When planning a Corporate Event and choosing the most appropriate venue, the final step of the process is the evaluation.
In order to objectively evaluate each venue, I recommend that you set up a tool or grid that will allow you to compare sites based on the elements or criteria that is most important your client. Setting up your evaluation tool prior to arrival will make the assessment much easier. Be sure to always leave room for additional factors that you did not think of or that impressed you while on the visit. Your evaluation tool and criteria should closely reflect the key information you provided to the venue prior to arrival. For example, if you have outlined specific space requirements, your evaluation tool should allow you to quickly assess whether or not the venue meets your needs.
For my recent site visit in Miami, I had the pleasure of visiting Trump Doral Golf Resort & Spa, Turnberry Isle Miami and PGA National to determine the feasibility of hosting a 2014 golf and spa event. My key areas of evaluation for all properties were:
- Hotel (layout, location, number of rooms, group rate, resort fees, available dates and pre/post rates, etc…)
- Function Space (available space, capacity and location for each planned event, storage, back up space, etc…)
- Food and Beverage (quality, pricing, minimums, additional charges)
- Golf (championship course/quality of course, degree of difficulty, pricing, formatting, pro shop, staff, on-course set up, etc…)
- Spa (world class, appointment capacity, pricing)
- Golf School (quality of instruction, clinic set up, location, capacity)
Now that I am back , I can review my notes from each location against my client requirements and come up with my objective recommendation.
Having a plan of action setup for your site visit will allow you to be prepared, prepare the site representatives, manage your time on-site, conduct a full and relevant review and may even leave you with a little time to enjoy the property for yourself.
Hopefully these three steps of the corporate event site visit:
will help you to gain additional insight into the process so you know what to look for if you are conducting one on your own, and you know what to expect from your corporate event planner.
After you have crafted your corporate event’s experience with the venue representatives, it is time for you to arrive on-site and begin your observation.
Based on what you know and have shared about your corporate event goals, your guests and their expectations, requirements and restrictions, you want to be able to determine whether or not they are going to be satisfied with the experience you are helping to craft for them. Create a checklist for yourself so you can review it when you return. Your checklist should capture your observations of the following:
- If your guests will be dining on the premises, you will want to do a tasting with table service;
- If your corporate event host’s guests are playing golf or going to the spa, you want to experience it those amenities;
- Observe how the staff treats you as a guest. Are they warm and friendly, does everyone say good morning or do they avoid eye contact and look the other way?
- What happens when you call the front desk with a problem?
- How accommodating are they to helping you navigate your way around the property and the surrounding area?
- How comfortable are the accommodations?
- What amenities are on-site? Which ones did you feel were missing?
- What services are provided by the venue vs those that you are expected to perform?
- Are operations actually in line with the sales pitch?
Many corporate events invest a significant portion of their budget with the venue. The venue, in turn, plays a huge role in the overall satisfaction level of your participants. The features and amenities are typically added to the marketing material for the event to create a sense of anticipation. The attendees’ experiences with these features will collectively determine their level of satisfaction. If you can, it is helpful to visit venues while other events are going on so that you can get a sense for how your event may or may not be similar and how the venue handles events. Observe how well they are able to accommodate the guests at the event they are hosting, as well as, those not participating.
This will give you a sense of their available resources. Spend time away from the site representatives so that you can explore the property for yourself to see the condition of the premises and the services completely unbiased.
As a corporate event planner, one of the tasks that I perform for my clients is the site visit. Typically, I will visit a few locations and then based on the host’s goals I will recommend the one that best meets their expectations.
Last week, I had the opportunity to conduct site visits to determine a suitable place to host an upcoming golf and spa event. My site visits consist of three main steps: Experience, Envision and Evaluate. Simply put, I want to experience the venue as a planner and just as my client’s guests would; to envision how the event would play out at the venue, and lastly to evaluate whether or not the location is the best selection for the event looking at all the venue amenities and the host requirements. In this post, I will provide you with the steps I take to help you plan and conduct your own site visits.
A successful site visit experience starts well in advance of the actual visit. Prior to the visit you should provide the venue with as much information about your event as possible. This information should including an
- event profile,
- attendee profile,
- arrival and departure patterns,
- reservation requirements,
- program overview/function space,
- and any other special requirements.
It usually works best if you outline the itinerary/agenda stating what you want to see and do while you on site. This helps you to handle the planner details before you arrive. Once you arrive, you will be playing a dual role. You will need to look at the event from your perspective as the planner and what you will need to operate and execute successfully, as well as, from the perspective of your guests and the experience they will have.