The importance of a site inspection

Blog | Onsite Event Management, Site Inspections

We are encouraged to see many of our clients starting to plan their face-to-face events again after what seems like a very long time working in the online world. So with this in mind, let’s take an in-depth look at one of the key areas to consider – the site inspection!

These come fairly early on in the planning timeline. Once you have firmed up the brief and have a shortlist of venues you need to get out and see them. This is so important to ensure they meet your requirements and the flow of space will work for your delegate journey. 

Either way, you need to find out whether what looks perfect on paper lives up to reality!

Plan your visit

As with any of the key milestones in event management, planning and preparation is critical!

For each and every site inspection we do we always put together an agenda for each venue visit covering areas such as:

  • Who is attending from the client and the venue(s)
  • Directions and travel time to and between the venue(s)
  • Brief overview of the event format and attendee numbers
  • What spaces are on hold and their capacities

We then pull together our site inspection form to use as a reference when at the venue, for example:

  • Travel to the venue – public transport, car parking, ease to find
  • The venue – look and feel, staff impression, cleanliness
  • Meeting spaces – capacities, flow of the meeting rooms on offer, set up, AV, Wi-Fi, natural daylight
  • Accessibility – step-free access, proximity of hire spaces, facilities
  • Sustainability – recycling bins, plastics, policies
  • Health and safety – fire alarm tests, Covid procedures and first aid to name a few

When planning your travel make sure to factor in delays – the last thing you want is to be stressed and flushed meeting your client!

During the visit

  • Build a rapport with the venue team. If you select their venue, you will be working with them for a number of months
  • Make sure you see all the spaces you have on hold
  • Look at everything from an attendee’s perspective not just an event manager’s perspective
  • Does the venue feel right for the event? This gut reaction can be the deciding factor when two venues are tied
  • Do the numbers – are the capacity charts accurate or a bit ‘tight’: make sure your group can fit in the space in the style required
  • Check the nitty gritty while you are there, its the small details that count, be aware and ask questions!
  • Talk to your client and get their feedback
  • Write everything down!

After the visit

As soon as you can after the site inspection make sure you write up your notes and follow up any actions. You can then update the client with a full picture of information to help them decide on which venue is the most suitable.

Inevitably you will see venues that you don’t end up using for that particular event. By having a written record about all venues visited you will be able to refer back to it another time – for example another venue find with another client!

All site inspections add to an event manager’s venue knowledge and should not be seen as a waste of time if you proceed elsewhere.

This article is mainly geared towards venue site inspections. If you are doing an overseas inspection you will likely be looking at multiple hotels, restaurants and activities, however the principles are the same.

If you would like any more advice or tips before your next site inspection, then please do get in touch.

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Paola Davis

Senior Project Manager
Author Bio:
I have been working in the events industry for the past 15 years in various guises. In-house corporate and non-profit, freelancer and co-founding an events trade show. Working with ZiaBia gives me a fantastic opportunity to bring all this experience together.

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