7 Tips For Getting The Most From A Site Visit

How many of you have purchased a car without driving it, or a house without looking at it? My guess is not very many answered yes to either question. I once bought a house without my wife actually seeing it until we moved in. Even though we had been married almost 25 years at the time, I was still pretty nervous until she said it was ok!

Making a major purchase without checking it out can be very risky. The same is true for booking a location for your retreat or conference without first visiting the venue. While time, distance and/or cost can sometimes prevent you from making a site visit, the possible negative impact of not making a site inspection can be far costlier.

Once you decide to make a site visit, here are 7 tips to help you maximize your time:

  1. Communicate, communicate, communicate – Prior to your site visit don’t just talk about dates and rates. Take the time to make sure your contact understands your group and what your meeting goals and objectives are. Share details about previous meetings, what worked and what didn’t. Then, watch and see how they address your needs during the site visit.
  2. Make a list – Prior to you visit, make a list of everything you would like to see while on site and share it with your facility contact. This is a good way of maximizing everyone’s time.
  3. Deal with the hard stuff up front – Don’t wait until the end of the site visit to talk about things like set-up fees, attrition, Internet costs, parking, resort fees and any other “hidden” fees that will drive up the cost over and above the quoted room rates. It could be that sweet deal you’re getting on the sleeping rooms is not such a great deal after all.
  4. Make sure the space fits – If you have any doubts about the space being able to work for your event, don’t be afraid to ask to have a room set to your specifications. Seeing is believing!
  5. Pay attention to the details – How is the information flow leading up to your site visit? How are you handle during the site visit? How’s the follow up? All of these are critical questions and will give you some good insight into how you’re group will be treated during your event. If you find they are dropping the ball leading up to your event, chances are pretty good they’ll do the same when your group is actually there.
  6. Take pictures – Site visits typically fly by and you could end forgetting at least half of what you see, especially if you’re visiting more than one location. Don’t be afraid to stop and take pictures or video along the way. It’s the best way of remembering when it’s time to sit down and make your decision.
  7. Stealth visit – If yours is a large event, you may want to consider making an unannounced visit prior to your site visit. This can be a great way of experiencing the facility the way your attendees will.

What other site visit tips have worked for you? Care to share?

Your Thoughts?