Before you book any venue, it is highly recommended that you arrange a site visit first. It’s essential to experience first-hand the atmosphere of the venue, its location and surroundings, the journey to get there, as well as the facilities and service provided. Once you’re completely satisfied that the real thing matches up to on-screen promises and really delivers what your event needs, you’re ready to go ahead and make a firm booking.
Carrying out a site visit can be a daunting prospect if you’re not sure what exactly to look for or what to ask the on-site events team. At Function Fixers, we have a team of professional venue finders who will not only help you find the perfect corporate venue, we can help with making all the arrangements. Why not give us a call on 020 7186 8686 and find out how we can help with your upcoming event plans?
When it comes to site visits, here are our 4 top tips for what you should be looking for when you view a shortlisted venue.
You know what they say: proper preparation prevents poor performance. Before you visit your chosen venue, collect all the relevant details you have so far such as floor plans, room configurations and prices. Have a firm vision in mind of how the event will unfold and proceed through the space.
Make sure that all the right people attend the meeting. This includes your company’s final decision maker / budget holder and any suppliers (caterers, florists, entertainers etc) that you are directly instructing and who need to see the venue for themselves. Tell the events team at the venue who you are bringing so that they too can prepare.
Write a detailed agenda for the meeting so that all the various items and specifics you want to discuss, view and experience will be dealt with. Prepare a list of important questions to ask and refer back to your list periodically. It’s easy to get distracted by the flow of the site visit as you gather additional information, so make sure you come away with no query having been missed.
Logistics are key to the success of your event, so put yourself in your delegates’ shoes and try to experience the event location as if you were one of them. Travel the most likely route your guests are going to take. How easy is it to find the venue? Is it well signposted? Find out about available transport options – how far is the nearest train station? Is there a bus or taxis? What about on-site parking or public parking nearby? The convenience (or otherwise) of getting to the venue should be a key decision making factor for you.
Once you’ve arrived, take a general look around the venue and its surroundings. Are you in the middle of town with plenty of local amenities nearby, or in a remote rural area where birdsong is the only noise? Is the venue more of a social or business space? Take a look at the other guests to get a feel for the ‘vibe’ of the place and make an assessment of how this fits with the ambience required for your event.
The key part of your site visit is to be shown around the meeting room(s) and spaces that your event will take place in. You need to get a clear idea of room capacities in various configurations, and the size and set-up of the presentation area. Check that the ceiling height is suitable, that natural daylight can be blocked out if required, the location of power sockets, and that there is secure storage for your delegates’ coats, bags and valuables.
If possible, test the furniture that will be used at your event, both for comfort and aesthetics, and make sure there are enough chairs/tables for the number of attendees you’re expecting. Is it possible to add side tables, or a buffet for refreshments, some easy chairs or soft furnishings?
It’s a good idea to ask to be shown all the event spaces at the venue, not just the ones you are interested in. What if your event requirements or number of guests suddenly change, necessitating additional or alternative rooms? You’ll be glad that you don’t have to come for another visit!
During the site visit, there’ll be a wealth of information exchanged. In between all the talking it’ll be impossible to remember every little visual detail as well, no matter how closely you listen, keep your eyes open and take notes. Our tip: take lots of photos.
Pictures jog the memory and will give you something to refer back to when you’re back in the office planning your event. It’s a good idea to take photos of every event space as well as communal areas – you never know when the information will come in handy.