Choosing the right event venue is vital to the success of your event. It is the backbone of your entire event, affecting the layout, theme and more. In order to make sure you are choosing the space that fits your event best, you need to see your options before you make a final decision.
Why You Need To Visit A Site Before Signing A Contract
When choosing your event venue, you can’t rely on photos alone. Of course, you can use photos to narrow down your search to a top few venues that you’d like to visit in person, but it isn’t practical to visit every potential venue.
According to eHotelier, one survey “showed that the average event planning professional plans 37 events per year, requiring 45 site visits annually. Planners said they are not familiar with the proposed event space a majority of the time, stating that 56% of planned events will require a site visit.”
First impressions have been proven to be important—especially those of your guests as they arrive at your event—so visiting a venue before you sign a contract will help you guarantee you are giving guests the right experience. It is always best to check and double check potential venues to make sure you are getting everything that is advertised, from ambiance to location and more.
Before you visit a potential venue, you should prepare so it is as efficient as possible. Modern Media suggests having both an agenda and materials prepared so you have everything you need to make a decision quickly and with confidence.
Top Questions To Ask When Touring A Space
It is easy to overlook a few things when choosing a space, so in order to help you make the most of your time during a site visit, we have put together some questions you’ll want to ask the venue staff or coordinator. Asking these may even help you get some new, creative ideas for your event, shares Cuckoo Events.
Here are some questions you’ll want to ask:
- Do you have preferred vendors or can we use our own? If you have to use a specific vendor—such as caterer—it could dramatically impact your budget.
- What can we coordinate with you on directly to cut out the need for a third party? Do you have items offered in-house such as linens, tables, etc. that we can use? This could save you time on event day and will, once again, could help with your budget (especially if you are viewing a hotel that already has tables available).
- When can we begin set-up and what is the latest we need to have everything broken down post-event? Is there somewhere to store boxes, etc. during the event? You will need to know how much time you will have on event day and when your team needs to be ready, and what the financial penalty is if that timetable isn’t met. The more elaborate the event, the more time you will want. As for storage, you need to know if there is space available so that you aren’t left with unsightly boxes that out in the open of your event.
- Are there any permits required to use your space? You won’t want to show up on event day missing vital pieces. In Austin, it is important to know if there are issues getting permits due to time constraints or zoning. For example during SXSW, permits need to be obtained in January due to city requirements.
- Is there wifi, how many power outlets are in the space, etc.? Are there any additional fees associated? In this era this is important, especially if you are having speakers that need power to for presentations or if you are having live entertainment that has needs, as well; you need to know how much power the venue can handle if you’re doing a lot with audio visuals. Wifi is usually expected at corporate events—not necessarily weddings—and it is good to know if there are passwords or fees associated with attendees using it.
- What parking options are available? Can we coordinate that with you or the city? Depending on how many guests you are expecting and the location, parking is an important issue. Should it be downtown or in a space with limited spots, it is good to know if you can work with the city to reserve a parking garage just for your guests.
- What facilities are available to guests and are there proper accommodations for any guests with special needs? Depending on the venue, some may not have bathrooms available, which is definitely something you will want to know beforehand. You’ll need to be prepared with porta potties and any other accommodations you need to make for your guests.
- Should we know anything about other events happening at the venue or any surrounding spaces? For example, you’ll want to know it there is a club next door that often holds live shows that could disrupt your event. Or if there is another wedding going on at the same time. It is good to eliminate the chance for any surprises on event day.
- Are there any restrictions we need to know about? Decoration, glitter, pinning things to walls, changing the layout, etc.? The answer to this question could impact the entire design and layout of your event. You definitely don’t want to spend money on decorations only to find out you can’t use them and that your event is going to look completely different than what was agreed upon or is expected.
Before you go on a site visit, you need to narrow down your options. You can use Spacesift for your initial research and build your list of venues you decide to visit in-person. That’s why we have information and photos of every space—so you can narrow down your choices based on your needs and then make an informed decision on what venues you should take the time to visit.