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10 Keys to the Perfect Site Visit

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10 Keys to the Perfect Site Visit

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Your venue may be the most important factor in the success of your event. Getting the full picture on your venue is integral to the strategic and logistical planning requirements of your program. How do you assess the feasibility of a site on a short timeline?

Your venue may be the most important factor in the success of your event. Getting the full picture on your venue is integral to the strategic and logistical planning requirements of your program. How do you assess the feasibility of a site on a short timeline?

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10 Keys to the Perfect Site Visit

  1. 1. Jessica Murphy Senior Director of Client Services | Opus Agency 10 Keys to the Perfect Site Visit
  2. 2. OPUS AGENCY 2 Your venue may be the most important factor in the success of your event. The right venue influences audience acquisition, brand image, attendee experience, virtually every logistical decision, and, of course, your team’s ability to execute a perfect event. Getting a handle on strategic and logistical objectives is no small feat—but neither is scouting a venue. How do you assess the feasibility of a site on a short timeline?
  3. 3. OPUS AGENCY 3 GET YOUR DUCKS IN A ROW: Preparation is Key At least half of the work involved in any site scout is done before your shoes even touch the ground onsite.
  4. 4. OPUS AGENCY 4 PREPARATION IS KEY Loop in your venue counterparts as early as possible. THE VENUE LIAISON will be an invaluable source of information and resources before, during, and after your site visit. The team will need their input on the CADs, floorplans, and access and allocation charts that will prove invaluable. Furthermore, it will be necessary to coordinate access to the venue staff and required resources, ensuring a productive visit. 1
  5. 5. OPUS AGENCY 5 PREPARATION IS KEY Set goals for the site visit. DETERMINE A LIST of boxes you’d like to check before everyone heads back to the home office. As with anything else, clear objectives will help you accomplish more during your time onsite. Make sure these goals are shared in advance with the venue to allow them to prepare on their end. You’re only as efficient as the least-prepared member of the team. 2
  6. 6. OPUS AGENCY 6 PREPARATION IS KEY The whole planning team is rarely in the same place at the same time—don’t waste this golden opportunity! PLANNING AND EXECUTING large-scale events usually involves a team spread across state or international borders. While remote coordination is the industry standard, everyone will be more productive when the entire team is in the same place. Don’t waste a minute of this precious time! 3 “Venue visits are a productivity dream for your #events team. @OpusAgency #eBook has perfect #SiteVisit tips: bit.ly/SiteVisitTop10”
  7. 7. OPUS AGENCY 7 PLAN THE WORK, WORK THE PLAN: What to Do When You Get There You’ve prepped and planned to the gills—time to make it happen!
  8. 8. OPUS AGENCY 8 WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU GET THERE Try your best to run out of questions to ask. THERE ARE SO MANY FACTORS at play with a major event, it shouldn’t be hard to come up with an impossibly long list of variables and unknowns. Leave no stone unturned; this is your opportunity to tackle issues that can only be dealt with onsite. 4 What kind of questions should you be asking? Cover all the major bases: accessibility, surrounding areas, the hotel’s overall condition, available amenities, guestroom counts and features, meeting spaces, food and beverage logistics, audio/visual capabilities, technical specs. This is just the broad strokes. Don’t be afraid to drill deeper!
  9. 9. OPUS AGENCY 9 WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU GET THERE Document everything! SERIOUSLY. EVERYTHING. Don’t rely on your memory; your brain will be too overloaded with details to be able to recall all the finer points later on. Take notes, record conversations, take pictures and email them to yourself with details in the subject line—whatever works best for you. As you’re collecting information and getting questions answered, be sure to tick off your objectives as you achieve them. 5 “#Events #SiteVisit 101: document everything! Email pics w/ info in the subject line. More tips in this @OpusAgency #eBook: bit.ly/SiteVisitTop10”
