It might feel like a large expense in terms of both time and money to carry out an international site visit. You could be tempted to skip it, especially when you can look at floor plans and a few photos online!
Overseas events are generally a bigger investment for any organisation both financially and from a time perspective. So it's just as important to ensure that a site inspection is invested in. Running events abroad can sound fun and glamorous but they can come with unknowns and more hurdles to navigate. There is nothing like seeing meeting space, meeting partners and walking grounds to bring your event vision to life and look at the creative opportunities!
There is no substitute for meeting the venue staff face to face. These are the people that will be instrumental in ensuring your event is a success. Building a rapport with the event team is doubly important when one of you isn’t operating in their first language – whether at the venue or the local DMC as they have the knowledge on the local area. On some occasions language barriers can mean that phone conversations are not clear and misunderstandings can happen. Spending an hour or two with the team will allow you to build rapport, create a relationship and set expectations and understand all possibilities. Venues recognize the commitment to them by having a site inspection.
As with any site visit, make sure you walk the path the delegates will be taking at the event to try out the flow and timings. Take lots of photos and videos. This will really help with remembering how the event will come to life on the day and share with the wider team back at base. If the venue has another event on when you are there, take photos of their coffee break set up, lunch set up or where their registration desk is, but only if permission is granted.
The logistics of getting your delegates to an overseas event can be more complicated, but you can plan ahead. Use your international site visit to work out the best options and this will also support with your contingency planning too.
Remember small steps make a big difference!
It is always a good idea to celebrate the culture of the country you are holding the event in sensitively. A site visit gives you the opportunity to explore and consider the appropriateness of them alongside the culture of your delegates.
If timings allow, stay a night in the hotel. This is the best way to see how comfortable the pillows are, what the breakfast buffet is like or how sound proof the rooms are. While you are there make sure you see the leisure facilities, as these are all important for the delegate experience and also takes into account wellbeing. If you are looking at a number of venues, stay the night in the preferred hotel and visit the others. Allow time for meetings with each venue team to discuss the event. This way you can get a real feel for how each venue can support in different ways. Remember to arrange a final meeting with the preferred option for the all important negotiations.
Lastly, but certainly not least, get a feel for the area the venue is in. Does it feel appropriate and safe? Are there building works next door? What are your first impressions?
ZiaBia have recently travelled to Cape Town, Warsaw and Malta for international site visits and have gained a plethora of invaluable information on each one. But across the years site inspections have taken place from Barcelona to New Orleans and many places in between! All of this information is meticulously recorded on detailed reports and kept for reference as you never know when you might want to go back.
If you would like advice and support before your next international site visit and event, do please get in touch.
We are encouraged to see many of our clients starting to plan their face-to-face events again after what seems like a very long time working in the online world. So with this in mind, let's take an in-depth look at one of the key areas to consider – the site inspection!
These come fairly early on in the planning timeline. Once you have firmed up the brief and have a shortlist of venues you need to get out and see them. This is so important to ensure they meet your requirements and the flow of space will work for your delegate journey.
Either way, you need to find out whether what looks perfect on paper lives up to reality!
As with any of the key milestones in event management, planning and preparation is critical!
For each and every site inspection we do we always put together an agenda for each venue visit covering areas such as:
We then pull together our site inspection form to use as a reference when at the venue, for example:
When planning your travel make sure to factor in delays – the last thing you want is to be stressed and flushed meeting your client!
As soon as you can after the site inspection make sure you write up your notes and follow up any actions. You can then update the client with a full picture of information to help them decide on which venue is the most suitable.
Inevitably you will see venues that you don’t end up using for that particular event. By having a written record about all venues visited you will be able to refer back to it another time – for example another venue find with another client!
All site inspections add to an event manager’s venue knowledge and should not be seen as a waste of time if you proceed elsewhere.
This article is mainly geared towards venue site inspections. If you are doing an overseas inspection you will likely be looking at multiple hotels, restaurants and activities, however the principles are the same.
If you would like any more advice or tips before your next site inspection, then please do get in touch.
