List of Questions For Choosing The Right Venue For Your Event
Part of planning a successful event, is choosing the right venue for your event.
The venue you choose will impact several key factors of your event including logistics, finances, and the sustainability year over year, among others.
We’ve compiled a simple list of questions to guide you through the journey of choosing the right venue to host your event at.
- Is it near highways or main roads?
- Are there any public transportation options nearby?
- Is it visible so guests will find it?
- Are your dates available?
- If you’re planning an annual event, will you be able to secure the same dates in the future?
- Can you agree to multi-year deal?
- Will guests be able to park?
- Within the parking, will you have enough spots to accommodate expected attendance?
- Is there a cost for using parking?
- Do you think you'll need to have staff present to guide your guests through the parking entrance?
- Does the layout work with your vision?
- Will you need to build walls, or add pipe & drape?
- How does the space sound?
- Is there outside space or only indoor?
- Do you have a foyer, and if not, can you do without?
- Where will you put everything?
Be sure to share your vision with your venue contact and have them create a diagram for you. There's more clarity in seeing how the floor plan will work out on paper than in your mind.
You have to be certain your vision can be accommodated when choosing your event venue.
Obviously, you want to be sure the venue won't be too small for your event. And on the other hand, you also don't want a venue so big it's going to look empty with your expected attendance.
- Do you think it will fill up nicely with your crowd of attendees?
- If this is an annual event, will the event be able to support your event growing in future years?
- When it's time to expand, will you be able to overflow into other parts of the venue?
- Does the venue include any labor?
- Will you need to hire outside vendors to operate the venue?
- Is there catering available?
- What about tech support and security?
- Are there any additional fees to secure the support, if available?
- If they do offer staffing support, but you want to outsource your vendors, will they be flexible and allow you to bring in outside vendors? For example, caterers and event security may be more budget friendly from an outside company.
- Is the venue itself willing to partner with you to promote your event like including your event in their own marketing materials?
- Are they willing to co-create promotional content with you?
- Does this event venue fit within your budget?
Although a list of fees will help, it's best to get a full estimate before you agree to anything. Sometimes there are “hidden” costs you may not be expecting such as administrative fees, custodian fees, internet fees, and more.
- Are you comfortable working with the team?
- Do you sense you can trust them with your event?
- Are they helpful, knowledgeable, and responsive to your questions?
- Can you be confident this team will partner with you to grow your event year over year?
This is a very important relationship! If you don't get along with, or trust your event venue's team, it will be very difficult to get anything accomplished successfully.
The best kind of team is one that will help you, inspire you, and stand by your side during the entire cycle of your event. That means choosing a team you can rely on from the planning phase all the way to the execution of your event.
Being aware of any potential restrictions will save you time and money. Can you imagine investing big bucks and energy into something, only to find out you can't include it in your event? Yikes!
- Are there any sound restrictions?
- Can you serve alcohol?
- Are there any products or services off-limits for the space?
- Will your vendors be able to sell their products?
- Does the venue offer proper load-in/load-out space for what you plan to bring in?
- Will they require you to provide a certificate of insurance?
- What about any permits for food, tenting, electrical, sound, etc.?
- If so, are you prepared to obtain and provide the necessary documentation?
We recommend taking your time to really investigate every part of a venue before signing on the dotted line. Especially, if you’re planning a multi-year event, it’s important that you do all your research and even look at several different options before choosing the right venue for your event.
posted on November 14, 2019
Event Sales & Placement
Tandem helps both rights-holders sell their event space, and those looking for the perfect venue to place their event(s) at. If you need help, hit the link below to start the conversation and our team will get in touch to see how we might be able to help.
Deadlines, Departments & Documentation: How to Get Your Activation Approved
One of the challenges we as a Sales Agency face frequently is securing the necessary permits and regulatory approvals on behalf of our clients’ projects.
The most creative, disruptive viral or newsworthy activation imaginable won’t garner success if it is shut down due to lack of compliance.
