How to Improve Your Site Inspection: A Hoteliers Perspective


How to Improve Your Site Inspection: A Hoteliers Perspective

Planning a meeting? You’ll want to ensure an in-person site inspection and planning is essential to ensure your site inspection time is well spent. The old adage applies: if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Over the years, I have read many articles about this topic, and most have been written by seasoned meeting planning professionals. The majority of those ideas from my perspective have been very relevant. However, I wanted to provide input from the hotelier’s perspective to aid the meeting planner on what would be beneficial to help us, the hotelier, help you the meeting planner.

1. Come in Person

Come to the event venue personally to inspect the property. Only so much can be conveyed using the new communications technologies such as 360-degree videos. From the hotelier point of view, an on-site visit will give us good indications about your business style, key focus areas and will allow us to make a personal connection which certainly helps develop a collaborative spirit with all parties.

2. Scheduling

Ensure you are allotting sufficient time. Inquire with the hotel what the usual time frames are for a full inspection and keep in mind the size of the hotel footprint will also dictate time that would be needed. Do not schedule too many sites in a day. This will only create stress & inefficiencies for both you and the hotel.

3. Surprise Inspection

What about a surprise site inspection? I do not recommend them. Granted, the prospective venue will plan to put their best foot forward in planning for your pre-scheduled site inspection, but sales managers have frenetic schedules as well and may not provide the quality time that you need if you “pop in” for a site inspection. Availability to show all the facilities may be problematic as well. Who would you like to participate in the site inspection? They may not be available. If your program is complex, it would be wise to have a seasoned conference services manager, an onsite audiovisual manager, and possibly the chef to discuss any unique culinary needs in attendance. In some cases, the General Manager would be available to make an introduction

4. Audio Visual

The meeting trades have attempted over the years to cover this topic. New AV technology that could enhance your programs is constantly being introduced into the marketplace. What are the expectations from your audience regarding presentation technologies? The younger age groups have higher demands on delivery. Is the on-site AV team up to the challenges? Best to drill down early with your stakeholders on their expectations before the site inspection. Is the appropriate physical space available to accommodate the AV needed? Is there sufficient Wi-Fi bandwidth, ceiling height, stage depth and adequate setup time? All this will determine proper meeting space commitments when you go to contract.

5. Planned Objectives

What are your key critical components of the event? What is the objective of the gathering? How will you determine the overall success of the program? Considering all these questions will assist you in determining what you want to accomplish at the site inspection. Providing this insight to the hotelier will help you obtain suggestions and ideas from their perspective and past group successes.

6. Sustainability

The focus on environmental stewardship is a factor for your organization and attendees. What is the hotel doing to address their impact on the environment? How will they plan for your event regarding water usage, landfill, composting, food waste, & energy savings? Do they have a program that measures these factors? Many hotels give lip service to this issues but do they have a point person that drives oversight and implementation?

7. Food & Beverage

Does the property have the ability to produce meals for Vegans, Vegetarians, and can they accommodate gluten-free or religious requirements such as Kosher & Halal? Meet with the chef and Food & Beverage director to obtain evidence and examples of past efforts on the topic. From the hotel's standpoint, notice of special needs is a must. The properties will need time connecting with the purveyors earlier for special orders.

Planning, planning and more planning will be the keystone to your successful site inspections. Take the time, considering your hectic schedule, to evaluate your needs and you’ll be sure to succeed. 


For more information on site inspections, please contact Tim McGill, Director of Sales & Marketing, Asilomar Hotel & Conference Grounds.

Author

Tim McGill

Timothy McGill, Director of Sales & Marketing for the Asilomar Conference Grounds, holds a B.S. in Hotel & Restaurant Administration from Western Kentucky University. He has been a DOSM with Hilton Hotels, Wyndham, Starwood and independent hotels for over 40 years. He has a wide array of experience in all hotel markets inclusive of Associations, Incentive, Corporate, Business Travel & the Religious/Spiritual for properties located in resorts, urban and suburban locations. If you would like to connect with Timothy, please email him at mcgill-timothy@aramark.com.