  10. 10. OPUS AGENCY 10 WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU GET THERE You’re only human! YOU, your fellow team members, the people from the venue, the staffers you’re meeting: no matter how much you might wish otherwise, you’re not event-planning robots. Devote some time to catch up on email, refuel with food, and let the overflow of information sink into everybody’s minds. Everyone will accomplish more (and like each other more) if they don’t feel like they’re running a marathon—which helps make up for any time lost to breaks. 6 Don’t be afraid to earmark some time (and budget) for team building while you’re onsite. The time and money spent will pay dividends through stronger working relationships.
  11. 11. OPUS AGENCY 11 BE THE ATTENDEE: Put Yourself in Their Shoes Imagining yourself as an attendee at your event will shine a light on unseen issues and benefits.
  12. 12. OPUS AGENCY 12 BE THE ATTENDEE Engage stealth mode. IF POSSIBLE, try to experience the site outside the bubble created by your venue liaisons. Use this opportunity to get a real sense of a guest’s first impressions. Try to access conference areas and seminar rooms—did anyone challenge you? Make requests of housekeeping and the desk staff—are they helpful, did they offer special amenities, what’s their response time like? As nice as the VIP treatment is, you’re looking for the VTP (Very Typical Person) experience. 7 “#SiteVisit tip: stealth mode. Escape the #EventPlanner bubble to get a real feel for your #venue. @OpusAgency #eBook bit.ly/SiteVisitTop10”
  13. 13. OPUS AGENCY 13 BE THE ATTENDEE Bring a big appetite. WHILE YOU’RE ONSITE, make an effort to eat at as many different hotel or venue outlets as possible. It’ll give you a good sense of what attendees can expect while they’re onsite. Is the food amazing? The quality and atmosphere will have a direct effect on how likely your attendees will be to partake in the meals you’re providing. 8 Don’t stop at the restaurant experience. Do your best to attend a tasting with the hotel’s chef and the catering team. Tasting sessions always result in changes that make the food experience better for everyone involved.
  14. 14. OPUS AGENCY 14 BE THE ATTENDEE Test everything. THERE ARE A MILLION aspects of any venue that add up to an attendee’s experience. Try to get a feel for as many as possible. Are spaces clean? If you’re unaccompanied, how does uniformed staff treat you? Get into a meeting room. Are you comfortable? Is the room too hot or cold? Are the seats comfy? How soundproof are the walls? An effective event management team will use every opportunity available to determine whether your attendees will have a pleasant experience. 9
  15. 15. OPUS AGENCY 15 AVOID THE PITFALLS: Watch Out for These Common Mistakes If you depend on lists like most event marketers, it’s easy to get caught up in the drive to check all your boxes. Here are a few boxes to keep checkmark-free.
  16. 16. OPUS AGENCY 16 AVOID THE PITFALLS We’ve given you plenty to do. Here are a few major DON’TS: Don’t make unreasonable demands. The events industry is a tight-knit community; your reputation is key. Don’t sacrifice quality for cost. There are better ways to make your budget work than a bargain basement option. Remember: you get what you pay for. Don’t misrepresent yourself, or your team. Painting an accurate picture of your needs and objectives for the venue is of utmost importance to an event’s success. Don’t jump at the first offer. If you’re going to be discussing costs, show up ready to do some negotiating. Don’t be intimidated. Be confident in yourself and your team. You’ve come this far—don’t let anyone get in the way of your best interests. 10 “#SiteVisit no-nos: Don’t make wild demands, sacrifice quality to save $, or take the 1st offer. — @OpusAgency”
  17. 17. OPUS AGENCY 17 OPUS AGENCYis a brand events and marketing agency. We create and manage hundreds of events and campaigns every year, all over the world, including things like strategic executive-level summits, immersive brand experiences, and conferences with 30,000 attendees. We have amazing people who share strong values, and a specific methodology that ties everything we do to customer success. We call it TeamCS™. Interested in putting Jessica’s knowledge to work for your brand? Contact Kristin Waters to learn about partnering with Opus Agency. Jessica Murphy is a Senior Director of Client Services at Opus Agency. After hundreds of successful events, including large-scale conferences for more than 30,000 attendees, Jessica is an expert at making her clients’ grand strategic visions a reality. She manages the millions of tiny details that bring an event to life, and she does it efficiently. At her core, her strength comes from her ability to understand her clients’ business needs, comprehend how they impact the big picture, and translate them to the details that make an event successful. Jessica has proven herself a strong leader within Opus, and her clients continually praise her passion, high integrity, and keen attention to detail—all of which allows her to serve as a true extension of their internal teams. Jessica Murphy | 971.223.1124 | jmurphy@opusteam.com

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