Planning on bringing a vehicle to a venue? It’s best to be prepared for the kind of slipups that could cost you an activation day, or at best, a substantial amount of money.
Being prepared starts with knowing what questions to ask which is why we’ve prepared a list of 6 essential questions you can bring to any venue to screen for a best fit scenario.
Are vehicle based stands allowed at the venue?
It might sound like a pretty obvious question, but it’s best to start with the basics. Some venues might flat out refuse to entertain a vehicle based stand. If this is the case, just move one – plenty of fish in the sea!
Most venues will allow vehicles, but they will likely have stipulations. Some might require you to empty your fuel tank or put down dripping trays to catch leaking fuel or other pollutants. Even an activity as simple as parking your vehicle will often need professional oversight.
In such cases a venue might request the use of a Banksman - someone to oversee the process of moving a vehicle into its allotted position. We can supply one for you, so if you need one, please note this in your brief.
What are your rules of access?
This one is hugely important as it will affect when, where and how you are able to access the property, affecting your display stand set up and take down.
This might mean, for example, that you can only get your vehicle in early in the morning for set up. If you don’t know your access times, you might not be able to access the venue at all. No access equals no activation.
This might sound like a pain, but we do all this for you; set up and derig is included in the baseline price of our promotional vehicle hire packages. This means you can lie in bed a little longer and wake up feeling fresh for the activation day ahead.
One thing to note however is that venues with extremely unsociable access times (e.g. between midnight and 3am) will cost more to support. You have to factor in the additional hours worked by the people involved and the logistical problems involved in getting them home in the middle of the night.
What forms of power are allowed?
Power can often be a big hurdle as rules differ venue to venue. Power options include battery, solar, gas or generator power. Which setup you go for will depend on your power requirements and campaign goals.
In terms of what will actually be allowed, always ask. If your venue is enclosed or indoors for example, gas or generator based setups may be banned without adequate ventilation.
Even battery use might be regulated if the venue considers them a health hazard, something to note if your aiming for sustainable power options.
Do you supply power?
Many venues do supply their own power, and if they do, you need to know the details. Make sure you define ‘power’. Do they provide one socket or several, what is the socket power output, are they single phase or 3 phase?
Ask for a floorplan with plug sockets highlighted, every detail matters when planning how you will power your promotional vehicle setup. If your venue uses 3 phase sockets we can plug in a splitter box, allowing us to regulate your electrical requirements safely and efficiently.
Consider that energy intensive appliances such as a fryer can use up to 6-7 kilowatts of power, the same power output as the average single phase 32 amp socket. That means your entire electricity supply is used up running just one appliance!
In such a scenario you would have to augment their supply with your own, perhaps through the use of lithium batteries. However some venues may restrict your power usage to only what they supply, scuppering your carefully laid plans.
If you find yourself in a situation with no ability to power your promotional vehicle stand, you need to ask yourself, “Which do I value more: the venue or my vehicle?” – because one of them will have to change.
You will either have to adapt your design to suit the venues power requirements, or find a more suitable venue.
Do you have any noise restrictions?
Noise is always an important consideration for venues, though regulations will vary. If you are pitching up at a music festival, any noise you make will likely prove insignificant.
However if a venue is trying to preserve a certain level of tranquillity, they may impose noise restrictions. Depending on your campaign goal this may or may not prove problematic.
If sound features heavily in your activation, as it did for our infamous Boom Bus project, you need to be careful. Ask all the noise related questions you can think of up front and early!
For most projects, noise concerns will most likely only affect your power choices. You may not be able to use a generator for example as they can be noisy. Always qualify whatever you’re told, there may be a minimum noise threshold rather than a blanket policy, meaning we may be able to find a quiet solution that respect the regulations.
In the case of generators, if they are well and truly not an option, we do have several power options that can take up the slack.
What health and safety documentation do I need to provide?
Understandably, venues get quite nervous around vehicles, there is the potential for things to go wrong if not handled correctly. With many companies bringing multiple customised vehicles, they have to find a way to audit the modifications in compliance with health and safety regulations.
It’s essential you get all this information well ahead of time, to avoid panic on event day. If your design doesn’t conform to venue requirements you may have to make last minute modifications to your vehicle or setup.
This is extremely expensive and can potentially cost you an activation day if the changes required are time intensive.
Most venues will ask for RAMS documents – documents that identify the steps taken to minimise hazards or risk when carrying out a task. RAMS or Risk Assessment Method Statement, is one of the ways venues monitor health and safety standards.
This is something we take care of for you, completing RAMS when and where necessary as part of our logistical services. However, we do need to know what regulations are in place in a venue so that we can comply with them in our RAMS documents – so make sure you let us know!
Do we have a conflict of interests?
Bonus question! This applies regardless of whether you have a vehicle or a static stand really but it’s a problem we see crop up often. You need to ask venues whether your stand will bring any kind of conflict of interests.
A shopping mall for instance may not take kindly to direct competition for a similar product – especially if you happen to be giving out samples for free!
A solution may be as simple as negotiating a spot in the venue that puts some physical distance between any direct competitors, but some venues may just say no. In such a case, it’s time to rethink your choice of venue.
What are my next steps?
A lot of the topics covered in this article deal with power, which can seem a little complicated. We recommend reading our power guide for a breakdown of power fundamentals plus a list of 5 power questions you should be asking venues.
If you’re happy with everything covered in this article however, you might be starting to wonder how much all of this costs. A great place to start is with our budget calculator, located on our pricing page.
For a full breakdown of our costs and services though, we recommend our costs and services explained article, which covers everything we offer in greater detail.