July has seen the team travelling to Stockholm, London, Warsaw, Berlin & Bath! That is over 4,500 ZiaBia miles!
Our site inspection travels began with Charlotte attending the M&I Forum in Stockholm, Sweden. Charlotte had the opportunity to do ‘speed dating’ sessions with venues from various European locations. Information was shared on her return to ensure our product knowledge at Team ZiaBia is up to date. Charlotte also got the chance to view event options in Stockholm such as Scandic Continental, Berns Restaurant and went on a RIB boat tour.
Debbie visited the Intercontinental London O2 for a branding site inspection ahead of a confirmed event we are working on for November. This was a great opportunity to see the space again with the client and the AV Team. The next site inspection for this event will involve food tasting – yum!
Debbie & Charlotte then teamed up in Warsaw, Poland to view possible options for an event in February 2020. They saw two fantastic venues in Warsaw during the site inspections for a 2020 event. A difficult choice to be made now....great conference hotel in the City Centre or excellent Eco venue with no distractions? It’s always great to have options!
Vicky & Paola have also been in Berlin with a client and the team from Some Bright Spark. They visited a few hotels but shortlisted the Hilton Berlin & Hotel Nhow Berlin for the meeting and Spindler & Klatt Restaurant as a possible off-site dinner location. The hotels are both very different in style, but both work for the flow of the event. So, once again it is decision time where the theme of the event will take centre stage.
An excellent visit and great to spend more time as an extended team fine-tuning the details of this event for 2020.
ZiaBia supported Helen Rich and her Taste of Bath team with an event which took place at The Botanist in Bath. This was a great opportunity for Helen’s customers to come and meet the producers and taste their delicious local wares. It was great to be able to work with Helen again on this highly successful event for the second year running. In 2020 we have been confirmed to work on the event again as well as a new launch which is very exciting!
With seven events for an energy client confirmed to the end of the year we have been busy writing logistics agendas. Each event is slightly different, and it is great to be able to work through these plans and see how each of the events will flow and see it all come together. Next steps are to prepare the communication plans to share with the customers and then the project trackers for each event.
We have another new face joining the ZiaBia Team in August who Vicky, Debbie & Natalie have all worked with in the past and are very much looking forward to them joining the team.
#CanYouGuessWho? We have sweet treats for anyone who can guess correctly, email Debbie.firstname.lastname@example.org with your guesses!
Another great month that moves us even closer towards the goal of creating “memorable events that bring your vision to life”.
March has brought the first day of Spring, some well received sunshine and so much positivity for Team ZiaBia. I am not sure where to begin from site inspections to new venue find briefs!
We are thrilled with the number of new enquiries we have received which are due to take place in the next 6 months. It is also great to see the 2020 enquiries coming our way as well.
Team members have been out and about in London completing site inspections and securing a venue to use for an upcoming event. We have also presented to a potential new client which is always very exciting.
Our team coaching session was a great success and has given us lots of food for thought. We have filled our brains with tons of helpful knowledge from all the wonderful suppliers that have visited us…some even really committed and arrived as Easter Bunnies, tails and all!
April looks on course to be just as exciting, watch this space….
#teamziabia #celebratingsuccess #eventprofs
With January being such a great month for ZiaBia, February didn’t leave us disappointed!
We started off being on-site at the University of Warwick for our second event of the year, where we received fantastic feedback from the client. One of the team even celebrated their Valentine’s Day birthday whilst on-site.
We had an appointment with a potential new client which resulted in a brief already been shortlisted to 3 options. This is very exciting and we are now scheduling in site inspections.
Being able to attend Event Buyers Live #EBLIVE2019 at Heythrop Park was a great opportunity to meet with new contacts.
And it was marvellous to be able to welcome Handpicked Hotels and JG Collections to our office and let’s not forget my 8-week ZiaBia anniversary!
We also had an amazing ‘Team Alignment’ session with our coach, Gary, which was really successful.
It’s all going on here at #TeamZiaBia. The sun has been out this week, lighter evenings are just round the corner….I think that calls for ice cream!