Questions to ask your team building company

1. What does my event fee cover? And will there be anything else to pay after I’ve paid for my team building event?

A number of companies will quote a low price, but then add on a cost for extras after (e.g. van hire, fuel, staff lunches, prizes, AV equipment, etc.) which usually means you’ll end up paying more than you were expecting or budgeting for.

Things to check are included in your event fee are:

  • Pre-event project management
  • Time to personalise the experience to your brand and values to maximise delegate engagement rates
  • Unlimited pre-event, on the day and post event day support
  • PLI Insurance (ensure this is at least £3m and insist on more if you need it)
  • All equipment and props associated with the activity you have chosen
  • A professional presenter, event manager and support team (who are not the same person!)
  • Prizes for the winning team
  • Travel, transport of crew and equipment
  • Staff subsistence

2. Do you own all the equipment required to deliver it, or do you sub it in from elsewhere?

You may not know this, but many team building companies sub in other team building companies games, equipment and staff. This means:

  • You will end up paying a premium price.
  • They won’t understand why and how the event was created or the nuances of the activity and so won’t be able to tailor it effectively to each specific client.

3. Will I have a dedicated project manager to look after me? And how quickly will they likely respond to my queries?

  • It’s helpful to have a single point of contact leading your event preparation, to avoid things being missed/ not passed on.
  • Ideally this person is contactable every day so they are available to answer your queries as and when you have them.
  • It would be good to also have the contact details of a backup person should your main contact be out of the office when you have a query.

4. What other roles will my event host have on the day?

  • Often team building companies will scrimp and save and not employ a standalone professional presenter. This means having the main host have multiple roles during the event (e.g. event manager, presenter, crew, etc). This goes for both virtual and in-person events. By not having this single dedicated role, the presenter can’t possibly perform at their best whilst thinking about and doing other logistics-based tasks. This will lower the delegate experience on the day and reduce delegate engagement.

5. How long has the company been creating and delivering team building events?

  • With nice looking websites easy to build, it’s hard to know how good the company is behind the shiny corporate exterior. More often than you’d think, companies spring up and disappear. Look for a company brand that has a long history and creative expertise to create team building experiences in-house as they’ll have had more opportunity to run their team building events, tweaking them along the way to constantly improve them. I guess you’d call it ‘tried and tested’.

6. What’s the average feedback score from a third-party review platform?

  • All sales literature will focus on the positives, but as it’s written by the marketing department, it might not tell you the whole story. Much better advice is to seek out feedback from past clients who have no direct association with the company you are considering.
  • Well-established third-party review sites (e.g. give a much better picture of reality. They also enable you to see how often and how recent the event feedback is.

7. Can I speak to past clients who have experienced you and/ or this event?

  • Even if you don’t intend to call, it’s a good question to ask as it will quickly root out people who try to steer you away from this because they don’t have people to put you in touch with. And if they don’t want to be open with you about past people who have experienced their events, what else don’t they want you to know?

8. How many relevant Awards have you won and what were they for?

  • Companies who enter and win industry awards on a regular basis will be doing something right. Look for the most decorated team building companies to give you the most confidence they are going to get it right for you on your event.
  • Do check what the awards were for though, as ‘local new business of the year’ isn’t really going to help you put on a great team building event.

9. Can I see the activity in action before I choose it…can I try before I buy?

  • Be sure to ask this question and follow through.
  • If they say no, then steer well clear.
  • If they say yes, set a time to go and have a look. Not only will you get to see the event you are considering, but you’ll get to meet the team behind it and see their offices. Your intuition will quickly tell you if you’d like to work with them as a company.

Many companies are great at marketing, but not so good at team building. What sounds great in the brochure might be a selection of army command tasks from the 1980’s (think triple ski plod, ropes, planks and barrels, a few blindfolds and plenty of black and yellow tape). If you want to impress your team with something ‘non-cheesy’, perhaps avoid these types of offerings.

10. Can you turn my event into a give-back charity themed event?

Charity based give-back experiences are great for team morale. But you don’t have to get down and dirty in the cold as part of the experience. Find a team building experience that is right for you first and then ask the company on how they can turn it into a give-back experience.

11. How will I know the chosen event will deliver what I’m looking for?

  • What questions does the company ask you when you first enquire? Do they just ask you for the date, venue, number of delegates and budget? Or do they ask you lots of questions to help them dig deep into why you want the event in the first place and what success would look like to you?
  • Some companies will work on a high turnover of enquiries and just bash out generic information, with the hope of landing a few events. Others prefer to take the time to get to know you and your event vision in greater detail, so they can offer you perfect recommendations.

12. How do you scale up your events for very big groups? And what effect will this have on team sizes?

If a company doesn’t have enough equipment, they’ll simply put your group into bigger teams. Our recommendation is to have max team size of 8. Ask what the maximum size of group can be catered for by how many event concepts, whilst keeping team sizes under 8. Will they then manufacture more equipment of the same standard to keep your numbers under 8 with your preferred team building activity?

13. What happens if nearer the date, we need to change from our in-person event to a virtual event due to Covid?

If you choose a company that has many in-person and virtual events that they’ve created in-house, then they’ll be easily able to switch from one to another at short notice with minimal or no extra cost to you.

14. Can you design an event from scratch based around an idea I have? How can you tailor an existing experience you run to align with my company values/ key learning outcomes?

Personalisation is a key ingredient for maximising delegate engagement on the day. It will be most effective from a team building company that has created their own genuine new and unique events. This is because they will understand the nuances of what they have created better than anyone else ever can and once they fully understand what you are trying to achieve, they can then tailor them to best fit your needs.

15. How will I know the event will fit at my preferred venue?

Your team building provider should either know the space well already or be keen and ready to do a site visit and liaise directly with the venue to do all the checks, so you don’t have to.

Questions specifically for virtual events

1. What devices will delegates need to have? Do we need to download an app before the day? Do we need a pre-event briefing for any of the delegates?

What you are looking for is Simplicity and ease of technology – no app download required, no pre-event preparation for delegates (because most won’t do it) and for your guests to simply just turn up on the day and play. You will need either a laptop/ tablet and/or smartphone – which your team should already have ready to go at the start of the event.

2. What’s the backup plan if your host’s connection drops out on my virtual team event?

Technology plays a large part in the delegate experience. Particularly with elements out of the control of a team building provider (e.g. the internet, or MS Teams, or Zoom). If the whole event is reliant on the one person running the event and they have a technical issue, then your event experience will be sub-optimal. Be sure to insist that you have multiple live people running the experience, who are dialling in from different locations to mitigate this risk.

3. What technical support will be on hand for delegates during the event? What happens if the presenter’s internet connection goes down?

It’s essential that you have multiple people from the company running your event live and on the call. All dialling in from different locations. This means if the presenter’s personal internet goes down, someone else can immediately pick up where they left off. Also, you don’t want your presenter to be interrupted by delegates arriving late, having technical questions, etc. – these should all be dealt with by a different person on the day. All of these things will ensure you have a seamless event experience.

Written by Ben Parkinson

Published on 24 March, 2022

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