Most everyone who is a meeting or event planner has or should have a basic site inspection checklist. If you don’t, there are several excellent basic lists on various professional publication websites and on our professional associations.
If you like, I can send you a list of where to find them.
However, I want to add a few other things to look for and to ask about.
1- The venue has Wi-Fi, but are you planning on using a polling method that is smartphone based? Then you need a lot of bandwidth. You don’t want most of your audience upset because they can’t get a signal and respond.
2- The venue has Wi-Fi, and you intend to webcast your opening session. Wi-Fi is not the best way to connect to have a flawless broadcast. Your webcast team must connect with Ethernet so you have a good connection. Plus you must ask for the venue’s upload speed. They’ll always tell you how great the download speed is, but your webcast is being uploaded and sent out. The right amount of bandwidth is imperative.
3- Will your attendees be texting or tweeting as part of the program? More Wi-Fi bandwidth requirements are required if attendees will be tweeting or texting during presentations.
If you’re not sure about how much bandwidth you need, ask the vendor partner supplying the technology .
Yes, Wi-Fi has a fee for use in most venues. There are many issues regarding that, but if you discuss this at the very beginning of venue discussions, you should be able to get a more favorable cost. I’m not saying that Wi-Fi will be free, but you could be offered some savings. Unfortunately there may always be a fee for this, just as there’s a fee for additional electric drops. But like anything else, if you’re upfront with the requests, you should receive a more favorable price.
Something that I didn’t include on my list or do I ever see on anyone’s list is that the planner on the site visit should come prepared and that includes having knowledge of what your conference needs will be. Clearly things can change, but it’s best if you don’t overlook anything.
We’re happy to answer questions about any of the checklist items.