How many times have you returned to your office after a site visit only to realize you still have unanswered questions? It can be frustrating to invest resources on a trip, particularly a long-distance one, only to realize you didn’t collect all of the information you need.
Roxanne Botha, a lead designer at event experience firm Orchestrate—whose client list includes American Bible Society, the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, CNN and Chick-fil-A—shares the mental checklist she uses for sites to ensure she covers all necessary ground (no pun intended).
Think through where your attendees’ and staff members’ vehicles can be parked (if they’ll be driving), and then walk the path they’ll use to get into the venue. What entrance should staff use? If they need to bring in bulky items via carts, what’s the best route? While you’re outside, ask about parking options for any trucks you’ll use to transport conference materials. Don’t forget to investigate options for buses if your event requires shuttles.
If the venue has security staff, learn where their checkpoints are and who your contact is for coordinating a credentialing process. From the attendee perspective, find out if there will be bag checks or metal detectors. Will there be security in any backstage parking lots?
Ask where your team can store empty boxes after you unload extra conference materials, supplies and merchandise. Will that area be secured? Will you have access to it at all hours?
Look for outlets and ask about Wi-Fi coverage so you can build your design plan accordingly. Share your power needs with the venue contact to make sure its breakers can support it all.
Where are the ADA entrances and seating? Do venue staff escort and assist attendees to those designated areas, or do you need to recruit and train volunteers to do so? Think through the event schedule and ensure any escalators will be going the direction you need. Venue staff can reverse them if you provide a schedule in advance.
Check with venue staff about fire, safety and legal regulations. Do you need any permits? Some venues don’t allow anything to be placed within a certain distance of doors. Where can you install or hang things on the wall, and are there restrictions on adhesive materials you can use? Also find out maximum occupancy.
What’s the plan for emptying trash, and whom can you call if a bin gets full? How often are the restrooms checked during the event?