We recommend site visits be done as part of the contracting process
Todd, what is the first thing you think about when you do a site visit?
As an architect I look at the physical aspects of the venue:
Drop off area
What about adjacent events?
How does screen and stage layout work?
How does AV work?
Where will Front of House be?
Views from the room, can you take advantage of them or hide them?
Check out this amazing view and video showing the operable window from the meeting room at The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park.
What does load in look like?
How far is it from the dock door to the event space?
Visit a venue around the same time that guests are arriving.
Think about sun angles at the time of the event, where will the sun be shining during your event?
Important part to Joe:
Getting a feel for the people and how the place is managed
Can the rules be broken?
Joe is all about the people and relationships.
How easy people are to deal with is a huge factor.
If you are visiting another city or country you will want to be sure your itinerary allows multiple conversations.
Conversations with hotel managers, vendors
Arrive at the destination early
Make a second visit to the venue once you have narrowed down your selection.
Do your homework, be prepared when you visit venues. Come with questions. Download apps ahead of time. Bring a printed layout of the space and any other material about the space that you can find.
Talk to your friends, peers and salespeople about their favorite vendors and not-favorite vendors in the area. What were their challenges in this location?
Take notes of who you are talking to.
Make friends with the maintenance people and housekeeping staff. They are the ones who can make or break your event.
Watch the bell staff and see how they handle guests as they arrive.
“It’s all about the arrival.”
The Colony in Palm Beach, Florida (not Palm Springs)
(And to be fair, there IS a Palm Springs, Florida and it’s only 7.9 miles from The Colony)
The valet staff greeted us by name when we pulled up to the front door.
We asked about local florists and the way they responded told us a lot about the staff.
Ask venues about their experience with local vendors.
Ask them what their craziest story about an event is.
Example of Hotel in Omaha where we asked about Pyrotechnics/fireworks in the space and it told us a lot about the venue’s boundaries and limits and what they think.
Ask them to tell you about their favorite event or most demanding client. It may tell you a lot about how accommodating they are.
Check out Smart Meetings Events and Smart Meetings Magazine for learning about new venues.
Speed dating for site visits – we highly recommend them. It’s a great way learn about a wide variety of event venues from mega-resorts to boutique hotels
Marin Bright, CEO of Smart Meetings is amazing!