The days are longer and getting warmer and event planners know what that means – time for summer site visits! Last year, we created a free ebook for event planners to use while planning their summer site visits – it includes a wealth of information and recommendations for apps to use while traveling and gadgets to help you gather data about each venue you go to. We also included a list of important questions to ask while you’re surveying your prospective venues. Today, we’re publishing that section of the ebook here.
After visiting multiple venues in multiple locations, it can be easy to forget what questions you need to ask to ensure that you get all the information you need to make an informed decision. Here are a few things to keep in mind while you tour each venue. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it is a good place to start if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed.
Ask about dates and times when function and conference rooms are available.
Are there any peak times or specific dates when the venue is not available for events? Will any developments or renovations be taking place in the future? What rooms are available for events?
What will venue accessibility be like for attendees?
Take into consideration the travel logistics that attendees will be facing when they arrive. Is the venue walking distance from accommodations? Is there a public transit stop nearby? How long does it take to reach the venue from nearby airports? What is parking like?
What will venue accessibility be like for vendors and suppliers?
Ask about accessibility for vendors and suppliers. If the conference or event rooms are on an upper floor, is there an elevator? Are doors and halls wide enough for equipment? Is there a loading bay in the back of the venue? Where can vendors and suppliers park?
The Venue Itself:
Be sure to examine the venue’s appearance.
Not only will you want to evaluate the overall condition and cleanliness of the venue but you’ll also want to look for any unique features that might be incorporated into the theme of the event as well as any problematic floor plans or layouts.
What accommodations are available at the venue?
How many rooms are available? What types of rooms are provided (king, double, etc.)? Make note of any room amenities. If there is no
If there is no accommodation available at the venue, be sure to ask about hotels in the area.
As you tour the venue, be sure to take note of room names, capacities, and any other noteworthy information that could help you plan your event. Be sure to ask about the maximum capacities and any available equipment that might be included (ie dance floors, AV equipment, decor, etc.).
You’ll also want to ask about any restrictions on noise, alcohol, and outside vendors.
Outdoor Area Facilities
Does the venue have any outdoor spaces that are available for events (such as gardens, courtyards, terraces, golf courses, etc.)? Is there water access from these spaces? What, if any, restrictions exist in these spaces?
What permits are required for events at this location?
Sometimes permits are required for street closures, for building structures, for closing a lane for drop-offs, etc. – be sure to ask about these types of permits, how they can be procured, and for how much.
Finally, if you plan to serve alcohol at your event, ask if the venue has a liquor license.
Dining and Food Prep:
What’s available in terms of dining? Does the venue allow external food vendors?
Is there a kitchen available to your event, what kind of dishes are served, and will it create unique menus for your event? If the venue doesn’t allow external food services or vendors, is there a restaurant on-site? Is there room for private dining?
Is there Wi-fi available?
Attendees have come to expect to have access to free wifi at events, but it’s not always included in venue pricing. Be sure to ask if wifi is available and if it is, how much is the rental fee? Are there setup fees?
Most large venues host multiple events at once, be sure to ask about time slot rates, end times, etc.
Don’t forget to include setup and break-down in your time estimates. Failure to ensure that your time slot accommodates time for load-in can throw off your whole schedule and your budget. Finally, be sure to ask how late events are allowed to run. This is typically decided based on city ordinances around noise restrictions so the limit is not up to the venue and it’s not negotiable.
Finally, be sure to ask how late events are allowed to run. This is typically decided based on city ordinances around noise restrictions so the limit is not up to the venue and it’s not negotiable.
Did we miss anything? What questions do you think are most important to ask while conducting site visits? Comment below and let us know. Or tweet us at @MeetingPool! If you’d like to see more from our Summer Site Visit Survival Guide, you can download the ebook here.
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