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5 Things to Ask During a Site & Venue Visit

by Shannon Semler
Man and Woman Talking

As part of our production process we participate in numerous site visits for our clients’ events. Yet – venues still manage to throw us curve balls!  To minimize the surprises, here’s a few things to ask when on a site visit:  

1. Are you remodeling any of the space?

Even when working in the same venue for multiple years, a remodel can throw some dingers at you. You may now be required to protect the floors during move-in, pay for cleaning after you leave, or the space may not quite be the same as you remember.  Some of our favorites: A Las Vegas venue altered the rigging points, but the CAD file was not updated.  Surprise! On-site the scenic & lighting had to be adjusted by five feet.  A hotel in Washington, DC built a brand-new wall in their grand ballroom where a balcony used to be. No more ground-supported projectors for us!  A Maryland convention center changed out all the wall power outlets. Now the venue requires power drops in the meeting spaces.

2. Do you require Union Labor?

Not all union rules & regulations are the same. Some variances include double time before 8am or after 5pm, “shadow” positions require someone literally just sit behind your teleprompter operator or other lead technicians to watch them do their job, some meal breaks start at 4 hours while others may start at 5 hours. Find out the specifics of each venue so you and your budget won’t be caught off guard at the end of the show. 

3. Will we have this space to ourselves?

This is important to know for two reasons – people moving and signage. If the entrance that makes the most sense for your attendees would have them walking through someone else’s registration space, you may want to look for alternatives. Similarly, sharing space could greatly reduce the amount of places you are able to brand for your event – like escalator clings or digital signs – and greatly increase the amount of printed signage you need to direct your attendees to your event space.

4. What are rules of use for the loading dock?

While you may not personally be handling dock logistics for your show, it’s important info to know and share with your general service contractor, decorator, AV provider or other external service providers for your show. Common concerns include restrictions to truck size often due to a difficult turn or street access. Some docks require marshaling which could cause time delays with your vendors if they have to get in line behind the venue’s scheduled deliveries. Our favorite is the noise ordinance. If the hotel is in a residential area, there may be time restrictions on when your trucks can arrive, changing your 6am load-in to 8am.

5. What am I not asking, that people seem surprised to find out when working in this venue?

Always ask this question on your way out the door. This is when you’ll hopefully hear the deep, dark secrets venues tip-toe around. One venue chose this time to inform us that the escalator in the exhibit hall only goes in one direction. Another revealed the cost of Wi-Fi would double if the client chose to use an external AV provider. And our favorite surprise? The client would have to pay the venue a percentage of revenue made from sponsorships for any sponsor signs displayed in public spaces. 

While there are a myriad of other questions to ask while reviewing a space, these should set you up for success and eliminate most of the key surprises on load-in day! 

LOOKING FOR THE PERFECT VENUE FOR YOUR EVENT?

If you are in the process of venue sourcing for your next live show or event and are interested in working with a great live event production partner, we would love to learn more about your specific program and help you to find the perfect venue for your next event.

Are you interested in hearing how we can help you plan your next event. Are you interested in learning more about the benefits of partnering with a live production management company like LAI LIVE or ready to start working with an event production company to enhance your next event? 

Get in touch with our team today!

To contact our team immediately, you can also fill out the form below, call 202-783-0300, email us, or live chat with a member of the team right now.

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