Six ways site visits secure the right venue

ExecSpace place a lot of importance on venue site visits with our client, we commit time and effort for the coordination of accompanied visits. The question is, why?

Why do we do this and what value does it bring?  

Here we share why we dedicate so much energy to the site visit process, and six ways they help you make the right decision when choosing the perfect venue for your event.

Our preparation saves time and hassle

When we plan site visits, we look at the most effective way to do them, so clients are not going to and fro, zig-zagging across the country or the city! If they are taking a valuable day out of the office, we make sure it’s the best use of their time.

Our team use their extensive venue knowledge to plan out visits. Our clients therefore benefit from seeing as many options from their shortlist as they can without wasting time.

Take London site visits. As a client who perhaps only books a few events a year, they may not know which tube line or which station is best to head for, or even how long it takes between venues. While anyone can look at a map and figure it out, clients value our knowledge and ability to plan everything for them. It saves them hassle and stress on the day and enables them to stay focused on their objective – choosing a venue.

While London is vast, it is the same story in other cities or locations. In Birmingham, we’ve got clients that love Park Regis, which you can reach via the train to Five Ways or now you have the option of the tram. However, if you’re looking at Eastside Rooms in the same day you need to understand they are on the opposite side of the city. All doable, but a factor to consider.

It’s not just knowing your big cities either. If you’re not visiting city centres, but the surrounding areas and you’re covering them by car, your knowledge of the local area can make or break the day. Recently we did four home county site visits in one day – the Four Seasons, the Fairmont Windsor, Sopwell House and the Grove.

Finally, we also use our experience to encourage venues to make it work for the client – we often only have one day, so while we know a venue may be booked, there are still ways to see the space such as timing a visit over lunch or breaks.

We help keep the focus on your event.

We’re a big fan of the 30-minute site visit.

Many of the venues we visit are beautiful and have so much to offer, but not all of the offering is relevant to our client, so we ensure we see the most important spaces for their event.

If the client is placing a business event, they’re not necessarily interested in the pool or spa. What they are interested in seeing is the conference space, logistically understanding where the catering area will be, access to breakouts and a typical bedroom.  They don’t need to see the presidential suite or four categories of bedrooms unless they’re going to use them.

We recognise venues want to showcase their property and want to offer hospitality to our clients as a thank you for them taking the time to come and see them. But because we know our clients and the needs of their events, we can help the venue focus on the key points during the time we have with them.

Chances are our clients will have time constraints for one reason or another, so by trusting us we can help them keep the visit on track and also suggest ways in which hospitality can be offered in a way that doesn’t slow them down – a latte ‘to go’ can make just as much impact as a lengthy lunch!

Our company offers independent advice.

Given we’re a high-touch service, we are often the first introduction a client has to a venue.

We’ve already leveraged our network to create a shortlist of options which are a perfect fit for the event. When we visit the venues the client has confidence they’re with someone who is from an events background to guide them.

Our events and hospitality expertise means we know the good, bad and the ugly.  Crucially for our clients, we offer unbiased advice because we’re not selling the space. The opportunity for the venue is for the salesperson to try and convert the business – and rightly so! They’re proud of their property and want to share all its benefits and selling points.

What we do is help our clients look pragmatically and in a completely unbiased way, at whether the space is going to work well for them and help compare their options like for like.

Our in-person visits bring a venue to life

We believe an in-person visit always trumps information from a brochure or online.

We know, due to experience, what a room’s capacity is in reality and we can ask questions about the finer details to help pinpoint if space really works or whether a compromise may be needed.

Viewing with ExecSpace means we’ll ask those questions such as:

  • Aircon v Heating – delegates need to be comfortable, whatever the weather.
  • Noise? Where are the kitchens or back or of house staff prep areas? What is the impact when in conference?
  • What’s your Wi-Fi offering? (Can you provide a contended bandwidth so that the client has it allocated purely for their conference?)
  • How long does it take to de-rig? (The room might be booked for your event but if you need longer to get out of the space has this time been considered?)
  • Can you support streaming? (hardwired internet connectivity to support uninterrupted streaming!)
  • Do you have three-phase power? (How much have they got? Is there going to be a charge for drawing it down?)
  • What is the access for set up? (How are the production team going to get in? How long does production need to set up?)
  • Where are the ladies’ and gents’ toilets? (Are they on a different floor? This could cause issues with timings or accessibility)

 

Viewing with us also means we’ll have made sure the right person is on hand to answer these questions. Ultimately, the way we conduct our venue searches means venues know if we’re bringing a client to a venue, they’ve already made the shortlist. It’s therefore in their interest for the senior team to have a presence and meet their potential client.

Our knowledge enables better decision making

It’s not just our objectivity and experience clients benefit from, it’s our venue knowledge too – after all we are venue experts!

Because of the number of events we place, we get to know venues in great detail. Site visits allow us to share our insider knowledge with clients – such as how the room would work particularly well, or, how your set-up could work in the space.  Knowing the logistics of the venues makes a huge difference to our clients.

For example, recently we visited the ICC in Birmingham for a large event. Their Hall 4 has lovely refurbished Green Rooms for speakers/entertainers and an organisers’ offices – four in total and situated conveniently back of house, seconds away from the main stage.

Another recent example is the Pan Pacific on Liverpool Street, London – London’s first SMART Ballroom, featuring state-of-the-art audio, visual and lighting technology, with a private entrance from Bishopsgate Square. Also next to the Ballroom is a dedicated organiser’s office, with a screen in there so organisers can see whatever is on the screen in the main room, tea and coffee facilities, a shower room – everything an event organiser could possibly want. Do they put that in a brochure? Probably not!

Our support guarantees the best outcome

Last but by no means least, we have the debrief.

By attending site visits with us we’re able to help you summarise your thoughts and start working on the final negotiations – knowing 100% what is important and what needs to be achieved.

This is the point where we discuss feedback with the client, what worked well, what didn’t but could be an option for a future event and what the dealbreakers might be to secure the booking. 

And it’s not always price!

At this stage it can be more about nailng the detail – for example, allocating the exact number of different standard of bedroom category, instead of giving run-of-house rooms so a client knows exactly what they’re getting.

We don’t just focus on the final venue choices though. Even though a venue doesn’t get the confirmed booking and it confirms somewhere else, they’ve ad the opportunity to become one of our clients’ bank of go-to venues. We always provide feedback to each venue and while they might not have been perfect for that event or for that year, we’ve helped highlight them and developed their relationship – it’s always worth remembering within a business, the Head of Events will cascade the information across the business and their network!

You can see why we spend so much time and energy on-site visits with our clients – it’s a huge part of our venue finding service, for good reason! We know just how important finding the right venue is for your event, and we take every care to ensure we support you throughout the process.

If you have any questions or would like to know more, do get in touch and one of our team will be happy to help.

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