Everything You Should Put on Your Site Visit Checklist
A site visit and a venue tour are different things. A venue tour is a sales tool, designed to give you a quick (and usually visually stunning) overview of the property. On the other hand, a site visit has a more practical purpose: to allow you to dig in and peek around corners. The person accompanying you on your site visit will be intimately acquainted with the venue and have a great handle on what’s possible (or not). Your site visit checklist should cover specifics about the site itself, event-day logistics, A/V availability, storage, and timing.
Having this information in advance will help you to either plan your program accordingly or give you some lead time to find vendors offering those services. The bottom line: you can work around anything, as long as you know what you’re walking into. With that in mind, following are a few suggestions of items you absolutely should not forget!
1. Choose the perfect spot for your event
Still looking for a venue? Peerspace is the ultimate one-stop spot to find unique getaways for your meeting, retreat, or launch party. The Concierge service will help you to narrow down the field of choices as you research interesting locations in dozens of metro areas across the country. The Concierge team will help you to clarify some of the items on your site visit checklist by steering you away from a space that may not be appropriate for your needs. As icing on the cake, they will connect you with vendors and the hosts, many of whom are happy to offer site visits.
2. Consider general impressions
You’ll have a chance to revisit some of your initial feelings about the space. How is it set up on the day of your visit? Look at the furniture and flow of the room. Are the chairs comfortable and the linens pressed? How does the air quality feel — is it a comfortable temperature and does it smell clean and fresh? Is there excess noise in the back hallways and, if so, is it disruptive to the event space? Pay attention to general cleanliness and upkeep. Of course, realize that if you arrive for your site visit on the day of someone else’s event, you may walk by a space that is in disarray.
3. Determine A/V capabilities
As you plan your event, think about projection (for presentations), lighting (both adequate for the occasion, as well as specialty lighting for any surprises you may have up your sleeve), and sound (e.g. house system, portable system, various kinds of microphones). During your site visit, make absolutely certain to understand what is provided in-house. If you’re lucky, they’ll have ideas and solutions you may not have thought of!
4. Sort out electrical, HVAC, and maintenance issues
Start small and work your way into larger pieces of the puzzle: how many outlets are there, and where are they located? Will they handle your power requirements and, if not, are you permitted to bring in supplemental power? You’ll also want to find out, generally, if there will be an emergency on-call maintenance person (bonus points if they’re on site!) during your event. This is also the time to ask about the possibility and timing of any construction or renovation/large repair projects that may be in the pipeline.
5. Think about accessibility
This applies to both general safety as well as ADA. Newer and remodeled facilities are required to adhere to certain accessibility standards, but older buildings and private properties don’t have the same set of rules, necessarily. That is, a second-floor restaurant may officially have an elevator for guests with mobility issues, but that elevator may be designed for freight and located in the kitchen.
On this piece of your site visit checklist, don’t forget to check the bathrooms, too! “Comfort facilities” could make or break the success of an event. Not only do you need to know if there are enough facilities, but how many are accessible to differently-abled people, and are they clean, maintained, and in good repair?
6. Designate an area for parking
Is there enough parking for your guests? Is it indoor or outdoor, reserved or open — and is there an additional fee? By the same token, should you choose to offer transportation to and from the event, your venue host should be able to tell you what kind of vehicle can safely approach the location without the potential for disaster.
7. Establish a place for receiving and storage
It’s always important to have a safe place to store your stuff! Ask about their process for receiving materials, then request to see the space where your items will be secured. Find out how far in advance you can have items shipped and if there are limitations on size or value.
8. Bring up miscellaneous discussion items
These tangible details aren’t the end of the line! The site visit doesn’t have to stop when you’ve toured the whole property. There are things that you can appropriately discuss and clarify during the site visit that don’t necessarily have to do with the physical space. Make the most of the time you have with the venue manager, and add a few discussion items to your site visit checklist:
Clarify deposits, their cancellation policy, and attrition.
Hours of operation
What is the required end time, and at what time do you have to vacate the premises? Note that this will likely apply more to social events than to meetings and retreats, although people can tend to be chatty after a conference, too!
Does the venue have a list of preferred (or required) third-party vendors? It’s valuable to have that insight. Their list is guaranteed to be vendors who have proven themselves to be professional, reliable, and efficient.
The best way to make certain that nothing will go wrong is to prepare for the worst (and expect the best). Your host should tell you what is in force and what supplemental insurance you’ll have to provide.
Remember, attention to detail is the secret to a flawless event!