Ask an Event Planner... What do I ask at a Venue Site Inspection?

You’ve got the date, budget and guest list approved, you’ve scoured the internet for the perfect venue, and it’s finally time to put a place to a name, and iron out all those little kinks in your plan with the site inspection. But with so much to think about and only 20 minutes to ask all your questions, it can feel a little overwhelming. We’ve carried out heaps of site inspections here at the Royal Exchange and these are the questions you need to ask in order to limit that email thread, paint a realistic picture of the event  in your mind and potentially save some precious dollars.


What is the capacity of the space?

You may already know the standard maximum capacity as stated on the venue’s website, but you need to suss out whether that’s a comfortable number or a packed-like-sardines kinda number. Depending on the purpose of the event, ease of movement could be imperative, such as for a product launch, where you want said product to be visible at all times, not hidden behind crowds of people, or a conference, where you need enough space for everyone to be seated. You also need to check what the minimum capacity would be in allowing the space not to feel too empty, should - as is inevitable - not everyone on your guest list show up.


What options are there for those who have dietary requirements?

Excluding guests because of their allergies or dietary requirements is not a good look, they are people, and they need sustenance too! As dietary requirements are becoming more commonplace, so too are the kitchen’s creative ways to get around them, but don’t just assume that every venue is up to scratch on catering to everyone’s needs. Ask for examples of previous menus to ensure the options with * or ** by them are substantial enough to satiate even those without dietaries.


Do you supply in-house AV equipment?

Most venues will supply and set up AV equipment so you have one thing less to worry about, but make sure you explain your vision of the set up for them so the venue team can ensure it will work with the space, the rigging points and the power sockets.


Could you send an itemised proposal?

A clear break down of the pricing of the event, including room set up, AV set up, food, drinks, service charge and any extras will be a huge help in the allocation of your budget, as well as potentially saving you some dollars on any unwanted items.


May I put a hold on this date?

If, post site-inspection, the venue seems a perfect fit, it’s time to lock in the date. Express your interest and ask if you can put a tentative hold down while your waiting for those final approvals. It can take a few business days for a finalised contract to be sent through, and these tend to have a two week decision deadline. However, CBD venues are in high demand, especially for corporate functions, so if you don’t sign and return fast, you risk having all that work whipped out from underneath you and having to start the venuesearch all over again, so don’t leave them hanging! As soon as that final dotted line is signed, it’s time to lock in the deal.


What’s the deal with parking around here?

Something you don’t always think of when you’re already in the venue, but before anyone can get in, they have to get there, and making sure you give your guests clear directions and ease of parking can make a noticeable impact. Find out what restrictions there are on nearby roads, whether the venue has it’s own parking garage or if there is a lot nearby the venue has a deal with for convenience.



Check out the Royal Exchange of Sydney, one of the CBD 's leading event spaces, available to hire  for corporateand social functions. Contact them at for more information.

Kiran Bains