The location can make or break an event. It doesn’t matter how beautiful it is if there isn’t enough space, and you won’t have the budget for everything else you need if the location is too expensive. Yet finding the right location is a challenge, and when you’re shopping for a venue, it is easy to get caught up in trivial details, causing you to overlook the essentials. Here are 5 questions to ask when booking a venue for a corporate event.
Before you fall in love with a venue, think about how attendees will get there. While you might think that all venues in big cities like Adelaide would be easy to reach, it’s important that you choose a conference venue in Adelaide that is accessible from the airport, highways and public transit most of the attendees will be using. If people will be driving in, verify whether there is sufficient parking for everyone. If most will be arriving at the airport, find out whether or not the venue offers a shuttle service to bring people in.
It doesn’t matter how great the venue is if it isn’t available on the day you want to host the event and for the entire time you want it. Ensure that the large ball room or conference centre is available on the date you want before you start negotiating for the space. Remember to take setup time into account. Can you show up one to three days early to set things up? And will you be charged for that time? You may get one day allocated for setting up for free. Note that this is something you can negotiate.
Ask for a price quote based on your expected attendance. Don’t make assumptions about what is included in the fee. Know for certain if this includes food and drinks for guests, event setup and clean-up. If you’re considering bringing in outside vendors to lower costs, ask whether that is allowed before planning on it.
Know whether you’re liable for the water bill or may need to pay to use that projector in the ceiling. Ask about every fee you may be assessed. You don’t want to be surprised by additional taxes on the bill, or mandatory service charges. You may be hit with a fee for attendee Wi-Fi usage, too.
Know that venues often charge based on the number of expected attendees. If fewer people show up, you may have to pay damages if it isn’t enough to offset the hotel rooms that weren’t filled or the food that was wasted because it wasn’t eaten. You can negotiate the “slippage” or damages paid if attendance is lower. The higher the slippage percentage is, the lower your liability if the event is a bust.
Cancellation terms vary from venue to venue. They also vary based on the size of the event. You may be asked to pay the fee 100% up front two months in advance for a very large venue. Yet you may be able to cancel a small room reservation one or two weeks in advance without penalty. Be aware of the sliding scale, and pay attention to the calendar if you think you may need to cancel. Ask what happens if the room is re-booked. Can you get out of the cancellation fees if you can sell the spot to someone else?