Field Inspection, or Things to Check Before Booking a Conference Venue

The place of a conference, workshop, gala, or training is probably one of the most important aspects of organizing an event. It’s worth spending some time on. It is obvious to anyone who has experienced a gap between expectations and reality.

Field Inspection, or Things to Check Before Booking a Conference Venue

It is true that other issues, such as the theme, speakers, activities, and promotion, are of utmost importance as well. However, underestimating the impact of the venue can jeopardize the project and weeks of your hard work will be in vain. Let alone the budget…

Then how to pick the right space to house, let’s say a conference? What should you check? How to speak to the venue owner or manager?


The choice of the venue is largely dependent on the budget you have at your disposal. When you know the range you’re dealing with, you can start hunting for the venue. Whether you’re looking for a workshop room for 12 people for $100 top, or conference space for 400 people and a budget of $1600, you should know that these places are not that different in the organizational sense.

Questions to start with:

Once you have the concept and it’s in line with the budget, you can proceed with the field inspection.

The Field Inspection

You wouldn’t buy an apartment based on 5 pictures from the listing, would you? Then why some event organizers decide to book a conference room based on criteria like: price, downtown location, and 100 people capacity? Can you see how absurd it is? And when you arrive on the show day, it turns out that the stage is missing after all as it has been moved to another room, booked for another event, and at the same time your room looks a little cramped (it didn’t look that way in the pictures...).

The field inspection, carried out as a ‘trust and control’ precaution, is meant to prevent such shake ups, disappointments, and stress.

Things to look at on the field inspection:

Details that matter

What’s next? Imagine that your perfect conference room is located in the very center of the city. Your guests arrive at 9 but the hotel parking lot is tiny and filled to the brim. The guests start searching for other parking lots close by (which are also full at that time). And they have to pay for most of them and the wallet's angrily short of change for the parking meter... Women in high heels are forced to go 50 meters over uneven pavement to get to the hotel. Half of people are late, a good part of them having elevated cortisol levels before even reaching the venue. The entire situation caused chaos and you have nine missed calls from attendees who just wanted to park their cars. Neat, isn’t it? It’s one of trivial, but at the same time quite common situations that can happen. It can happen but not to an event manager that looks ahead and is empathetic to their guests.

This is why the field inspection of the conference room is only a half of the venue selection process. What else should you check to make sure that details don’t make anyone’s day worse but instead provide pleasant experiences and meet your guests’ expectations?

The field inspection isn’t about pointing out details the owner overlooked. It’s about making sure your guests don’t point them out at the event. It’s going to be much too late and you won’t be able to fix these details, fetch more coat hangers, build a parking lot, or reorganize the conference check-in area to make a more efficient one. And you will be held responsible for that because choosing the right conference venue was your decision. Thus, you should really consider all these points and hone your process so that your professional approach and engagement bear fruit in the form of positive and unforgettable experience for your attendees. And I wish you so!

Justyna Wojciechowska