Site visits are an essential part of planning an event. An in-person look at your event space is important to ensure that your next event will run smoothly and that attendees will have a memorable experience. Earlier in the year, Redstone conducted a site visit at Blue Mountain Conference Centre in advance of one of our client’s conferences and below are our key takeaways:
Do your Homework & Identify your Purpose in Advance
Everyone’s time is scarce – arrive to your site visit prepared. Having a clear purpose for your site visit will ensure that you stay on track and make the most of your time at the venue. Meet with your team and develop preliminary questions in advance of arriving at the venue. A few important items to note include if the venue has preferred vendors, if certain event permits are required, and the legal capacity for each room. If you have an ideal agenda or very specific questions, emailing your on-site contact before the visit is helpful.
Ask a Lot of Questions
Better safe than sorry, right? During the site inspection, ask questions that relate to all aspects of the event, from catering, décor, room availability, AV and internet needs, parking, setup times, guest rooms and more. Make sure to determine what is included in your contract and what comes at an additional cost.
Explore, Take Pictures and Put Yourself in your Attendee’s Shoes
Take pictures, videos, Snapchats – you name it! This will ensure that you capture what the venue looks like in case you start to forget on your way home. On your site visit, pay attention to the details and take some notes while they are fresh in your mind. If you have the time, indulge in some of the other offerings available such as on-site restaurants, spas, or pre-conference activities you may have scheduled for your attendees to ensure they will have the best experience at your event. Do you have a bit of extra time? Start developing your BEO onsite!
Always Prepare a Plan B
It’s important to discuss alternative options with the venue depending on your program. Does a part of your event take place outdoors? Are you anticipating a spike in attendance? Confirm the venue has a room indoors or a large enough space where your group can go (just in case). By being prepared with a plan B, you are in a great place if your program needs to be changed at the last minute.
The site visit is an opportunity to get to know the venue and your onsite contact on a personal level – make it count! Calling or sending a follow up email to your on-site contact who gave you a tour of their venue is a nice gesture. After all, it’s worthwhile to establish a friendly relationship and have your onsite contact on your good side.
Planning an event can be stressful, but we hope the above tips and tricks will help with your next site visit. For more trends and best practices in site visits, check out another blog post here.