We want you to fall in love with our destinations and find the hotel or venue that's a perfect match. Site inspections are the gold standard for determining whether the location is a fit for your group or not, and like a parent evaluating a potential suitor for their child, there are plenty of questions that need to be asked. Whether you fancy yourself an expert or a novice at site inspections, here are some of the most important considerations when finding the space that's meant to be.
How many people are you expecting? Location options can often be narrowed down based on group size alone.
What time of year will your group be coming in? Some venues work better in the cooler months while others shine in the sun!
If the event is off-site, how far are you willing to travel from the hotel?
What are the demographics of your group? "Knowing the average age, male/female ratio, and what the attendees do for your organization helps us cater to the group as a whole," says Jennifer Janette, Senior Director of Sales for Hello! Florida (Central).
Getting to the Heart of It
Vehicle Drop Points
From the moment you arrive on site, look for vehicle drop points to see how far the walk is from arrival to the main location. Make sure you scope out all areas, including private dining rooms for restaurants and green rooms for venues. "I look at it from a sales, creative, and operations perspective and truly try to think through all aspects of the program from proposal to production," says Krista England, Director of Product Development for Hello! Las Vegas.
How many guests can the venue accommodate for a reception? What about a seated dinner? This question is always a front runner because capacities can vary. When quoted a number, always ask, "Realistically, how many would you recommend?" The number that's typically given is what the fire marshal has approved, which is higher than what we would bring in. This is one particular area where our expertise comes in handy; our seasoned teammates are able to see a space and estimate how many guests would fit comfortably. If you anticipate adding entertainment and décor, remember to factor that in as well.
If your site is a restaurant, ask about the different table configurations that can be done in the space(s). The number of guests the space can accommodate will vary depending on the style and size of the tables (i.e. kings tables versus round tables, etc.)
What (if any) furniture or tables does the venue/restaurant have? This is important for a couple of reasons: 1) If they have furniture, are you able to move or remove it? 2) If they don't have furniture, are you able to bring in your own? If you are, then the question becomes, where is the service elevator and how large is it?
From catering to entertainment and décor, we always ask if there is a preferred supplier list or if we are able to bring in our own. Our teams work hard to cultivate relationships based on excellent product and service so it's always beneficial to bring in one of our partners.
Hours of Operation
What are the normal hours of operation? If the restaurant or venue is normally closed when you're having your event, the space rental is typically less since you're not displacing regular business. Try buying out a venue during lunch or hosting a breakfast at a restaurant that is open for dinner only.
Food Preparation and Storage
It's important to understand how and where the food will be prepared. If you're looking at a venue, is there a full kitchen? Does the caterer need to bring all food fully prepared before they arrive on site? If they do, how will they keep it warm? Can the caterer store extra food items anywhere on site?
If the group is not doing a full buyout, how will that work with other patrons? If it's a venue, will there be another group nearby? If it's a restaurant, where does the group walk through in order to get to their area?
After operating thousands of programs each year, our teams have become quite adept at recommending locations that would work best for your group. Contact us to get started and we will propose (not literally!) a crafted list of options specifically for you.