charges, gratuity, cleaning fees, and overtime charges.
7. Is there a possibility to substitute the site fee with a food and beverage minimum?
This question is good for venues that serve food and drinks. This way, it saves you the cost of the renting the space, which is always great for the budget.
8. What is the deposit required, and is there a payment schedule?
Most venues will have a deposit due date, then a final payment, and guest count due dates. It will be important for you to keep track of when payments are due!
9. What is your cancellation policy? Is there an exception for weather or other unexpected events?
While canceling an event is never ideal, it is good to know what you may be responsible for if it happens. Venues usually have rules depending on how close the event is or where you are in the sales and preparation process.
Vendor & Production Questions
10. Do you have a preferred vendor list? If so, please include it in the response. Are you open to having outside vendors?
Venues may keep a preferred vendor list, which is helpful because most vendors on that list will have worked at the venue before. If you feel strongly about a particular florist, it is good to understand whether you can use that florist in the space.
11. What are the insurance requirements for vendors?
Better to be safe than sorry! Insurance is always a big component in every corporate event, so make sure that you are covered!
12. Is there a full kitchen? If not, where can the catering staff set up, and can they use hot plates or open flame?
For venues who do not provide catering options, you will need to make sure that your caterer has the right space and tools to prepare the food at your event.
13. What are your wi-fi capabilities, as well as other technical capabilities (e.g., A/V equipment, speakers, microphones, projectors)? What outlets do we have access to?
If you are having a meeting where the lead presenter is presenting over a video conference, you need to make sure that the wi-fi and projection capabilities are up to the standard that you expect. Some events may not require wi-fi, but may require a microphone for someone to make an announcement. Make sure that you are covered in both equipment and support services! If the venue lacks these capabilities, you may need to hire a vendor to make sure things go smoothly.
14. When can set-up and breakdown happen? Is there a freight elevator or accessible path to bring equipment or furniture into and out of the space?
At museums, they often do not allow set-up or breakdown to happen when the museum is open, so you may need to set-up for an event early in the morning, even though it may take place night. Other venues may only give you an hour for set-up, so it is important to understand when set-up can take place. Additionally, if you are planning on bringing in additional equipment or décor for the event, you need to make sure that it can get there! Imagine transporting a sofa for a lounge area to find that it doesn’t fit in the venue’s elevator or the stairs. These questions help you avoid scenarios like these.
15. What are the restrictions around décor?
Many venues will not allow glitter, balloons, or open flame. Sometimes the walls are also off-limits, so you cannot bring in wall signage. It is always best to know what these restrictions are for planning purposes, especially if you want to ensure that your company’s branding is prominent during the event.
16. Is there an inventory/furniture list of what is included in the rental? Is additional furniture allowed?
Venues usually have tables and chairs available that are included in the rental price. However, they may have limited quantities, or they may not always be in the style that you would like for your event. Double check to make sure that you can bring them in. You should also check whether you can store the venue furniture that you may not need.
17. What event staff is included? How would they work with our own event teams?
Venues may have their own people onsite during an event to help out with facility related issues or questions. Depending on whether the venue offers catering or bartending services, they may also have staff for those services. It is good to understand what the staff will actually do, so that you know that you will have the help you need during the event.
Facility & Accessibility Questions
18. How many bathrooms are available for the event?
A general rule of thumb for an event is one bathroom for 25 guests, so if a venue has fewer bathrooms than that, you may want to consider ordering portable toilets, which would affect your budget.
19. How does guest parking work at the venue?
In Austin, parking is a scarce commodity, and having over 100 people arrive at the same destination can be a parking nightmare. The venue may offer valet services or even suggest a shuttle service in order to avoid parking issues.
20. What are the accessibility options for guests?
Ideally, a venue is ADA accessible, so that your event can accommodate all of your guests!
Hope this list was helpful! Let us know if you think we left anything out!