Conducting a hotel site inspection is an essential part of any event. While the internet makes it easier nowadays to choose a venue, seeing it in-person is still the best way to check its suitability for your event or conference. There are things that you would only know when you have conducted an actual hotel site inspection. Conducting an actual inspection site will help you check things like parking convenience, accessibility, meeting space, and quality of food and service.
So what exactly should you be looking for when doing a hotel site inspection? How do you choose a hotel for your event? It basically depends on your event requirements and expectations. Research should already be done before conducting a hotel site inspection. You should also have an idea of whether or not it will meet your criteria.
Things to consider when choosing a venue for your next event or conference:
- Is the hotel available on your preferred date?
- Will your be budget sufficient for the location you desire?
- Is the hotel location accessible enough for your attendees?
- What other groups/companies are holding their own meetings/events at the hotel during your scheduled event?
- What are the amenities?
- Is there a scheduled refurbishment/renovation work during the time of booking? How will this impact your event?
If you are considering more than one venue, it is best to schedule your site inspection appointments as close together as possible, so you can compare the venues better.
Tips for reviewing hotels / venues for your next conference or event:
- Be the guest
Putting yourself in the shoes of your guests will help you make a better judgment. Think like your attendees. This means you have to experience what the attendees will be experiencing if you hold the event in that particular hotel. Pay attention to details as you arrive at the hotel, during the site inspection, and as you are leaving. Check the hotel map, sample the food, walk the halls, sit in the lobby, get a feel of the venue.
- Organize your visit
List the people you have to meet during your visit (sales manager, office manager, head of housekeeping, the chef, convention services manager, etc.). How much time do you need to spend during the inspection? What are your priorities for the inspection? Schedule your site visit in advance to make sure that the persons you need to meet are available. You may seek the assistance of a Destination Marketing Organization (DMO), which is also known as Convention Visitors Bureau (CVB) if you are considering several hotels.
- Don’t forget to document everything
With so much information that you need to check during the inspection, make sure you do not miss anything. Take as many photos and videos as possible.
- Do your research
Check for reviews and feedback from previous guests. Find out about any challenges other guests experienced during their stay. Ask about their experiences, whether good or bad. Ask for recommendations. However, remember that online reviews are not enough. A physical site inspection is still the best way to check the venue before making a decision.
- Be clear about the objectives of your site inspection
You will ask the right questions when you know what you’re looking for. Don’t ask questions that can easily be answered by looking at the hotel’s website. Do they have enough guest rooms for everyone? What are their group rates? Are the rates reasonable? Check the hotel’s cleanliness, how the staff treat guests, the hotel’s flexibility with the needs of the event/conference you are organizing, safety and security, hidden charges and other fees.
- Give attention to details
From the public areas, the guest rooms, kitchen, restrooms, to the actual meeting room and lobby – carefully observe everything going on around you. The condition and size of the actual venue/meeting room are some of the most important things to check during your visit. Is it clean? How’s the air-conditioning and lighting facilities? Do they have enough facilities for your event’s needs? What about sound-proofing? How’s the Wi-Fi service? Is the AV equipment working? What are their drink packages? How many serving staff will assist you during the actual event? Sample the meals they serve. Meet with the chef so you can ask about food sanitation and how they cater to requests for Halal, Kosher, vegetarian, etc. If the event requires overnight accommodation, check the room locations, room service, sanitation, furniture, safety and security and other considerations. Don’t forget to check the lounges or bar areas of the hotel too.
- Use a good hotel site inspection checklist
Use an inspection checklist to guide you in your evaluation. Remove the hassle of conducting inspections using the traditional pen-and-paper system. Use a reliable audit app like iAuditor, which does not just make inspections faster to perform, but also allows you to backup your data and email it in seconds to anyone. By using your device’s camera, you can take pictures so you don’t miss the important stuff. You can create your own templates easily or utilize a variety of ready-to-use audit template on the public library free of charge.