Wedding, conference, birthday party, product launch; whatever the occasion, the venue is pretty important. You know what you're looking for, you think you've found the perfect space and have scheduled a time to go and see it.
Now, this is the time to let your head make the decisions. It might be the most beautiful venue you've ever seen BUT it might not actually fit your purpose, which is where a site visit comes in.
Site visits are the perfect opportunity to get all the answers to your questions and help you to make a final decision, so make sure you take some time to prepare before you go, it'll be worth it.
Luckily we love to help and we've put together a handy checklist so you'll have everything you need to secure the perfect venue.
Nearest transport links and parking
Take note of how easy it is to get to the venue; how long is the walk from the tube? Will your guests need a taxi from the nearest train station? Is there parking? Getting your guests to the door in a stress-free state will help to kick off your event the right way.
Entrances/Exits and accessibility
You want your guests to be taken on a 'journey' through your event, so organise the space with a clear idea of where the entrances and exits are located so as not to interrupt the flow. Also make sure your venue is accessible for all your guests, check for disabled access and lifts are a must.
Don't forget to consider loading access and parking specifically for your event suppliers checking access times and height restrictions.
Will you require a registration/welcome desk? Check to see where this could be located and consider your attendee journey to make it a seamless experience.
Kitchen location and catering service points
This will affect the 'flow' of your event as well, so again it's useful to picture how the space will be used and whether the bar and kitchen are in sensible and suitable locations.
Check the location of the cloakroom and assess whether you might need multiple, then work out the best way to use these to avoid queues and frustration.
How many times have you judged a restaurant or venue by the bathrooms? Yup, everyone does it, so make sure you check them out to make sure they're up to scratch - no one likes a disappointing loo.
Meet the on-site venue team
Find out who will be looking after you on the day/night of the event and the best way to keep in contact beforehand; communication is key.
AV inclusions and restrictions
Does the venue have all the audio-visual equipment you need or will you need to bring your own? Also check if there are any sound restrictions that will be relevant to your event.
These days it's often assumed that fast Wi-Fi is a given. A good piece of advice is to assume nothing. Always double check, especially if your event is dependent on a super-quick internet connection. Even if it's not, your guests are likely to want to stay connected.
Check which suppliers the venue already works with, they may have a 'preferred list'. On the other hand, the venue may require you to bring in your own catering, or this might be an option you want to go for, so ask if they have a 'dry-hire' rate.
If your venue is equipped for more than one event at the same time, then it might be the case that there will be some going on simultaneously with yours. Think about how this will affect your event and make allowances.
Depending on the scale of the event, you will need to allow enough time for setup and breakdown. Make sure to check the earliest access times and latest breakdown available for the venue. If you (or any of your suppliers) will be picking up your items the next day, check to see if you have a secure location to store overnight.
Deposit or hidden costs
Make sure you're on the same page with costs as the venue. You don't want to blow your budget at a later date because there were add-on costs you hadn't factored in.
Outdoor Space/Smoking areas
Find out about any outdoor areas included in the venue hire and smoking areas for your attendees. Consider how far these areas are from the main space and if there is sufficient signage.
Will some of your attendees be travelling for the event? Give consideration to the accommodation available at the venue or nearby, the number of rooms available/required and what kind of rates you may be able to negotiate for group bookings.