7 Steps to Successful Site Inspections
Successfully navigating a site inspection isn’t easy; the key lies in advance planning. Assuming you’ve considered all possible venues and narrowed it down to no more than three, following are the seven steps standing between you and an informed decision.
1. Get organized. Carefully review your request for proposal (RFP) and each property’s submission, as well as any photos, floor plans, capacity charts and menus. Likewise, draft overviews of both your organization and your event that may be shared onsite, estimating the relative value of your business as compared to other meetings.
2. Create a checklist. Based upon attendee needs and expectations decide what it is you want to see and do while onsite (including tours of any offsite locations), who you’d like to meet and what questions you have for the team. Bring both a digital camera and a tablet to document your experience, and be sure to pack comfortable shoes.
3. Don’t go it alone. Save time by collaborating with the venues, the convention and visitors bureau (CVB) and even a local destination management company (DMC) to develop a balanced and efficient site inspection itinerary. With their extensive destination and planning experience, these industry partners are best positioned to support your visit.
4. Explore the facilities. Prior to arrival request that available function space is set to your specifications. Walk the public areas, meetings rooms and overnight accommodations with your attendees in mind, assessing suitability and current condition. Pay close attention to equipment and fixtures. Inquire about scheduled construction and renovation.
5. Meet the staff. Both the sales and services teams should be eager to welcome you. If assigned, speak with your prospective convention services manager (CSM). Additionally, ask about the longevity and experience of staff, as well as any changes in management. During each tour, note the professionalism and attitude of facility employees.
6. Evaluate the service. Order room service, dine in the restaurant, connect to the Wi-Fi, use the health club or spa and observe events in progress. Ask about customer satisfaction results and how deficiencies are addressed. Gauge if staff is willing to experiment with menus and room setups. If possible, experience the venue as a “secret shopper.”
7. Follow up. Send a handwritten thank you note to each sales manager and share any additional questions, clarifications or concerns. Furthermore, adhere to your pre-determined decision date, inform each property about the organization’s decision and provide sufficient feedback regarding the final selection criteria.
In the end, the right venue will always align with your meeting’s goals and objectives – and a thoughtful site inspection is just the ticket for successfully evaluating the property’s ability to meet (and hopefully exceed) the requirements of your program.
Blog post image courtesy of Pexels.