I love doing site visits with my clients! Whether we are planning a meeting that already has contracted space or trying to determine what venue we will eventually select, site visits are definitely one of my favorite jobs!
I look at it as having a blank slate for the meeting. Our job at TRG is to create a palette of events that will blend together to create an amazing experience that will meet the client’s objectives. We are not just trying to make the space fit all the bodies, we want to create an environment conducive to learning, fun or other goal the client has for the session.
I come to a site visit armed with a list of questions for the hotel and for my client. We cover basic logistics questions like where does the TRG equipment truck park? What is the flow to get the gear from the dock into the room? Where do we store our gear? What are the AV needs in each of the rooms and special event venues including audio, lighting and projection?
But those topics aren’t nearly as fun to work through as the client questions that help me create a unique experience for every attendee that walks through the door.
- What are you trying to achieve by investing in this event?
- How do you want your attendees to feel when they enter the room and during breaks? Do you want them to be excited and pumped up? Or reflective and thoughtful?
- What will be going on during the sessions?
- Will the attendees be talking to each other? Just listening? Doing exercises where they need to write? Brainstorming as a group?
- How can we change the room from session to evening event or from day to day to rejuvenate the attendees or put them in a different state of mind?
- How can we brand the room with items that reflect the company’s culture?
- How will the attendees perceive the hotel – from the outside and from the moment they step in the door. Will they think it’s outdated or old-fashioned? Overly elaborate? Too large to manage comfortably? Do we need to do any communication before the meeting to address these perceptions?
We spend a lot of time walking on a site visit. One of the most important assessments is the walk from the client guest room to the General Session, and from the General Session to the breakout sessions in order to make sure the flow is logical and intuitive. If not, we discuss what kind of signage is needed to mitigate that issue.
And I even count the stalls in each of the women’s restrooms. Nothing ruins an attendee’s experience more than having to wait on a huge line to use the restroom!
Speaking of bathrooms – I always check the bathroom layout in the standard guest rooms when we tour the sleeping rooms. We were going to book a meeting where the majority of attendees were hulking men and I could barely turn around in the bathroom. Talk about making the meeting experience uncomfortable!
We cover everything from registration to General Session to breakout sessions to hallway networking. Event production is not a volume business. There is no such thing as two meetings that are exactly alike. From a site visit, I take the blank slate of a meeting space list and create a unique event that brings people together and creates community!