The first step in designing a perfect program is planning a complete site inspection. This is not only an opportunity for a client to view firsthand what each of the elements of the program could look like, but also evaluate the ground suppliers involved. Here are a few important rules to ensure your programs get off to a start:
The event industry is heavily reliant on requests for proposals. If you are using a destination management company (DMC) for all your ground needs (including accommodations), review the proposal(s) with a fine-tooth comb. Did the DMC ask for and understood the overall objectives of the event, the branding and any other corporate goals?
If you are handling the hotel portion directly, there are numerous important details to look for beyond the number of guest rooms and the needed meeting space including potential conflicts with other corporate groups at the same property, adequacy of required infrastructure and equipment, etc. Using a DMC for your entire ground needs—including the hotel portion—allows you to direct all your communication to a single organization without having to worry about any conflicts and/or coordination among suppliers.
Site inspections are unique opportunities to communicate your expectations and needs to your DMC. Don’t hold back—even the smallest details. This is also an opportunity to establish rapport with your DMC and/or other ground suppliers in terms of your requirements to ensure the needed pieces fall in place in time for the actual event. Take copious notes. You will find them very useful as you try to imagine the space or venue in a particular way. Notes go a long way to make sure no miscommunication enters the picture (no “he said, she said”).
A Picture is Worth…
Site inspections often involve so many details about each and every aspect of the desired program. Relying on memory alone to recall specific details at a later date may prove to be frustrating. Today, our smart phones are such useful tools to enable us to capture the specifics of a room, a décor concept, etc. coupled with instant notes for future reference. Take as many pictures as you may need to conceptualize your event in a particular venue or meeting room. But don’t forget to label your pictures.
At times, site inspections for a complex program can be overwhelming. So many moving parts. So many suppliers. So many options. Don’t hesitate to revisit one or more parts if you have any doubts or if you need to refresh a particular aspect in your mind—especially as all the pieces come together. It’s better to go back and revisit a restaurant’s private dining space than to try to recall exactly how the tables were to fit. If in doubt, ask questions and add to your notes. A few additional hours can pay dividends later in terms of a flawlessly smooth-running event.
Armed with a wealth of information and data on the destination and all the components of the program, ask your DMC for a revised proposal—a proposal that would incorporate any changes discussed and agreed to during the site inspection. If in doubt, ask. Don’t assume. It is well worth going back and forth at this stage a few more times than trying to modify the program during execution.
Bask in the Glory
It is now time to reap the benefits of that perfect site inspection you did a few months ago. Your program gets under way and you can rest comfortably knowing that it will run as smoothly as possible thanks to the leg work you did during that grueling site inspection.
To plan your next perfect program, let the professionals at GMS Eventstake the burden of planning every detail including a helpful site inspection.