A site visit is your window to a proposed meeting destination. It’s one of the most important steps in choosing a location for your event. Before you sign on the dotted line (or e-file your contract), schedule a visit with the Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism sales team to ensure the destination is the right fit for not only your budget, but also the atmosphere of the event you’re planning.
Add these tips to your site inspection agenda and make the most of your visit.
- Don’t wait to send your RFP. Sending it well in advance will allow staff at the potential hosting destination the opportunity to manage time better and discuss specifics with you.
- Never underestimate buying power. If you have multiple events to plan and each will be attended by unique visitors, consider holding them in the same destination using the same venues and vendors each time. Negotiate rate adjustments based on volume.
- While venue staff will show you around on an official tour, arrive early and unannounced. Give yourself a tour as a regular guest and interact with the staff for the full picture. This includes asking difficult questions, as well as dining at potential restaurants.
- During your official tour, tell the manager you want to go to random rooms rather than the ones they have planned for your tour. Look under beds and tables and other places that may easily get missed during inspections.
- Ask for venue materials and quotes to be sent to you electronically. This is especially helpful if you are flying in to the destination.
- Coordinate with a CVB sales person to visit all off-site activities, coordinate transportation and see multiple properties.
Site Visit Checklist
In addition to the tips previously mentioned, add these questions to your site visit checklist.
- Are there fees for using outside vendors, such as catering and A/V?
- Is WiFi free and readily available?
- How early can you load in and setup?
- What is the suggested capacity?
- Are there branding opportunities at the venue, such as digital signs, that may be used for your event?
As your CVB partner, the sales team at Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism can assist you with all the tips and questions listed above. You should always utilize the services of a CVB or tourism bureau when planning a destination meeting and site visit. The sales team can show you off-site activities, multiple properties and even work with you to coordinate transportation. Contact the Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism sales team for information about holding your next destination meeting on Alabama’s white-sand beaches.