You’re taking a trip to look at a potential site for an event. Here are a few things to remember to help you make the most of your visit.
- Make a list of the all the group needs. Do this before you arrive. Prepare and bring as much information as you can on the specific group you are hosting. How many will be staying? What time of day will most of them arrive? Driving cars? Airport shuttles? What will they be bringing with them? Where will the find their first meal? What will they need in their room to get settled in? Be ready to be more focused on your group and exactly what they need, than the location itself.
- Start taking notes the minute you arrive. Imagine yourself in the shoes of your event attendees. Where will signs need to be placed? How is the service at the registration counter? Where are the nicest rooms located?
- Visit the spaces where main and breakout sessions will be held. Is the seating comfortable? Is the sound system high quality? What visual presentation capabilities does the space have. Go backstage. Is there a green room? Try to visit breakout session rooms when other things are going on outside. Is there audible noise bleed through? In other words, can you hear everything the person next door is saying?
- Try the onsite food offerings. Is there a variety? Vegetarian offerings? What meals are available? When do the restaurants stop serving? How is the service?
As you act as a scout for your next trip, all of these questions and experiences will blend together to help you make a decision. Set up a time before you arrive to meet with the head of Guest Services, or whomever manages groups and events at the location. Ask them pointed questions, and go over the list of needs you made before you arrived.
Making a trip to look over a potential location is definitely worth the effort. It is much easier to plan once you have visited a place in person, and it saves unpleasant surprises during the event. Find out as much as you can about your guests before you go, and remember that even the most amazing location may not serve the needs of a particular group.
What question(s) have you learned to ask during a site visit?