Historic Venues – Great place to host…if you’ve done your homework
By Scott Morgan, Senior Account Manager
I woke up a few weeks ago facing a few tough realities. I was loading in a fashion event at the Hotel Del in Coronado, CA, which is a beautiful historic property. We were working with a first time client and it was raining. Like many historic building we had no store room for our cases and, to make things even more challenging, the Hotel Del has no loading dock. It’s more of a small loading zone where you can witness a pretty spectacular game of bumper cars on any given day. While our team had the experience to plan for these challenges, it made me realize that many people might not realize the importance of digging into critical details about the venue. Especially when it’s a beautiful historic venue like the Hotel Del without some of the modern conveniences we enjoy elsewhere.
Following are a few important factors to consider:
Loading – Like many historic venues, the Hotel Del has a loading area and no dock. So there are many factors to consider for your shipments. You may need a forklift or offloading ramp for your truck. Although you may plan for a delivery at a specific time, the truck before you may take longer than expected. On a busy day, it can truly look like a game of bumper cars.
Labor – Getting equipment and other items to the appropriate room can be a challenge. In general, it will take longer to push items to their respective rooms. As a result, you will pay more for labor because it takes additional time to get unloaded and then move the equipment from the loading area to the event space.
Power – In an old building, the infrastructure can sometimes be tied together in unique ways. For instance, a typical wall outlet will generate 15-20 amps. At the Hotel Del it is common that outlets have been tied together so we needed to utilize 2 outlets (sometimes more!) to get 15-20 amps. This can result in needing additional power drops in case you have AV instruments that draw a substantial amount of power (such as lighting and high-end projectors).
In-House Service Costs – The most important item to note is how services are billed by the in-house provider as it can cost a LOT of money. At the Hotel Del the cost for electrical is billed per day instead of the industry standard per week charge. Also remember to ask about their internet options and pricing. If you haven’t signed a contract yet, get your negotiation hat on as you can sometimes have these additional costs reduced or even eliminated…but only PRIOR to signing the contract.
Non-Meeting Room Event Space – At the Hotel Del any outdoor events must be supported by the in-house teams. This is not unusual for historic venues as they are understandably protective of their facility. Not knowing this in advance could cause you to pay for the same services and equipment twice.
Stages – When working within an older venue, the inventory may be limited. This is because an older building tends to have less space to store items. For instance, my client at the Hotel Del requested different stage sizes. Not only was it difficult for the in-house team to provide the amount of staging requested, the heights were extremely limited and impacted several aspects of the set-up and event.
While historic venues require additional questions and research, they are also an amazing place to have a meeting. Following these tips will allow you to more fully enjoy the experience…and avoid surprises!