Potomac Memo - September/October 2010 - (Page 14)
seasoned professional feature
Effective Site Visits
by Anita Cerana, St. Louis CVC Publications Committee Member
Communication is Key
visiting attractions 10 miles away. One client recently said that while on hotel tours she speciﬁcally requests to see the loading docks and the back of the house. It was great to know that this was a key buying factor up front. My hotel partner recently had a client say to her, “This was the best site visit I have done in my career!” What made this site visit different? The hotel salesperson knew the client and their programs inside out. She could present a variety of options for the group for any type of meeting. Similar to the show “House Hunters,” buyers want to know what a room can be used for. Can it be a living room or an ofﬁce? Too often suppliers say, “Well, here’s the space, let me know how you want to use it.” Planners want a partner in the site visit process, and suppliers can make it simple by being not only a knowledgeable salesperson, but also a helpful guide. As a result, a planner will remember more details about their site visit and the sales manager who made it possible.
I think site visits are hard.
They are hard for the planner, who has to recall multiple meeting room layouts in several properties in just as many cities over the course of a few days. I can barely remember what I ate for breakfast! They are hard for the supplier who has the added pressure of showcasing space and rooms just the right way, hoping weather doesn’t become an issue and ﬂights aren’t delayed. Many variables can impact the success of a site visit. Before a planner ever visits the city, it is important to know if the city will work for not only the meeting, but for the attendees as well. The #1 question then becomes, “What is important to the attendee?” As the planner, you should convey that answer to your sales manager. He or she will make sure to show you exactly what you need to see. For example, it is important to know if your attendees typically do not venture out of the downtown area so that you don’t waste valuable time
“What is important to the attendee?” As the planner, you should convey that answer to your sales manager. He or she will make sure to show you exactly what you need to see.
14 PMPI POTOMAC MEMO SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010 VOL. 32, NO. 1
It is important to be ﬂexible and open to revising an itinerary if necessary. One client preferred to spend an hour at a downtown attraction rather than embark on an extensive city tour. This worked well, as she was then able to enjoy the attractions and relay her ﬁrst-hand experience to attendees and stakeholders. Glenn Reighart, CMM, CMP, CAE, with the National Association of School Psychologists, has this bit of advice: “As often as possible, I do both planned/ announced and anonymous site visits. It’s very helpful to talk with staff such as housekeepers, front desk personnel, restaurant and room service staff, etc., who seem to answer ‘casual’ questions about the hotel/stafﬁng levels quite candidly when they assume they are being asked by a ‘regular’ hotel guest and not a planner booked/considering a meeting at the property. Then I can make adjustments later, as needed. I even did a hotel tour in a wheelchair once (without actually saying I required it – a lot of assumptions were made). Very eye opening for planners orchestrating events where attendees with disabilities are anticipated.” Bottom line: Communication is an essential and important part of the relationship – and from both sides; on the part of the planner as well as the supplier.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Potomac Memo - September/October 2010
Potomac Memo - September/October 2010
Calendar of Events
Cool Tools to Develop Trust with Clients
Monetizing and Marketing Your Conference Education
Tips for Effective Site Visits – Communication Is Key
MACE! 2011 – The Secret is Out
Grab & Go Lunch Series
East Meets West
New Member Spotlight
Help PMPI Give Back
Where in the PMPI World?
Potomac Memo - September/October 2010