What to Bring On Your Next Site Visit
Site visits are an essential part of planning your event - unfortunately, they are not always the most economical trips to convince your boss to let you take. I try to make the most out of work trips by cramming as many hotel and venue site visits as I can into my schedule while I’m in a city. (Pro tip: if your event reoccurs in a specific city each year, or if you know you do a lot of events in a specific city, spend a day after your event looking at different and possible venues! You’ll be saving money, time, and getting a jump on your next event!) There is definitely an art to scheduling and seeing multiple places within a day - and staying on time for all your appointments is usually half of the battle! Here is what I bring to get the most out of each site visit and ensure I’m maximizing my time at each venue.
Your Phone (Obviously)
Your phone serves many purposes during a site visit - it’s your camera, your video recorder, and your digital notebook all in one. Since you are savvy and are doing site visits so far in advance, photos and videos are extremely important. I personally prefer videos to capture more of the venue’s look and feel. Be sure to know what you are taking videos/pictures of - there have been times when I’ve looked back and not known which room I was documenting!
Also, take notes! As you talk to your venue contact there could be details or questions that come up that you’ll want to remember or follow up on either with a vendor, or someone at your company - always write everything down to reference when you need to.
A List Of Questions For The Venue
Do your research before your site visit and have a list of questions to ask the venue. You will have your venue contacts undivided attention during this time - much easier than waiting for them to email you back. I try to have some venue specific questions, but also ask questions about your event, if you know you have vendors you want to bring in ask now (especially if you haven’t signed a contract yet - this is the best time to start negotiating down those extra fees)
If you have vendors that you typically use, and you know will be involved in your event (such as an outside AV vendor or a production company) I encourage you to invite them on at least one or two of your site visits, if schedules allow. Vendors usually ask the questions we don’t know enough to ask and if they need to take measurements or discuss setups they’ll be able to do it while they are there. Personally, as a planner, I like to know the kinds of things my vendors are asking my contact and keep an eye on if they are asking for anything that will affect my overall budget. It’s also good to have everyone together to brainstorm or visualize the space in different and creative ways. It’s a team effort - just make sure to let your venue contact know they are coming!
A Good Pair of Shoes
I’m usually running around from venue to venue, so a comfortable pair of shoes is key! Or if I decide to wear fancier shoes, I pack an extra pair of comfortable shoes in my bag just in case. I try to avoid being in pain all day or having to go back to the hotel to switch out shoes!
Remember when I said scheduling venue site visits all day is an art? While sometimes you may get a lunch meeting out of the deal, other times the day could get away from you and food will become an afterthought. I always carry a couple of granola bars, nuts, or chips that I can snack on in-between visits or in a cab ride from one venue to the next. Don’t forget a bottle of water also, hydration is important!
Author: Rachel Mazzola