A thorough venue site visit is key to the success of your conference. In this post we’re sharing the first of our top tips for conducting site visits that will help you produce a successful event for all stakeholders. In this post we are covering accessibility, power and rigging. Our next post will address Wi-Fi, Safety and Security, Staffing and more.
Is your venue easily accessible by car or public transit? How about the frequency and cost of airline transport into the destination? How far is the venue from the nearest airport, and are their options to easily get from the airport to the venue? If many people arrive by car, is there ample parking at or near the venue. Is that parking free or is there a fee? If most guest valet park, is there enough valet parking staff to support your arrival and departure traffic?
Accessibility also means the ease of access for people with disabilities to all parts of your event. Does the venue offer easy ways for people to get around, without obstacles safely?
Accessibility should also be reviewed for load in. If you are bringing in exhibitors or staging, can you easily load all of the materials into the venue? Are the loading doors big enough, and the hallways wide enough? If elevators are needed, are they big enough, and can they carry the weight? When bringing in heavy equipment, one also needs to check the weight the ballroom floor can safely carry, especially for ballrooms not located at ground level. Make sure you also check the ceiling height at its lowest point.
Is there enough power, and if not, how do you get it? Where are the hook ups? Does the venue have ample outlets in the areas you need them? If generators are needed, is there a place to park them? How far away are they? Does the venue have emergency power in the case of a failure?
Many venues have become very creative with additional charges related to power. Planners must be aware that charges related to power can become excessive and should be negotiated as part of the contract process.
Many events require lighting, sound, décor and other items to be suspended. As part of the site visit it is important that you learn where the rigging points are, how much they can bare and location of power in relation to the points. Will there be enough space between the lowest point of the suspended items and the audience, stage, etc.?
Look for our next Venue Site Visit post for detailed questions about Wi-Fi, Safety and Security, Staffing and more.