When clients review budgets one of the first items to be questioned is often the production site survey. When you add up the cost of the plane ticket, hotel room and per diem this line item looks like a great place to trim some budget.  So why is the production site survey so important?

A number of years ago we produced a series of meetings for an insurance company. During one of the breaks, a member of the audience who was in the insurance industry commented on how interesting our job seemed.  It was “a far cry from selling insurance,” he commented.  But when you take the time to think about it, one of the most important roles of an event producer is risk management.  Our experience and knowledge about producing events is a form of insurance that helps ensure that the event comes off flawlessly.

The production site survey is an important element of the risk management we provide.  Would an event planner book a hotel without doing a site visit? A production site survey provides the opportunity to review things that can have a direct impact on the success and final cost of an event.

  1. What is the exact workable ceiling height were the stage will be?  Often a hotel will list the ceiling height as the highest point in the room, but is there a soffit where the stage needs to be?  Hotels never list chandelier height in any spec sheets, but if there is one hanging directly in front of the main projection screen, it may compromise the entire stage set.
  2. The ever-increasing affordability of production equipment such as intelligent lighting, bright projectors and concert quality sound systems often require larger power drops.  Does the hotel have the capacity to provide the power needed to run your event? A face-to-face meeting with the engineer who will run the power drops may only take a few minutes but will ensure that he and his team understand our production needs and are prepared to deliver on the setup day.
  3. Where is the loading dock in relation to the ballroom and will all of the production elements such as a truss fit into the elevator?

While problems with any of these elements can probably be overcome during the setup day, the price will often be a high overtime labor bill and compromises that negatively impact the event.

Event production is as much about preparation as it is about on-site execution.  Production site surveys play a vital role in the success of an event and are a key element of every production plan we create for our clients.