From Monday 17th August, site visits will be taking place at the QEII Centre and, we talked to Chris Gaylard and Zsanett Sedro from the Sales team about why they are so important. Find out when you should book one as well as top tips and questions to get the most out of your visit.
Why book a site visit?
It is all about the feel of the venue and if you don’t go in person you won’t experience the atmosphere, the staff you will be working with or how the layout and facilities meet your needs. No matter how good something can look on a website or venue brochures and documents, you will only find the perfect fit when you see it for yourself.
Not only do you get a feel for the venue and its’ surroundings, but you can see the potential of the rooms, which can trigger new ideas for the event over the course of a site visit. You will also experience the hospitality and service that your audience will receive at the venue.
The site visit is an opportunity to meet the teams you will work with and helps to establish relationships that will be crucial to the success of your event. It is an opportunity to ask as many questions as you want, big or small, so you have all the information you need to make informed decisions.
Post covid-19, site visits will take on even more importance as the effectiveness of the safety measures will only truly be seen and felt when you step inside the venue. Additionally, capacities are limited due to physical distancing, so you will need to get an idea of what the room set ups are in person to understand which work best for your event.
If I can’t get to the venue for a site visit, what is the alternative?
Where possible, we would always recommend seeing a venue in person, however, we appreciate that in the current climate this is not always going to be possible. If you are unable to make it in person, then virtual tours are the next best thing as they give you a good idea of the spaces and other facilities available.
Most venues have their own tour and there are number of these displayed on the London & Partners website, where you can find them by clicking on https://conventionbureau.london/virtual-tours. The QEII Centre is listed here but you can also find our 360° tour at https://qeiicentre.london/spaces/360-virtual-tour/. To find out more we would recommend calling our Account Managers on +44 20 8078 5752 or email email@example.com for a real-time discussion on the specific event flow, potential of the event spaces and any practicalities. There are several case studies available with supporting visuals to help you imagine complex, more creative set-ups.
At what stage in the event production cycle should you book a site visit?
You should book a site visit when you are looking to source a venue. If you have several options, find the three that best match your requirements and budget and book a visit. At that stage, you can ascertain which venue will give you the best chance to maximise the success of your event.
With venues having implemented safety measures in the run up to reopening in October, we would recommend visiting venues in August and September when there won’t be any events.
How many site visits do you need per event?
This depends on the event timelines, but we would normally recommend two. The first visit would typically take place at the sourcing stage and the second would be a technical site visit with your event team during the planning stage.
To ensure you get the most out of your second visit, it is important to meet the whole team of onsite experts. As standard you should be accompanied by a representative from Sales, Event Management, AV, Catering and if required IT, so that you can understand how each aspect of the event will run and how the teams work together.
Dependent on the scale and complexity of the event more site visits may be necessary to make sure all the decision makers are confident with their choices e.g. AV, Catering etc.
Top tips for clients on a site visit?
- Share your main event objectives so the on-site teams can support you in achieving them
- Bring a colleague as they may have a different perspective
- Note down your thoughts on how the venue would work well for your event
- View as many spaces as you can within a venue. You might find a hidden gem that works better for your event as well as for any other events you manage
- Arrange to meet the onsite experts from each department (this is especially important for the planning site visit)
- Ask questions, the teams are keen to provide you with as much information as possible. All questions are valid and will help you with your decision making
- Read the venues Covid-19 policy before you attend to ensure you will be admitted to the venue. If you have any questions prior to attending, please ask your Account Manager
What questions should clients be asking on a site visit?
There are so many questions that you can potentially ask at a site visit that it would be difficult to list them all. So rather than providing specific questions, we suggest that you cover the following aspects on your site visit:
- Does the venue meet your key criteria for selecting a venue? If it does, find out more from the venue team on each of the aspects (e.g. AV, Catering, room capacities etc.)
- Find out how the venue has previously put on similar events to yours. Do they have any new and interesting ideas that would enhance your event?
- Ensure that you are aware of the facilities at the venue and that any technical requirements can be met (e.g. there is an increased demand for hybrid events at the moment)
- Understand the internal processes and who you will be working with at the various stages of the event
- By the time you leave the site visit, you want to be confident that you know the steps you need to take to secure the venue
How do you book a site visit at the QEII Centre?
It is quick and easy to book a site visit, please get in touch with our Account Managers on +44 20 8078 5752 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and they will arrange a date and time for you as well as answer any initial questions you may have.