Meeting and event planners have to handle a zillion details, but if there’s one aspect of the planning process that you simply cannot afford to overlook, it would be the site visit. When you’re checking out a potential venue for the first time, you want to make sure that you’re armed with all the right questions so that you can determine if the location will be a good fit for your event. Below are the top 10 questions that you’ll definitely need to ask during your next site visit.
- How much will electricity cost?
There’s no way around it – your event is going to need electricity, and you’re not going to get it without paying for it. Find out how much it’s going to cost for the venue to provide electrical power for your event, and be sure to consider every aspect of your event’s needs so that you won’t have any nasty surprises.
- Am I allowed to bring in my own vendors?
Quite a few venues have restrictions regarding which vendors can work in their building, which limits your selection to the list of vendors that they have approved. If there’s a particular vendor you know you’re going to need for your meeting, be sure to obtain the approval of the venue before moving forward.
- Is your venue unionized?
If the venue you’re working with requires union labor, you’ll be dealing with an entirely different cost structure. Make sure that you’re fully aware of those expenses before you commit to using the venue.
- What are the parking accommodations for attendees and vendors?
Many venues–especially in large cities–charge for parking, so you will need to know if the attendees/vendors will bear that cost, or if it’s something you can negotiate into the contract.
- What areas/rooms are included for back-of-house activity?
Most venues will provide you with certain areas or rooms in addition to the main meeting space for back-of-house activity, including storage areas. While this space is often included in the cost of the event, it’s always good to double-check just to be sure.
- What other on-site events will be taking place during the same time frame as my event?
If there’s one surefire way to ruin your meeting, it would be to have an excessively loud event taking place next door at the same time. If you see trouble ahead where this is concerned, ask to have your meeting moved to a more feasible room if possible.
- Do you have streaming Internet capability, and if so, how much will it cost?
If live streaming video via the Internet will be required for your meeting, be sure to ask the venue if they have the capability to support this technology, as well as how much it will cost. In addition, be sure to ask them what type of bandwidth speed and capacity they offer, because it will do you no good to have live streaming video if it freezes up every 30 seconds.
- Does your location require specific permits in order to host our meeting?
It’s not uncommon for venues to require certain permits (e.g., food, alcohol, pyrotechnics, etc.) in order for you to host your meeting at their location. Review the details of your meeting with the venue, and ask if any special permitting will be required. If so, ask if it’s something that you will need to take care of yourself, or if it can be done through the venue.
- What time frames will we have for load-in and load-out? Is there a cost?
The time window that you have for load-in and load-out will play a huge part in how smoothly your event will run. Get specific details from the venue regarding what time frames you’ll be working with, and make sure to find out if there are any additional costs associated with these provisions.
- What are your ceiling heights?
Ceiling height plays a huge part in the type of lighting, audio/video and staging you can expect to utilize for your meeting. Be sure that the room you choose has ceiling heights that can accommodate your setup.
Be sure to cover the questions listed above when you go on your next site visit. If you do, you’ll be able to determine if the venue you’re inspecting will be a good fit, or if you need to keep on looking.
If you are interested in a site visit with Meet Chicago Northwest, please give us a call at 847-490-1010. Or if you are wondering what a CVB can offer you besides a site visit, learn more about our services.