Determining the location of your event can be a lengthy process. Following is a checklist of items to assist you in the research process, in addition to a sample Site Inspection Form that can be used during your onsite inspection of properties.
Determine the following in advance:
Get recommendations from local Convention & Visitors Bureau
Determine if there are any “citywide” or special events over your dates
Create Request for Proposal (RFP) to include:
Determine who will receive an RFP (Request for Proposal):
Call to determine who initial sales contact will be
Wait for venue’s response with proposal and packet (request either online or hard copy)
Review proposal and floor plans to ensure space is appropriate and estimated costs fit into budget
Review options with client
Identify top choices
Create availability spreadsheet using key determining factors (e.g. dates, price, size, etc.)
Schedule site visit and inspection with client
Hotel Website: ____________________________________________
When was the property built?
When was the most recent renovation completed?
Are there any scheduled renovations during the conference dates?
What other programs might be occurring at the venue in the same time frame? How many restrooms/stalls are located within the meeting space?
Are there a sufficient number of elevators in the venue?
Is there sufficient onsite parking?
Is the parking free or is there a charge? Cost for Self-park? Cost for Valet?
Is the Valet run by the venue, or a separate entity?
Are there shops or attractions nearby and easily accessible?
Does the general layout of the venue offer convenient access to all pertinent areas?
Does the venue have a storage location for supplies and materials?
Does the venue have a loading dock? Does it require a lift gate?
What are the dimensions of the freight elevators?
What amenities does the venue offer (e.g. health club, pool, business center, spa, gift shops)? What are the costs to guests for these amenities?
Will the venue put items in the room at night? If so, what is the charge?
Does the venue have a Business Center? What are the hours?
Where is the closest quick-copy center and office supply store? What are the hours?
How close is the nearest medical facility?
Does the property have a defibrillator onsite?
Does the venue have complimentary shuttle service? If so, can they support the entire group?
What is the procedure for using the hotel shuttle?
If shuttle service is not complimentary, what is the cost?
What is the distance and travel time to and from the airport?
What type of transportation is available in and around the city, and to local attractions?
Can the hotel suggest a local ground transportation company?
Evaluate both general session, breakout and exhibit space …
When will the room(s) be available for set up?
Does the capacity of the room match the needs of the program, including staging requirements?
Can the pre-function area accommodate meals, receptions and breaks?
Can the exhibit hall accommodate meals receptions and breaks?
Can a speaker preparation area be provided?
Can a staff room/ storage area be provided?
Is the shape of the room and ceiling height conducive to set up needs?
Are there any obstructions in the room that will prevent viewing of screens or monitors?
Is lighting bright and evenly spread throughout the room?
Does the room have windows? Can they be covered for multi-media presentations?
Are meeting room chairs comfortable?
What size are the classroom-style tables? What size are the banquet tables?
What are the restrictions on décor in the room (e.g., tape on walls, confetti, balloons)?
Are there lighting and temperature controls in the room?
Is the room soundproof?
Does the room have a built in stage? If so, what is the height and size?
Are all meeting rooms and break out rooms on one floor?
Where is the closest house phone so that venue staff can be reached quickly in the event of a problem?
Is the room available for 24-hour hold?
Can rooms be locked? If not, does the venue provide security?
If rooms have locks, will you be able to have several sets of keys?
Can rooms be re-keyed? What is the cost?
Is there an in-house A/V department?
Is the group required to use the In-house for some or all A/V needs?
Is there an A/V specialist on hand who is able to handle equipment problems?
Obtain the price sheet. Does the price include rehearsals, insurance, security, labor rates and union considerations?
What is the cancellation policy?
Who is responsible for lost, stolen or damaged equipment?
Is the equipment insured?
Can last minute equipment demands be met? What are the additional costs?
Is there a built-in sound system in the rooms?
How many computer hook ups are there (power outlets)?
Is electrical power sufficient for equipment needs?
What are the fees associated with bringing in outside equipment or personnel?
Are there hang-points for lighting banners and signage?
What is the cost for power?
What are the rigging costs?
What type of high-speed Internet connection do they have and what is the cost?
Is there an onsite restaurant(s)? How many? Types?
Does the venue have in-house catering facilities?
Obtain complete menu packets with pricing.
Has the banquet department handled similar programs (e.g., size, special needs, type of service)?
Can the facility provide recent references from groups with similar program needs?
Does the venue have a good reputation for food and beverage quality?
Does the restaurant and banquets share the same kitchen?
Is the catering department able to handle special dietary needs (e.g., vegetarian, halal, kosher, gluten-free, dairy-free, health-conscious)?
What is your standard dinner centerpiece?
What is the choice of linen colors?
Is there flexibility in menu planning?
Will the chef prepare specific recipes that the group requests or customize meals?
Is the banquet department willing to special order brands per the group’s request? How much advance notice is required? What is the additional cost?
Are there restrictions or surcharges for providing food and beverage in alternative locations, within the venue or on property?
What are those locations?
Can specialty food and beverage be brought in (e.g., cakes)?
Is there a surcharge based on group size?
What is the standard service charge?
Is the service charge taxed?
What is the tax?
What type of sleeping rooms does the venue offer?
Do the rooms appear to be clean and well appointed?
What amenities are offered to guests in their rooms?
Is room service available? What are the hours?
What is the percentage of smoking vs. non-smoking rooms?
When were the rooms last renovated?
What is the distance between the sleeping rooms and meeting rooms?
What are the charges associated with local and long distance phone calls?
Is guestroom internet included in the room rate?
Do the rooms have windows that open?
Is each sleeping room equipped with its own temperature control?
What is the percentage of rooms with a view?
How responsive is the staff to your requests?
Is there a general feeling of warmth and courtesy from the staff?
What activities are available on property?
What are the costs for these activities?
Does the venue provide childcare?
Are outdoor or other areas available for activities or special events?
Does the venue provide support with activities (e.g., golf tournaments, beach Olympics)? What is the cost?
During your on-site tour ask to meet the on-site staff you will be working with such as banquet managers, front office manager, security, shipping and the chef, to gain a more in-depth perspective of the hotel/venue