Here is a list of things that are easy to forget when booking a venue. It’s best to bring these up before you sign contracts so that you can get pricing included. Contract addendums can be a pain.
- HVAC – Some buildings turn off air conditioning or heat on the weekends. Make sure to check on this. It’s possible that having HVAC on over the weekend will result in an extra cost. Trust me, it’s worth it when you run an overnight hackathon on the hottest weekend in Los Angeles!
- Janitorial – As long as it’s in my event budget, I always make sure I have janitorial support. If you are catering three (or more) meals for over 100 people, you need some help cleaning up.
- Power – Always ask about accessibility to power for your attendees. I have a small Pelican case of extension cords and power strips that I take to hackathons. It’s helpful to know if you will need some power help earlier rather than later.
- Wi-Fi – ALWAYS ask about Wi-Fi! You want to make sure the venue has enough backhaul to support the hackathon. It’s safe to assume you will need access points that can cover twice your target attendance. Your attendees will connect a laptop and probably a phone to Wi-Fi. If you are running an IoT event, you will want to ask to have a completely open network for the hackathon so that devices can connect easily.
Once a quote comes back from a venue, feel free to negotiate with the venue to work to fit into budget. Some venues are flexible with costs and others aren’t. It can never hurt to ask.
One negotiation option is to look at a multi-event discount. This is great if you are going to be running more than one event in a city and would like to have a venue secured for all of them. The upfront cost will be more, however your per event cost will be lower.
If you have any tips for what to remember when talking to a venue, leave it in the comments!
Be sure to check out the rest of the Hackathon Edventures series.