We get some advice and tips from events industry expert Peta Moore on the key elements to a successful site visit when planning your event
Even if you have worked with hundreds of venues across the country, I always recommend scheduling a site inspection prior to committing to an unfamiliar venue, to ensure there are no surprises onsite. Websites are useful during the research phase but will only get you so far. The venue’s photographs will be selective and it’s up to you to leave no stone unturned to ensure there are no nasty surprises on the day of your event.
A site inspection will enable you to determine whether the venue is the right fit and can help you avoid unexpected costs later. Just as importantly, meeting the venue’s event team onsite at the very beginning of a project helps build a solid relationship and opens communications, which are both important as you will be working closely together over the coming months to bring your event to life.
What should I bring?
You’ll need a brief detailing your event requirements, which will help you ensure the venue representative is on the same page as their client – you. A camera is essential; you can share photographs with the other stakeholders in your event and even your suppliers if required. There are some great apps you can use to take 360 degree views of rooms and these can be useful to refer to when you are back at your desk and looking at floorplans. Another essential oldie but goldie for a site visit is a tape measure.
Prepare – have a checklist ready
A checklist will enable you to track and compare the quality of each venue. A good checklist will focus your search by listing the venue brief and clearly noting the overall event objectives at the top of the page. As with all aspects of good event planning, the venue should support the achievement of the event goals in some way, whether it be via alignment with brand and business values, through its layout, access to offsite activities, or its location.
Your checklist only needs to be a one page document that allows you to review all the important elements for consideration for the right venue. Matters like potential obstructions in the room, AV facilities, windows and views, ideal registration areas (if required), as well as issues like, access times, catering capabilities, storage areas and sound-proofing between rooms, are good comparative elements to have on your checklist Using a checklist will prompt you to ask the right questions to ensure there are no problematic revelations when you’re onsite.
Your final choice
A methodical, in person review of a venue will enable you to identify the advantages and limitations of its location, service and rooms. It is also often beneficial in the final negotiation stages to have a face-to-face meeting with the venue contact.