by Matt Alderton | April 30, 2017
A successful meeting and event starts with a successful site inspection, according to Angela Hofford of global destination management company (DMC) AlliedPRA. "There is no better way to ensure a program's succes than a boots-on-the-ground, face-to-face site inspection," she says. "Stepping away from the desk to visit a destination with trusted partners is critically helpful when making important decisions." Here, Hofford's 10 steps to make the most of your next site inspection:

1. Submit an RFP
When you submit a request for proposal to your resort and DMC, you shouldn't just ask for "rates, dates, and service traits," according to Hofford; you also should share your group's strategic objectives.

2. Talk Openly
Upon arriving at your site inspection, Hofford says you should "establish time frames, review the agenda, and join minds." Be frank, she insists; if something doesn't work, "nix it and find something that does."

3. Walk in Attendees' Shoes
You should conduct site inspections from the point of view of attendees, according to Hofford, to ensure you're "experiencing the destination from the attendee's perspective."

4. Stay Organized With Apps
Use an app like Evernote to capture and label pictures and videos that you take of the venue, suggests Hofford, who also recommends using an app like MagicPlan to measure meeting rooms and an app like TechSpech to grade a meeting venue's technology offerings.

5. Take Good Notes
Take a few moments to record your thoughts after each location, advises Hofford, who suggests writing down five takeaway items/feelings after each stop.

6. Ask Lots of Questions
Don't make assumptions about budget, inclusions, attrition, or fees. Ask about them explicitly, Hofford advises.

7. Create a Shopping List
To keep track of your priorities, Hofford says you should make a checklist for each category of service -- such as sleeping rooms, venues, activities, meeting rooms, and transportation -- to ensure you get what you're looking for.

8. Communicate Clearly
After the site visit, be sure to "review all your notes, concerns, dreams, visions, and next steps with your partners," Hofford says.

9. Protect Yourself
If you like what you see on the site inspection, feel free to move forward with a commitment, Hofford suggests. First, however, be sure to mitigate risks by conducting a thorough review of your hotel's and DMC's confirmation and cancellation policies.

10. Celebrate
With the site inspection complete, Hofford says: "Continue planning your best gathering yet!"

Source: AlliedPRA