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The meeting planner’s checklist for productive site inspections

March 16, 2017

One of the most important tasks in planning a destination meeting is the site inspection. And, one of the best ways to conduct a site inspection is to start by involving the CVB. Rather than wasting time trying to pull all aspects of a site visit together on your own, rely on your CVB partners for recommendations specific to your meeting needs.

While enlisting the help of your CVB is first item on the meeting planner’s checklist for productive site inspections; we’ve detailed our complete seven-point list below:

The 7-point checklist for productive site inspections

Connect with the CVB
Your CVB truly is your partner when it comes to getting the best fit for your group. Take the time to connect with your CVB and share your meeting needs and objectives. In addition to the basic needs, give an inside view of the expectations, attendee preferences, behaviors and information as to what worked and what didn’t during past programs. The more specific and clear you are with your meeting goals and expectations, the more your CVB can assist you in securing the perfect fit for your group.

Is there a fee to bring in an outside vendor?
Venues that don’t have on-site vendors, such as catering and A/V, often have a preferred list of vendors. The site inspection is the time to contact these partners to compare pricing and schedule tastings. It is also the time to ask if you can bring in your own vendor at no additional fee, as this is the best time to negotiate contracts. Just as important is to ask if your hotel provides off-site catering. If so, you may want to consider having them handle the catering since this can be applied to your overall food and beverage minimum.

What is the charge for WiFi?
While there may be free WiFi in individual hotel rooms, there typically is not in meeting spaces. Attendees will want access to Internet at events, but this service is rarely offered free of charge. Free Wi-Fi can be a great concession to ask for at the contract negotiation stage, but make certain you are asking for WiFi in all spaces not just a limited amount of rooms. Your CVB partner can be a huge help when it comes to negotiating your hotel contracts, make certain you involve them in the beginning stages.

Are there fees for branding?
Existing structures, like marquees, reader boards and elevator displays provide great options for branding. Make certain to ask if there are fees to customize these locations, as many venues have strict guidelines as to what can be moved or added as well as set time frames for signage display. Certainly adding items that could potentially damage a structure will need approval and will most likely incur additional fees.

What’s the suggested capacity?
Venues have a set maximum capacity dictating the total number of guests the space can accommodate. Be aware though, that this number doesn’t necessarily mean the preferred or most comfortable capacity, depending on set-up. Don’t be fooled by room capacity signs, they often mean wall to wall without a stage. In Newport Beach, CA for example there are many private luxury yacht companies available for charter. However, the capacity number listed on the website is often much different than what is comfortable for a corporate event. The maximum capacity usually refers to coast guard certified. There can be a huge discrepancy between this number and the ‘comfortable’ number. Make certain you ask, as the number for coast guard certified and the number acceptable for an event are two completely different things, again your CVB partner will be able to assist you.

What time is load in and out, setup and strike?
Many venues charge a higher rate for an early morning load in or late night strike. In addition, some venues charge for a load-in supervisor, additional insurance and overtime fees depending on the strike time. Just being aware of these charges can give you an advantage when it comes to negotiating your venue contract.

What can you share prior to the program to create buzz?
Your CVB partner can share information about the destination’s culture, history, lifestyle and activities which can help set the stage for a program and create that energetic buzz of anticipation. Newport Beach for example, is synonymous with casual luxury. The destination has long been considered a playground for the rich and famous, many of Hollywood’s’ elite reside here and several Newport Beach landmarks have provided the backdrop for movies, TV shows and commercials.

Productive site inspections begin with the CVB

A thorough site inspection provides the foundation for a successful group program. By involving your CVB partner at the beginning of your destination selection process, you’ll be tapping into a wealth of knowledge that can ease the planning process.

When you’re ready to begin organizing your next group meeting, contact the staff at Visit Newport Beach, the destination marketing organization for Newport Beach, CA. Visit Newport Beach opens the doors to this Pacific paradise with destination expertise, customized site visits, strong partnerships with valuable resources.

Written by Visit Newport Beach Meetings

As a not-for-profit Destination Marketing Organization (DMO), Visit Newport Beach provides destination expertise, customized site visits, strong partnerships and resources tailored specifically to the needs of meeting planners and their clients.

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