The proposal’s been sent, the contract is signed, and the date is locked down — congrats, you’ve officially got a new event client! Now comes the next part: asking the right questions to ensure a smooth process from booking to day-of execution. While Gather’s cloud-based software makes planning seamless and fun, there are a handful of questions to ask your client at the beginning to help start the venue-client relationship off on the right foot — check them out below. What’s your budget? Being mindful of an event client’s budget is crucial to coordinating a successful event that both they and your team are happy with. Try to find out their budget (or at least a ballpark estimate) in the beginning, so you can offer options that are scaled and priced accordingly. Plus, it’s good to remind them of budget restrictions if they start requesting add-ons that are causing their limit to be reached more quickly than anticipated. The last thing you want is a bad review stemming from a cost that’s twice what they intended to pay. What’s your approximate expected guest count? If you have multiple event-space options, knowing the approximate guest count helps determine which area will best suit the party. It’ll also help you offer more accurate pricing estimations. Make sure to let the client know when you’ll need final headcount by, to properly prepare things like food, drink and chair amounts. What are your food and beverage preferences? Whether there are allergies to be considered, a signature cocktail that needs to be kept in supply, or a preferred dining style (passed apps vs. a sit-down dinner, for example), asking food and beverage preferences right off the bat helps your inventory and kitchen staff know what needs to be on-hand, when, and how much. It’s also a good time to let your client know of any F&B minimums you require, so they’re not surprised. If your space doesn’t offer onsite food, this is also a good time to mention preferred vendors, if you have any. What’s the desired style of the event? Whether your venue is a blank canvas (like many traditional event venues) or has its own distinct ambience (such as a winery or art gallery), it’s important to make sure there’s a way to mesh the style of your space and the style of event your client wants. Try to get as many descriptive words as possible, such as “intimate,” “industrial” or “colorful,” and encourage photo examples — Pinterest is a great resource — so you can ensure you’re both on the same page. What’s your planning and day-of timeline? Manage expectations early on by discussing various event-related deadlines with your client: when you need the final menu, headcount, run of show, audio-visual setups, and any other needs. This will make it easier to coordinate the best floor plan, where any live entertainment should go, and any other details that are crucial but may not be top-of-mind towards the beginning of the planning process. What’s the most effective way for us to communicate? Some clients prefer email, while others prefer text or a good old-fashioned phone call. Directly asking your client how they prefer to communicate means you know the best way to get the fastest reply. This will save time and ensure important questions or messages (hopefully) don’t get lost in the shuffle. What made you decide to go with our event venue? Understanding why your new client chose your space over the other venues in your area helps give valuable insight into what’s making your business stand out. This way, you can highlight whatever the aspect was — whether it be the view, the pricing, the menu offerings or anything in between — and leverage that for promoting and marketing your venue moving forward. It’ll also help you with planning — if the view helped seal the deal, make sure that’s factored into the client’s event, and not obscured by something like a photo booth or bar setup. Are you interested in add-ons or customization options? Adds-ons are a great way for venues to make extra revenue on an event, while also wowing clients with something special. This can be anything from supplied decor to carving stations and DIY cocktail mixing bars. Offer your add-on and customization options upfront so they can work it into their event budget more feasibly. 8 Questions to Ask Your New Event Client What’s your budget? What’s your approximate expected guest count? What are your food and beverage preferences? What’s the desired style of the event? What’s your planning and day-of timeline? What’s the most effective way for us to communicate? What made you decide to go with our event venue? Are you interested in add-ons or customization options?