Event planning help: what to ask on a venue site inspection

You’ve found the perfect venue. The proposal has been sent, and the budget finalised. And now it’s time for the all-important venue site inspection.

A venue site inspection is a great opportunity for you to immerse yourself in your chosen space, and really visualise your event. But within those 20 minutes, you have a lot of ground to cover. More ground than you may realise. You don’t want to be sitting back at your desk an hour later and have that ‘damnit’ moment of forgotten questions popping into your head. And sometimes these unasked questions could have saved you some precious dollars.

Luckily, Venuemob’s illustrious team of corporate business development managers know exactly what to ask the venue. And by following these questions, you can cut the amount of follow-up back and forth with the venue prior to your event.

Ask about…parking

It may seem basic, but ease of parking can make a noticeable impact on your event. Say there’s only limited two hour street parking nearby, and this wasn’t communicated to guests properly. Chances are, your guests will arrive late, stressed and have to duck out mid-way through your event to move their car.

If your event is family-friendly, this parking equation gains even more significance.

Check with the venue if they have any special deals or arrangements with neighbouring parking stations. The easier it is for your guests to get to the venue, the more likely they are to attend.

Verandah Restaurant and Wine Bar
Ensure your chosen space will fit all your guest comfortably.

Ask about…the capacity of the space

Make sure you cover both maximum and minimum capacity of your chosen space or venue. While you may know what the maximum capacity is, what does that actually feel like? Is that a comfortable capacity? Or a bums-to-the-wall, sardines-in-a-can type capacity? If you’re hosting a particular event where ease of movement is imperative, such as a product showcase or launch, you don’t want guests bunching and shuffling past one another. It’s annoying, and that’s going to limit your product’s visibility.

Likewise, with every event, there’s going to be a margin of people who don’t show up. It’s inevitable. You don’t want your attending guests to feel like they’re swimming in empty space. And all that unoccupied space doesn’t look great in photos. Ask what is the minimum number of people required to make the space feel comfortable.

Even if you’re working with the most creative, seasoned event planning professionals – walls are walls. The size of the space cannot magically shrink or grow.

Don’t forget: if you’re planning on utilising a pre-function area, check on the size of that space too!

venue site inspection
Food glorious food – ensure you cater to all guests.

Ask about…dietaries

Gluten-free, lactose-free, vegan-friendly, vegetarian, paleo…the list goes on. Dietary requirements are now a very common feature in commercial kitchens. And as they become relatively commonplace, kitchens are getting more creative with their special menus. But – don’t presume that this venue is a dietary haven. Ask the venue specifically how they cater for these special requirements. Do they have an example of a previous menu? Inadvertently ostracising guests who have special dietary concerns isn’t a great look.

Being hangry is a real thing. You don’t want any guests to leave an event starving because all they’ve eaten is three pesto-stuffed button mushrooms. Make sure the special menu is substantial and interesting enough to tempt even those without dietaries.

Ask about…AV

Smooth-running, great AV can absolutely make (or break) an event. Say your event involves a number of guest speakers. If the AV is not operating at a decent level, your back row audience isn’t going to hear a word and will just start chatting amongst themselves. Cue the all-too-frequent awkward moment of the guest speaker competing with their audience.

Most venues will have their own in-house AV equipment. They will know their system back to front. Explain what your event entails, and ask the venue what they recommend to accommodate your vision, and if they have any images of previous setups.

If you’re bringing in your own AV, be sure to ask how the space can fit the equipment comfortably and safely.

Don’t forget: ask about rigging points, and how many power points there are. And if there are enough of each!

Ask about…the proposal

If you haven’t received a proposal, or even if you have and it’s a bit thin, ask for a comprehensive, all-inclusive proposal. If it’s easy to read, with a clear break down of pricing, especially AV, this will massively help with your allocation of budget. Segmented proposals including pricing also allow for the possible elimination of items. Sometimes venues make an assumption of what the client may want, and will automatically include those additions without checking. But perhaps you’re not interested in dessert canapés? Itemised proposals allow for careful scrutinisation over what you’re getting, and how much it’s going to cost.

If you’re a bit shy about asking for alterations and reductions, just remember – it doesn’t hurt to ask. The venue is trying to win your business, so ask away.

Ask about…locking in your date

You’ve asked all the right questions. The venue site inspection is coming to a close and you love the space and can really envisage holding your event there. So, what comes next? Time to lock it in, Eddie. Let the venue know that you’re really keen and serious about the space. You may even be able to place a tentative hold on the date while you get those final approvals from higher up.

Venues, particularly CBD venues, are in high demand. And if you’re looking to book during key months, such as the busy Christmas period, the competition is tighter still. The venue is likely to take a few business days to send you a contract. Contracts are often dated with a two-week decision timeline. This date is negotiable, but not indefinite. If you don’t confirm your interest quickly, you run the risk of losing your perfect venue. And it’s incredibly exhausting finding your ideal venue, attending a venue site inspection, only for the venue to be booked out from under you, and you have to start the whole process again.

By asking these key questions at a venue site inspection, you can ensure all bases are covered – mitigating the amount of potential roadblocks that may pop up.

Still looking for the perfect venue? Venuemob can help >>

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