Survey: What Event Planners Want From Their Site Visits

A recent survey by Social Tables highlights a key point of collaboration between meeting planners and event venues: the site visit. What are planners looking for in these meetings? Location and aesthetics matter, but a sense of trust is important, too.

Location, location, location. It’s the key element that draws event planners to a given venue, and, according to a new survey on site visits from the event-software firm Social Tables, it remains the biggest decision-making factor for meeting planners when it comes to selecting a place.

But location isn’t the only consideration. The Site Visit: Revisited, an online survey of 350 event planners and 350 properties across the United States, highlights the points of agreement and difference between planners and venues. One matter they diverge on, according to the survey? How highly they rate cost as a factor in selecting event space.

“Planners value cost as the second biggest concern after location, while properties believed cost was the last priority for planners, following location, meeting space, amenities, and ‘other,'” the executive summary states.

Event planners, quite often, know what they’re looking for on this matter and a lot of others. Roughly half of all respondents plan more than 50 events each year, and, on average, the planners surveyed put on 37 events annually.

Not every event requires a site visit, but, according to the survey, more than half (56 percent) do, and that keeps event planners on the road for much of the year. When planners do an in-person site visit, these are the three key qualities they’re looking for, according to the survey:

Aesthetics. Thirty-two percent of respondents emphasized that, when on a site visit, the look and feel of the venue are essential to figuring out if the property suits their needs. “Photos, videos, and blueprints won’t get the job done on their own,” the survey states. “Planners need to see a property with their own eyes to feel confident that they can pull off the event.”

Logistics. Another 24 percent said they visit a site to see if details such as the size of the space, including the loading dock for receiving equipment, and the lighting will work for their event.

Trust. And 17 percent said trust between the event planner and the venue organizers is the key element they are looking for in a site visit. Respondents want assurance that staff at the property will work closely with them throughout the event and beforehand to ensure they get what they need. “When it comes to events, planners are looking for real partners at the property—not just a sales person,” the survey adds.

Less important reasons for respondents to do a site visit are to experience intangibles (15 percent) and to get an attendee point of view (10 percent).

Curious to learn more? You can check out the full survey at the Social Tables website.

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a senior editor for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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