6 Tips For Effective Event Venue Site Visits - Part 1

February 20, 2017

If you're planning an important event, you need to ensure the logistics of a venue match what you want to achieve with your event.

In part one of a two-part blog post, here's our first six tips to a successful venue site visit:

Vendor access
This can make or break your event.

If it's a festival, market or expo - or a corporate luncheon for that matter - you need a venue that provides decent space (and time) for trucks to pull up and unload and afterwards, reload hire furniture, catering, lighting, products, props, staging and more.

Do vendors or suppliers have to arrive on a pre-set schedule? How big is the driveway? Can several vehicles fit on at the same time? Can the trucks be kept on-site (and out of view)? Are there parking restrictions? Do they have hoists for heavy equipment? Will you need assistance at the loading dock if they have one?

Guest parking
Is parking rare as hens' teeth? Guests will grumble if they park in the street and get a parking fine. Is public transport frequent and close by? Are there any allocated guest parking spots? Is there a drop-off area in front of the venue doors for those in wheelchairs or who cannot walk far?

What is the surface of the ground surrounding the venue: tarmac/asphalt, grass, pebbles, sand, decking or concrete? All of these surfaces behave differently in the rain, and provide different levels of sturdiness and slipperiness for frail or very young guests. 

Will you need more rubbish bins? Is recycling mandatory? Do they ban glass bottles? Are the dumpster bins out of hearing as well as out of sight?

A simple two-plug socket won't cut it for an elaborate event as so many suppliers will need electrical outlets! Do they have back-up generators? Do you have to supply your own extension cords? If you're installing lighting, for example, where are the nearest sockets? You don't want metres of ugly extension cord ruining your event decor.

Does the shape of the transformer boxes fit on the actual socket?

This happened to me at Stones of the Yarra Valley. Its Barn features two long rows of vertical wooden columns running down the centre of the dining room. Unfortunately its electrical sockets are snugly positioned just above the horizontal wooden joists, which blocked the long rectangular transformer boxes from plugging in, so I had to use extension cords.

What is the state of the bathroom on your visit? Overflowing bins, grotty floors and graffiti on the walls on a site visit should be enough to make you eliminate that venue from your list of possibilities. If it's an outdoor event, do you need to hire extra bathrooms?

What is your makeup of guests? The ratio of bathrooms for women to men should ideally be 5:2 at events and function venues to ensure a faster process. How many bathroom stalls does it have? Who is responsible for keeping them clean? If your guests will be bringing babies and very young children, is there a changing table or a family-friendly bathroom?

You should get an idea of the atmosphere a venue has from your very first site visit. Does it buzz or feel dead? What is the ambience? Are the staff who are not accompanying you on your site visit pleasant and helpful? Would you willingly visit the venue if you were not considering booking it?

Find out six more tips on effective event venue site visits in part 2 of our blog post.