When selecting venues, photos on websites and YouTube videos can only go so far. Site inspections are extremely important to ensure that there are no surprises. With many organizations continuing to face budget constraints, foreign site inspections aren't always possible.
Despite the risks of omitting this phase of the site selection process, some organizations simply don't have the budget. Here are some options to explore:
- Take advantage of every opportunity to visit venues when conducting business or attending conferences and tradeshows in other countries.
If you let members of the group sales team at resorts or hotels know when you are planning to be in the area, they will often arrange to pick you up for a full site inspection. Sometimes, they will arrange for you to stay overnight at no charge to fully explore the property.
- Avail yourself of the opportunities that familiarization (FAM) trips provide.
It's a good way to inspect a number of resorts and other properties.
- Read the reviews of corporate event venues published on the Cvent Event Blog.
They are based on research to identify what each venue offers and, sometimes, they are based on site inspections.
- Take full advantage of the descriptions on the Cvent Supplier Network.
There are detailed descriptions of destinations and properties around the world.
- Review guest feedback on sites like TripAdvisor.
They will give you a flavour of the venue. (Look for trends rather than focusing on one or two extremely positive or negative reviews.) You can also start discussions on TripAdvisor to request feedback about specific properties.
- Leverage LinkedIn.
LinkedIn Groups like the 245,000+ member Event Planning and Event Management group provide opportunities to connect with event planners in other areas. There are 9 regional subgroups covering many parts of the world, from Canada and the Caribbean to Europe-West and Asia. Start a discussion to ask for feedback about specific properties or post to ask local event planners for recommendations.
- Build alliances with DMCs and independent event planners in other countries.
If you aren't able to conduct site inspections, try to build site inspections by a foreign event planner or DMC into the budget. Provide a detailed checklist of what you are looking for and ask for a full report on each property.
For more site inspection tips also consult 10 Tips for Selecting Event Venues in Foreign Destinations 10 Strategies to Supercharge Site Inspections
Photo Credits: Maryland GovPics