Questions to ask during a Tour of an Event Venue

Imagine this: It’s the day before your event, and you have to transport a large piece of equipment up the stairs. You measured its dimensions and checked it online to verify that the freight elevator could hold the equipment.

The problem is that the elevator is too large, but the door from the elevator isn’t.

Shantel Young was the victim of this. Young is Convene’s production manager. However, Young learned from her previous job at a venue how easy it can be to overlook things if you don’t ask the right questions.

Her client required an ice cream cart to fit in her space. It fit perfectly in the elevator, but the door was wider, and the cart wouldn’t go anywhere.

What’s the solution? 

The coordinator at your event venue can’t read your mind. They won’t tell you what you need unless they ask. Before you go to your event venue to tour it, grab a legal pad and write down the questions you must ask.

How many entry points and exits are there to the building?

It doesn’t matter how big or small the space is. It is important to understand how many ways there are. This is especially important if security is a concern.

Even small spaces can be accessed from many different directions. Don’t rely on photos or square footage.

How many bathrooms are available in the venue?

Are you a Broadway fan? Although the theatres are gorgeous, they are also cramped and old, which means that toilets are scarce. This is especially evident during intermission when the whole audience descends upon these tiny bathrooms.

What is each room’s maximum capacity?

Although this may seem obvious, it is important to determine how much space you have to expand your program. You may find a room large enough to hold your group but not enough room for additional RSVPs. While it may not be an issue, you should keep it in mind when you visit a site.

What policies and procedures apply to shipping and storage?

You don’t want to be carrying an ice cream cart up to two flights of stairs like Young did. Make sure you know all details about shipping, receiving and storage.

This includes:

  • Freight elevator dimensions
  • Dimensions of the door and the room
  • Hours for freight receiving
  • Freight receiving fees
  • How far ahead can freight be shipped?
  • What time do we need to take everything out after the event?

Young recommends that you over-communicate.

Are there restrictions on hanging decorations or decorating walls?

You should be clear about what decorations can be hung and where they are not allowed.

Take, for example:

Another decorative matter to consider: Are there additional cleaning fees for hanging things on the walls? Some venues might charge a fee if you hang anything on the wall or cause damage.

Are any other events being held at the venue on the day you plan to hold your event?

Last week, I attended a hotel planning meeting. A tattoo exhibition was also held in the same space as our group. There were several attractions, including tattoo booths and piercing stations. Also, a swing in the conference room allowed volunteers to suspend themselves from their piercings.

This is understandable.

Even guests with fewer needles may present a problem that you need to know: your competition.

Are there any special accessibility arrangements?

Modern venues must comply with all accessibility regulations. However, if guests require special arrangements, it is good to ask the venue ahead of time.

Do you have preferred vendors?

Some venues are strict about who can work in their spaces. It’s important to clarify this question early. Sometimes they will recommend vendors who have experience in the area and know how it works.

What happens when there is inclement weather?

There are different rules for cancelling and rescheduling events at different venues. Make sure to read the force majeure clause in your contract and understand it.

Does the vendor need a certificate of insurance (COI) to work on the building’s premises?

Certain buildings may require vendors to have a certificate of insurance. You do not want to force on your photographer just before your event.


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