We often tell our clients to not let permits or regulations stop the creative process or slow down the creative genius; at the same time we ask to be kept in the loop so we can advise on what may be needed along with the costs and timelines to secure those things.
There are a myriad of permits, approvals and certifications that may or may not be required for your activation . . . . how do you find out what they are, if you need them and how you get them?
Most major markets have Permit Expediters, a company like ours, who can be hired to source venues and secure approvals and permits as needed. They often work on a project fee basis and sometimes on an hourly fee structure. Should you decide to use an organization like ours, do your research. Review their website, read their case studies, call their clients. What is the complexity of the projects on which they have worked? Do they have experience in areas you do not? Will they save you time? Save you money? Make you look like a hero to your largest client? Only you can decide if you find value in using a 3rd party.
There are four key areas to look at in determining what you will need to ensure your activation will be fully approved.
Know your Market
Each market has different rules, regulations, requirements and approval processes. Some markets are relatively “activation friendly” and don’t have a tremendous amount of approvals needed. Denver is one such market. Others have a more heavily regulated environment and require a permit or an approval for nearly every component of your activation. San Francisco is a more heavily regulated market than many others in the US.
Know your Venue
Understand the requirements of the venue(s) selected in each market. Is it private or public space? As a general rule of thumb when selecting venues, privately owned space is more expensive and less regulated. Public space is less expensive, but often if more heavily regulated, requiring more permits, inspections and approvals. Sometimes the cost savings in booking a public space is negated by the number of permits, inspections or licenses required.
Photo by Seth Reese on Unsplash
Know your Team
Examine your personnel resources. Do you have the skill level, expertise and staff time necessary to do the research on what is needed in each market, secure the permits, line up the inspections and provide the licenses? If you are booking at a private venue, do they offer this service as a part of your site fee? If not, are they willing to do it for an extra fee?
Know your Activation
Last but certainly not least – know your activation. Know it inside and out from the ground up. Are you sampling food? Prepackaged or open? Are you sampling only or will you be selling? Is your activation ADA compliant? Do you have a generator? Is it embedded in your tour vehicle or is it a standalone generator? Do you have inflatable, extra pieces of signage or pop up tents? Will there be stage, lights, music or other amplified sound? Knowing these things will help you determine exactly what is needed to get your activation approved and keep it running without issue. Adding or changing elements down the road may put your activation approval at risk, so it’s best to have a firm activation outline and run of show in place prior to beginning the approval process.
What sort of information does the city want to know? Why is it needed - and what should you be asking your partners to provide? How should you present the information when attempting to ensure success? Read on to find out more about the most common types of permitting and necessary applications done to host an activation.
These are often required for sampling of product. These are obtained through the county Health Department. Some counties do not require a health permit if the samples are pre-packaged, but may require a certificate from the packing facility. Other departments require a health permit regardless. There are high risk and low risk health permits; typically the cost is greater for a high-risk permit. Departments may have long lead times for processing applications and late fees for those submitted inside of the required timeline. It’s best to plan ahead to minimize these costs. In some instances you may be required to pay for an inspection on event day. If your activation is found to be out of compliance it may be temporarily or completely shut down and/or fined. Have a copy of your health permit on site and be prepared to show it if asked.
Fire permits may be required if your activation footprint includes a gas generator, large tents or open flame cooking. It's a good idea to have flame retardancy certificates for all tents on hand, in the event you are asked for proof of such. These can be obtained from the manufacturer. You may or may not be required to have a fire inspection on the day of your activation and there is a cost associated with these inspections.
Amplified Sound Permits
If your venue is a public space, is it likely they will require an amplified sound permit. There may be limitations on decibel levels and/or hours during which time amplified sound is permitted, if allowed at all. Amplified sound permits are typically not required on private property, though they may have restrictions on decibel level and allowable hours of operation.
