Choosing a venue is a very important task for event planners. The venue must fit the theme, not to mention the budget, of what the planner is trying to project or execute. Quite often a venue is chosen for an evening off-site function, somewhere to take the group after a long day of sessions. It’s an area of event planning that event planners often hire a local company, or destination management company, to source for them. However we’ve prepared three tips for those event planners out there that are responsible for selecting a venue for an upcoming meeting.
Tip # 1 for Event Planners Choosing Venues – Location
The location of the venue is very important for a number of reasons. The first one is how easy it will be for everybody to get to the venue. If you have a lot of people coming by car then naturally parking is an important consideration. If you are transporting your people to the venue then the distance would be a factor.
Tip # 2 for Event Planners Choosing Venues-Rental Fees
Now some may argue that the rental fee itself will have an impact on the location. What you want to know is whether or not there are any hidden charges that you may not be aware of. For example will event planners have to pay more to insure the event with the vendor. And will you have to pay more for a liquor license or is that include it.
Many venues will allow event planners to use the venue’s sound system as part of the rental fee. But you should also check to see if there are any musician union dues that you may be required to pay for playing cover songs. Many venues pay this fee on an annual basis and just included in their base rental fee. However many also do not so it’s important to find out if there is an additional charge for playing music.
Depending on whether or not the liquor license – which is often a special occasions permit – is included with the rental fee, may also have an impact on the final cost. If it’s not, you may want to determine how much of your own time and effort is involved with getting your liquor permit yourself. And weigh that against any fees that the venue may charge you. Don’t forget your time is also worth money and factor that into the equation.
Also inquire about the venues payment policies. Often times if the event planner is a new customer to the venue, full payment may be required up front. I suggest you find that out before signing any contracts. What are their policies for cancellation? And just how much time do you need to give the venue for any changes including cancellation? Here’s a hint – most reputable venues will offer their payment policies up front and center – before you sign a contract.
Tip # 3 for Event Planners Choosing Venues-Caterers
One piece of advice that I always like to offer event planners looking for their own venues is to inquire regarding in-house catering. A lot of people ask me what does in-house catering have to do with rental fees? While it doesn’t necessarily affect rental fees, using an outside caterer can have additional charges for service and equipment. And additional to the tune of double the food menu cost. Many venues, while allowing you to bring outside caterers in, do have in-house caterers. And many times these in-house caterers do not charge the event planners for service and equipment.