“It can be a lot like online dating though. There are so many things to keep in mind, to be on the lookout for and to be aware of”.

You’re sitting at your computer, checking out photos, reviewing the Q&A and that feeling starts. The anticipation and excitement … butterflies in your stomach. This could be the one. And finally the day comes to meet in-person. Will it be a match? Love at first site?

No, I’m not talking about online dating.

I’m talking about the ins and outs (and ups and downs) of finding the perfect venue to host your event.

It can be a lot like online dating though. There are so many things to keep in mind, to be on the lookout for and to be aware of.

My top 3 tips for finding the perfect venue:

1. It all starts with a checklist and a comprehensive RFP.

Who is attending the event? How many people? What does the event schedule look like? What are the special requirements? What are the budget limitations? Where have you held the event in the past? The more info you communicate to prospective venues upfront the easier it is for both you and the venue to determine if there is a match (and whether it even makes sense to meet in person … or do a site inspection I mean).

2. Include the right people.

Tip #2 to ensure a productive site visit is making sure the right people are part of the date (I mean tour). I like to bring my AV consultant along for the ride because he will often point out things I miss that will affect the AV set-up. Since this is usually a huge part of the event, I don’t like leaving event technology to chance. You may also want to bring along your client/boss to be a second pair of eyes. This will also give them a better understanding of the event when you move to the planning phase. You should also make sure that the right people from the venue are there to answer questions. Time and again I have been promised the moon by the venue sales team, only to find out after the contract is signed and the event is locked in and passed over to the in-house planning team that my special requirements aren’t possible.

And last but not least…

3. Take Photos & Videos.

Photos and videos (your own) will help to remind you what the venue looks like. Plus, it never hurts to have them on hand to show to anyone who wasn’t there in-person with you (i.e. your best friend who is sitting at home desperately waiting for your text message reporting in on whether or not your date actually looks like his photos online). Ooops! I’m getting confused with dating again. What I meant to say is that venue contracts are usually signed a year or more in advance, so these photos will definitely come in handy to refresh your memory when it comes time to plan the event.

Is it love at first site? Yes? No? On the fence?

That’s okay. Sometimes a second date (errr … I mean a second site visit) is required.

PS – For more on site visits and finding the perfect venue for your event, check out Volume II of my Event Planning Survival Guide.

PPS – My AV consultant is single. Check out his profile online (professional profile … on our website of course!)