SELECTING THE RIGHT VENUE
Keep following things in mind while selecting a venue for your event:
a) Target Audience/Guest Size
This means the number of people you are expecting to attend your event.
Make sure that your venue can easily accommodate your expected target audience. Your venue should not be too small or too large for your guests. If too small, then your guests will feel discomfort. If it is too large then you will unnecessarily end up paying more for the venue.
Get firm indications whether guests plan to attend your event by sending R.S.V.P clearly printed on the invitation.
The term R.S.V.P is a French acronym. Its meaning in English is ‘Please Respond’. If R.S.V.P is printed on the invitation then the invited guest is expected to tell the host whether or not he/she is attending the event. Since many people don’t understand the meaning of this term or don’t bother to reply back, it is advisable to individually call and ask your guests about their plan to attend the event. In this way you can get quite accurate idea of the guest size which will help you in deciding food and beverage quantities also.
b) Target Audience Status
If you target audience are rich people then your venue must be a five star hotel or resort and all the services provided during the event must be of very high quality.
c) Target Audience Convenience
Select venue according to target audience convenience. Your venue should not be very far from the place where majority of your target audience live. Your venue should have proper lighting and ventilation. It should not be in a noisy or polluted area. It should be absolutely neat and clean and free from any type of infestation.
d) Climatic Conditions
Keep Climatic conditions in mind while selecting a venue. If you are going to organize an event during rainy season or during peak winter then selecting an open-aired venue is not a good idea. Always try to organize indoor events if possible as there production cost is lesser than the outdoor events.
e) Venue History
Before hiring a venue check out the history of the venue. Find out how many events have been organized in the venue so far. In this way you can find out whether or not venue and the staff there is event friendly. This will help you immensely when you later organize event there as you will have to do less amount of work in making the venue suitable for the event. If venue has noise ordinance problems in the past like neighbours calling the cops to shut down the event, then it is not a good idea to organize event there especially outdoor event.
f) Venue Services
Before hiring a venue check out the number of services provided by the venue like:
Make sure venue has its own parking space. It should be big enough to accommodate your target audience’s vehicles conveniently. If parking space is not adequate then look for other venue. Never compromise on parking space especially if you are organizing event on a large scale.
Security of guests, service providers and target audience is a very important issue which should never be neglected or compromised at any cost. Make sure that your venue has adequate number of fire extinguishers, fire alarms, emergency escape routes, sprinkler system (a system consist of overhead pipes designed to control or extinguish fires), security personals, handicap ramps, security cameras, first aid kits and power backup (like generator, inverter, UPS). Your venue must have separate entrance and exit gates and it should not be more than 30 minutes away from the nearest hospital. If your venue is at a remote location then presence of doctor and ambulance is a must. Also make sure your mobile phone properly works there. If your mobile phone network area is weak there or doesn’t exist then you must have some other modes of communication like satellite phone. For large scale events presence of fire fighters, fire engine, police, paramedical team with ambulance is a must.
Your venue must have adequate number of staff to serve your guests. Find out the ratio of servers to guests. The venue staff must be friendly, helpful and courteous. It should be decently dressed. Give special attention to their personal hygiene. Nobody likes to be served by someone who is stinking and looks like a pirate of the 13th century. Ask you venue manager whether or not the staff is able and willing to work overtime.
Every venue has some unsaid restrictions like photography and videography restrictions, alcohol restrictions, music restrictions, dress code, decoration related restrictions (like you cannot install your own structure and lights for decoration or paste/paint anything on the venue’s wall), advertising restrictions (like you cannot put a banner on the main gate of the venue) and other restrictions like outside caterer is not allowed or outside security service is not allowed etc. Find out all these restrictions before hiring a venue.
Some venue provides additional services like catering, floral decoration, fireworks, audio-visual aids; Staging, Lighting, props, decor for event production; ticketing, reservation, transportation and sightseeing tours for the guests; DJs, anchors, performers etc for event programs.
g) Venue Fees
Ask following questions from venue manager before hiring a venue:
- Q1) what is the venue fee?
Does it include all other taxes? (Negotiate rental fee to ensure the best deal.)
Q2) what is included in the venue fee?
Is dance floor included in venue fee? Are table, chairs and linens included in the venue fee? Is security and liability coverage included in the venue fees?
Q3) what is not included in the venue fee?
Q4) is there any cost for parking?
Generally parking space is provided free of the cost by the venue but some venues may charge separately for parking facility.
Q5) what is the price range for a seated/buffet lunch and dinner?
Q6) what are the Corkage fees?
I.e. fees to serve liquor. Make sure that venue has the license to serve alcohol. Check the license for expiration date.
Q7) What is the cost of sleeping rooms?
Q8) What is your cost per person and per food item?
Q9) What are your bartending and bar set up fees?
Q10) What are your fees and how do you charge for providing additional services?
Such as floral decoration, fireworks, audio-visual aids; staging, lighting, props, decor for event production etc.
Q11) What modes of payments are available?
Q12) What are your payment, refund and cancellation policies?
h) Venue Inspection
If you will go as an event manager to a venue for inspection you will be shown the venue as an ideal venue for organizing your event. So best way of inspecting a venue is to check-in there as an anonymous guest, stay there for 2-3 days and deliberately use all the services provided by the venue.
Make sure Air Conditioners, fans, water tabs work properly, elevators are operational. There is adequate lighting and ventilation. Check out for sanitation and infestation.
Find out how helpful, courteous and professional is the venue staff. Check out whether or not the venue has a noise ordinance in the area where it is located? If yes? At what time is it enforced? E.g.: 10:00PM, 11:00PM. Check out whether or not security is provided in the parking lot and how is the law and order situation in the area where the venue is located. Make sure that the venue suits the event theme.
i) Amount of Work Required
On the basis of venue history, services provided by the venue and venue’s inspection determine how much work is needed to be done to make the venue suitable for your event. Select a venue where lesser amount of work is required to be done. Lesser the work, lesser will be the production cost of the event.