meetings17Vetting a venue is a continuous process — even when a FAM trip is completed and a venue’s availability and pricing seems on target, that’s only half the battle. An important half — but still only half of the legwork required to select the perfect location.

Once you are able to narrow down venues in terms of availability and pricing, it’s crucial to invest additional time visiting the site to ensure it can adequately meet your meeting’s needs.

Below is a checklist of considerations for before and during a secondary site visit to ensure the most appropriate venue choice is made:

Before Your Visit

  • Google the venue’s website.
    Was it easy to find? Once on the site, is all necessary information clearly outlined (phone number, address, directions, etc.)? Is the site appealing and navigationally friendly?Remember, many times potential hotel guests will go to a venue’s website when determining their attendance — and definitely prior to booking a room. So it’s important the venue does a good job of selling its appeal and amenities. A secondary source to account for is third-party travel sites — attendees will also look at these travel reviews, so it’s important to at least be aware of what they will be seeing, should they do a search.
  • Research all possible transportation options.
    Determine where your attendees will be coming from and research all the possible ways to get to the conference. Be sure to explore Uber, Lift, Megabus and Amtrak, as well, to see if they service that destination. Ask the venue sales professional if the venue can provide ground transportation to and from the airport. Post all options with hyperlinks on your event website and be sure to communicate this information in email blasts to all attendees.

Trust Your First Impression

  • Check the signage.
    As you’re approaching the venue, can you easily see the marquee from all angles? At night, do all the letters light up? As you’re walking through the venue, are signs visible and easy to understand to direct guests to their ultimate destination?
  • Gauge the parking situation.
    Take a few moments to drive around the parking lot to assess it. First, is ample parking available? Second, what is the condition of the lot? Is it well-maintained, or are there potholes, cigarette stubs and litter strewn around it? Are trash cans overflowing in the lot? Is overflow parking available?Finally, do they offer valet parking? If so, what are the rates and conditions?
  • Find out how the venue will handle queuing issues.
    Imagine a scenario where all 800 of your attendees arrive at the same time (with their family in tow) to check into the facility. While standing in line, they are getting anxious to move to the next step — especially if they envision going into another equally long line to check into the event. Brainstorm with your venue’s sales professional about ways to streamline the check-in process for a smooth experience for everyone.

 While on Your Walk-Through

  • Check the cleanliness of the meeting rooms, restrooms and guest rooms.
  • Discuss options for the meeting rooms and make certain the desired layout can be supported.
  • Determine how long you will have for setting up and loading out. This will be extremely important to your trade show exhibitors.
  • Meet with the AV/IT staff. Make certain the site can support your Wi-Fi needs and determine how they measure peak usage. Find out if they will be on-site the day of your conference, and if not, how to reach them.
  • Meet with the catering manager. Go over menu items and get a sense of your food and beverage choices. Share the typical things your group likes and determine how much flexibility the chef has with your desired menu items.

In summary, a site visit allows you to ask more detailed questions and determine whether or not the site is for your group. Spending a lot of time up front will help eliminate any headaches when planning your actual event.

Looking for an Event Venue in Ohio, Pennsylvania or Wisconsin?

Then look no further than Kalahari Resorts & Conventions! We offer great convention space, free Wi-Fi and, best of all, an indoor and outdoor waterpark for your enjoyment. Give our group sales office a call at 855.411.4605 to schedule your site visit today!