Conducting a site visit of any potential event venue is a must. It’s impossible to get a good feel for a space from websites and marketing materials alone. Even impressive virtual tours come second to experiencing a venue in person.
A physical site visit allows you to visualise your event in your chosen space, check out its location and facilities, taste and choose catering options, meet the venues event team, and make sure everything lives up to promised standards.
But beyond this, there are a number of technical and production related considerations that should be addressed during your inspection. Here’s our guide on how to conduct a site visit from an event production point of view.
Double check the room capacity
Ensuring there is sufficient room for your expected delegate count should be a major factor in your venue selection process, so you should already have a good idea of the capacity of your chosen space. However, many venues will state the maximum capacity in their marketing literature, and the last thing you want is your audience jam packed into an uncomfortable space.
Use your site visit to assess the comfortable capacity of the room, taking into account your seating layout, set and stage design, AV set up (including ample space for the control desk) and any other factors which may impact the usable space.
Assess the layout of your plenary room
To ensure successful execution of your event, it’s crucial that the layout of your chosen space works with the proposed production and technical elements. Pay specific attention to the following:
All of the above should then be detailed in a floorplan, along with your set and stage and seating arrangements, and sent to the venue for official sign off.
Determine access times for each space
Many venues will have consecutive events booked. It is, after all, how they make money. But this can have serious implications for the set up and tear down of your own event. Be sure to establish the exact times that you are able to access the main plenary and, if applicable, each breakout room, and also when each needs to be cleared by.
This information is crucial in allowing your production team to schedule their build, whilst leaving sufficient time for technical checks and rehearsals, as well as ensuring they are out in time for the next event team to come in. If it is a particularly tight turnaround on either side, they may need to bring in extra crew, so keep in mind any additional costs that may come as a result.
Check available storage space
Each piece of kit involved in your AV set up will have its own storage and transportation container that will need to be stored for the duration of your event. Be sure to establish that storage is available and where it is located. If it’s not close by this will have a knock on affect for set up times.
If access to the venue is limited, it may be that kit needs to be stored on-site overnight. If this is the case, you need to be sure that storage is completely secure and obtain details of which venue employees will have access to it.
Establish what venue owned kit is available
Many venues carry a certain amount of their own audio visual equipment that may be available for use during your event. On your site visit, establish if this is the case and get specific details on the kit available. This information will need to be passed to your event production team to ensure the kit is sufficient for your requirements.
Ensure sufficient internet capacity is available
Reliable internet connections are increasingly important for successful event production. If you’re using live polling applications, or video conferencing, you will need dedicated and stable wired connections with sufficient bandwidth. If you’re using event apps or social media, you’ll want a strong Wi-Fi connection that is, ideally, separate from the venues main network. This is particularly important if your chosen venue is a large hotel with high volume guests, or a venue in which multiple events take place at one time.
Your delegates will expect a seamless experience without interruptions, so making sure there is sufficient connectivity is a must. Your event production team should be able to advise on the specific requirements related to your proposed activities.
Check on-site parking facilities
This isn’t just important for your attendees. Dependent on the size and scale of your event, your production team may have vehicles that require special parking considerations, such as space size, car park access height, and whether they are able to leave their vehicles for the duration of your event. It’s also vital to establish where vehicles can be parked for the offloading of equipment.
If the venue does not have sufficient parking facilities, it’s important that your production team are aware of this ahead of time so alternative arrangements can be made.
Take your production team with you
The best way to ensure that your chosen venue ticks all the right technical boxes is to take your production team with you on your site visit. This will give you the opportunity to explore the venue together and make sure that all technical and production elements are addressed. It will also give them the chance to carry out a full risk assessment and meet relevant members of the venue’s event team in person.
If you’re unable to schedule a convenient time for a joint visit, a good supplier will make it a priority to arrange their own inspection.
Each event is unique in its requirements, so there’s no generic full proof checklist for your site visit. Whilst you may cover the fundamental details, having a production expert on hand will ensure that any and all potential issues are identified and addressed effectively, giving you peace of mind that your event will run smoothly and achieve on your objectives.
The Presentation Group carries out full technical site inspections and establishes clear communication with all venues we work with. For more advice on technical considerations for your next event, contact one of our experienced Producers today.
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