6 Tips for A Successful Site Inspection

Anticipate what your attendees will experience at each stage of the hotel experience (shown here, the lobby of the Paramount Hotel, New York).
Anticipate what your attendees will experience at each stage of the hotel experience (shown here, the lobby of the Paramount Hotel, New York).

The success of your meeting can depend upon a carefully planned and well-executed site inspection. Consider the CVB your planning partner: They have comprehensive knowledge of the destination, have planned countless site inspections and can help you find the right fit for your meeting or event through their local expertise and relationships.

Here are 6 tips, courtesy of empowerMINTcom, to help make your site visit a success:

1.     Put all your cards on the table.

Don’t just request rates, dates and space. Give detailed information about the purpose of your meeting, along with the demographics and typical meeting behaviors of your attendees. Let everyone you visit during the site be prepared to wow you.

2.     Take time to sit before you walk.

Site inspections seem to have a familiar flow: Meet, shake hands and start walking. It is to your advantage to take time to sit, even for just a few minutes, to set the stage for your expectations. Take a look at a map or hotel floor plans, understand the overall “lay of the land” before you begin the tour and get to know the people you would be working with a little better.  It’s also when the salesperson has the opportunity to ask you detailed questions about the meeting and tell you exactly why their venue is a good fit.

3.    Put yourself in your attendees’ shoes.

Pay attention to the details. Notice what is happening as you receive information before your visit, as you arrive, during the site inspection, as you are leaving, and after you return from the site inspection. As a potential buyer, you probably will be treated with kid gloves, so anticipate what your attendees will experience at each stage of the destination/hotel experience. Ask if the treatment you are receiving is standard fare or unique to the site inspection experience.

5.     Encourage creativity.

Tell the hotel what you want to see and then say, “Feel free to surprise me. Show me at least one thing that is unexpected about your product or services.” See how they rise to this challenge. Or, you might want to work in a little surprise of your own—a quick, unannounced stealth site visit aside from your scheduled inspection to experience the true product and service level.

6.     Address details up front.

Attrition, food and beverage minimums, extra costs of parking, WiFi and resort and exercise facility fees are best calculated up front. Some of the most attractive room rates may be offset with hidden fees. Don’t assume anything is included.

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Barbara Scofidio is editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In 25 years of covering the industry, her articles have spanned topics ranging from social media to strategic meetings management. She is currently the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee and was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of Site, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. A familiar face at industry events, Barbara often leads panel discussions or speaks on topics close to her heart, such as green meetings or how the industry can help combat human trafficking. She is also on the board of ECPAT USA, the human trafficking organization. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.