Structural Permits/ADA Compliance
Depending on the complexity and often times the height of your activation, a structural permit may be required. These are usually obtained through the city or county Building Department and often have a long review and approval process. Be prepared to furnish stamped engineered drawings by an engineer licensed in the state you are activating. Some public space venues like San Francisco Recreation and Parks will also require wet stamped engineered drawing, even if a building permit is not required. Having an ADA compliant activation is important and usually required nearly nationwide. It’s important to understand what constitutes ADA compliancy and ensure your activation is available and accessible to everyone who wants to attend. Knowing what ramps need to look like in terms of rise of run, cable cover, wheel chair ramps and ADA lifts are all items to consider when developing your activation.
Nearly every place you'll want to activate will require some proof or inclusion on your insurance (Or at least they should!). Minimums and specific types of insurance vary by location, but be ready to reach out to your insurance provider for each activation you do. Note there will likely be some requirements laid out in your contract, but you can usually ask for requirements separately as well to pass on to your provider. Your Certificate of Insurance needs to be in the hands of the property holder or agent prior to your event.
With proper planning, careful research and mindful implementation you can insure your activation is fully approved and runs smoothly start to finish no matter what market(s) you are activating in!
Whether you are looking for a venue to host a large trade show, corporate meeting or private holiday party, finding the right the venue that accommodates your needs makes a big difference. The following five tips will hopefully assist in making this decision process a bit easier.
Photo by sergio souza on Unsplash
There are several factors that fall under this section such as venue location, ample parking, ease of accessibility and customer service to name a few. Location is one of the most important points on this list as your guests or attendees will be traveling to where the event will be hosted. The location should be centrally located and easy to access, identifiable, clean and secure. Hosting an event at an identifiable venue can bring comfort and legitimacy to an event. Parking should be available either onsite or within proximity of your venue. Always check on what the cost is for parking is and if you expect for your guests to park offsite make sure you are providing them with a shuttle or tram.
Photo by Mikael Kristenson on Unsplash
This holds true especially when you are looking for a venue to host an annual event as it makes your job much easier in the long run to host your event at the same location year after year. You should explore what the venues availability has looked like in the past, currently and for the future dates you are interested to host your event. Look for a venue that values your partnership and supports your vision and growth.
Choosing a venue that is the right fit for your party is another key factor. You need to make sure your venue can host the number of people you are catering to and provides the right capacity to comfortably plan for your layout, decor and needs such as dance floor, catering, stage etc. You can accomplish this goal factor by working on a layout and incorporating all required aspect of your space into a digital CAD drawing. Another important thing to take into consideration once the layout has been completed is to get the fire marshals approval and that it passes their requirement for allowable distances from walls, exits and walkways. This will relieve much last-minute stress of having to make changes to your event space.
Cost can fall into different categories such as venue rental, staffing charges, food and beverage minimums. Budgeting correctly for a vent is always an important point and can provide restrictions for what can be done. Being able to move forward with a venue that fits into our budget is a key decision factor. Ask for a breakdown of the costs that make up the overall venue charge. How much staffing is required and what there is flexibility on? Can you substitute some of your own staffing for items such as security or ticket takers? What are their insurance requirements? What type of food & beverage minimums are they requesting? Can you bring in outside catering? These all play a factor into your overall cost.
Photo by Alex Litvin on Unsplash
Again, capabilities can have numerous different sections. To touch on a few, find out what capabilities the venue you are renting can offer. For example, if you are hosting a meeting and need audio visual equipment, using avenue that already has that in place and you can rent for a minimum cost will make a big difference that having to outsource your needs through an outside rental company. Another example of this would be if you are looking to host a music festival and going with a venue that already has the stage, lighting, sound infrastructure rather than going with an open festival field and having to bring all that in along with your power needs, etc. Another helpful capability a venue could offer is marketing support. This is especially helpful for first time events and reaching a local crowd that are familiar with the venue.
Taking the time to do your research and gather the information above gives you a better chance to make the right choice for your event.