Every time a potential client inquires about booking your space, you’re taking a test. Whether or not you pass depends not only on having the right answers but on how your answers stack up against the competition. That’s always a tall order but it never hurts to get a leg up on the competition when you can. That’s why we figured you’d appreciate an advanced copy of the test!
Here’s a checklist of everything your clients are looking for in a venue and a few suggestions about what you can do to make sure you pass with flying colors:
1. Destination & Infrastructure
The appeal of your venue is not limited to the boundaries of its walls. In addition to local attractions and amenities, your clients want to know about transportation and accessibility. What are the options for mass transit? How far is the nearest train station or airport? Do you offer any transfer services?
Additionally, if the primary mode of travel and transportation is expected to be by car, what is the parking situation? Is parking private or public? Are there associated fees?
You will also need to be able to speak to the quality and availability of nearby hotel accommodations. The same questions around travel and transportation apply to these facilities as well.
2. Available Space
This almost goes without saying, but it is absolutely essential that you know your venue inside and out. Your clients will certainly ask after a plenary room and potentially for further spaces that can be used for breakout sessions and workshops. But it’s important to have answers for some of the less obvious space requirements they may have. Where does the coffee station go? Is there space for an accompanying exhibition? How about storage space or a business center?
Beyond that, you’ve also got to be able to provide answers to questions about dimensions, set-up options and available equipment for every single bookable space you have available.
To that end, venue management software can be an excellent tool in helping you to keep track of all the details that relate to your venue’s spaces and allow you to quickly check availability or book right from your phone.
For planning purposes, potential clients will need to know about the availability and pricing for audio visual and other equipment such as furniture, chairs, tables and decoration. Again, venue management software can be a huge asset not only in this regard but in also allowing you to directly add requested items to the event plan.
4. Food & Beverage
The quality of food and beverage options matters to attendees. So it’s a big deal to organizers as well. Clients will expect a run-down of all their catering options. Do you have an in-house caterer or preferred suppliers? Do you allow outside catering? If you do require the use of in-house catering or preferred suppliers, ensure that you have all the specific menu options and pricing available for review.
5. Contract & Pricing
And now we get down to the (literal) bottom line. As it relates to contract and pricing, organizers typically have two main concerns. First, they’ll want to know what your requirements are for payment details. Do you require 100% up front? Is this negotiable?
Second, what is your cancellation policy? Is the deposit non-refundable? At the end of the day, these are the questions that count.
For additional info on the industry standards around these issues, check out the publication contracting with congress & convention venues via the AIPC (International Association of Convention Centres) and the ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association).