Make Your Site Inspection Count
One of the challenges always facing event planners is to ensure that what is included in a supplier’s proposal fits the bill from the planner’s viewpoint. At this age of advanced graphic tools, everything can be made to look great. So, there is no better way to ensure a program’s success than an in-person, face-to-face site inspection. Stepping away from the office to visit a destination with trusted partners is extremely important when making decisions about suitability of all the possible options. Here are 5 important steps to ensure success in this critical process:
1. The Role of RFPs
The value of a request for proposal (RFP) is in creating a discipline not only for the supplier but also for the planner to check off what would constitute critical elements for the success of the planned event. RFPs are not all about rates, dates, and alternative options. The value of an RFP rests with forcing the planner to clearly enunciate their objectives and expected results. In essence, RFPs set the stage for future discussions and helping in making final decisions easier.
2. The Devil is in the Detail
Before you leave for your site inspection, create a checklist for each category of service—e.g., sleeping rooms, venues, activities, meeting rooms, transportation, etc. You can’t get what you want if you don’t know what you’re looking for! Do your homework as you expect from your suppliers. Don’t leave anything to memory.
2. It’s All About the Experience
Once onsite, it is incumbent on the planner to try to “sync up” with the selected suppliers (the hotel, DMC and any other service providers). Review all your notes, concerns, ideals, visions and next steps with your partners. This is the time to be as open and candid with your suppliers as practical. Don’t hold back. Establish time frames, review the agenda and inspect every aspect that is considered important to the success of your event. If something doesn’t seem like a good fit, this is the time to eliminate it and find something that does. The success of your event depends on your ability to make everyone on your planning team see things from the attendees’ perspective.
3. Take Notes
It may sound rudimentary, but site inspections can become a whirlwind of hotel tours, visits to offsite venues and tastings at various restaurants or catering establishments. This could all become a blur shortly after. Take copious notes to refer to later. With your smart phone in hand, take pictures to remind you of the columns in the middle of the ballroom that didn’t sit well with you. After each location, take a few moments to collect your thoughts and make your notes. Write down key take-away items/feelings to refer to later—backed up by relevant pictures on your phone.
During your site, set aside ample time to discuss budget, inclusions, attrition, fees, etc. with each of your key suppliers. Don’t assume. Ask questions for clarification to be sure. Make sure everyone is on the same proverbial page. Assumption is the refuge of all misunderstandings.
5. Be Decisive, but Not Impulsive
If something feels/looks right, put a hold on it. You don’t want to take too much time to think about an option only to have it taken away by another booking. No need to make impulse moves; but if something seems right for your needs, work with your hotel and DMC partners to secure the best solutions while mitigating risks with a thorough review of confirmation and cancellation policies.
Putting It All Together
By following these basic steps, you are on your way to celebrate a huge success with your event, resting assured that your attendees will experience the best the destination has to offer. These simple steps ensure a successful program and make you the hero at your meeting or event—time and time again.
For a flawless site inspection, let the professionals at GMS DMC put together all the pertinent details that will guarantee the unequivocal success of your event.