1. Is it the right vibe? (You won’t know until you go)
15% of planners indicated that they go on site visits is to get a feel for the venue. Even when things check out on paper, they’re not ready to sign until they’ve seen the venue with their own eyes.
For a property, this is a great opportunity to start with a planners goals and work backward. Position your venue as a “blank canvas”. “Blank Canvas” style event spaces are becoming a bigger trend this year. Event and meeting planners alike are drawn to the idea of being able to transform a space and bring their unique concepts and visions to life.
Providing your clients the opportunity to transform a space is key. Be sure to share photography, diagrams, even mood boards, from past events to show different variations of what can be done with the event space. Ask probing questions to get a better feel for your clients desired concept, themes, and goals for the event. That way you can offer better design recommendations and help bring their event to life.
2. Who am I dealing with? (And can I trust you?)
Think of site visits as a professional first date. It’s your chance to give a great first impression, but it’s also an opportunity to deliver on the promise of your website and marketing materials. Here are a few ways to prove to planners that your goals are aligned.
- Your website is making a promise that your venue has to deliver on. Be sure that marketing collateral and photos on your website actually look like the venue and are not overly-embellished. Too often planners arrive on site only to realize that the meeting rooms look nothing like the photos and videos online.
- Don’t underestimate your prospects. Planners know their attendees and VIPs better than anyone else. If they request that coffee never run out and that lemon wedges, honey, and extra black tea (and the kitchen sink) must be available in the meeting room, they really mean it. Show them that they can depend on you to deliver the goods.
- Before meeting with a client, educate yourself on the vendor partners that are available to service the event. When possible introduce prospects to the individuals responsible for A/V, catering, delivery, and set-up at your venue.
3. Is the event going to fit?
Thinking beyond the ballroom itself, how can you help planners envision the flow of the event and answer the logistical questions?
- How do you get the furniture and equipment in?
- Where will guests be checked-in?
- How easy will it be for attendees to access the bathrooms?
- What’s the flow from room to room?
- Where does catering staff have to maneuver in order to serve meals?
Every planner is different. Some can walk into a space and visualize the flow of the event. Other’s won’t fully grasp it until they’ve seen a bird’s eye view.
By utilizing services such as Social Tables, which make it easy to create interactive diagrams, you can reassure your clients that your venue can accommodate their concept, and goals to create an authentic experience for their meeting or event.
CORT Event Furnishings is a proud partner of Social Tables and has recently become the first rental company in the industry to offer the Social Tables platform to clients. That means they can see the layouts, power requirements, A/V rigging, and any other detail as part of one collaborative diagram.
4. What does the space look like?
One key goal that should be at the top of everyone’s mind in 2017 is to stop planning events and meetings, and start planning experiences! That means helping planners think through the goals of the event, and offering a consistent experience from moment attendees check-in.
During site visits, planners are envisioning what their event will look like. Where will key décor elements go? What kind of furnishings will speak to this space and accomplish the goals of my event? Where are rigging points? Where will A/V be set up? Aesthetically, can this venue support my event?
Details are everything. Know the ins and out of your venue, and make sure your rooms are in pristine condition.