6 Tips for Preventing Site Selection Tour Stupor

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Experienced meeting planner - Tia Ross, Boss MeetingsWhen touring more than three hotels or convention venues in one day or more than six in a week, the likelihood of your developing what I’ve come to refer to as “Site Tour Stupor” increases. Symptoms can include:

  • A glazed look about the eyes (“The Blank Stare”)
  • Blurred vision
  • Keen sense of deja vu
  • Diminished listening capacity
  • Loss of energy/sudden urge to nap
  • Varying degrees of apathy
  • Inability to identify or recall distinguishing details of property during tour or after departure

On occasions where there’s no other logical option but to knock out the tours back to back, I’ve developed a few simple strategies and general rules of thumb to help combat the dreaded anti-productive Site Tour Stupor.

1. Limit property tours to 25 minutes or less.

From the minute you set foot on a property until you drive off (or depart from your “tour guide” in the lobby), remember the clock is ticking.
A conference planner’s goal is not simply to determine whether a venue’s space can accommodate your group and complement your activities. You’ll want to be able to distinguish between each property’s features, space, options, etc. weeks, months, or even years later, if need be, with a quick glance at your notes, photos, videos, meeting specs, and site maps/floor plans. (Larger properties such as resorts that require motorized transportation to cover are obviously allotted more time.)

2. Have the sales manager limit the tour to space you cannot access on your own.

If a property is hosting you with an overnight stay, there is no need for an escort to the fitness center, pool, business center or any other common area you can access at your leisure should such amenities be relevant to your group. Frankly, I’m of the belief that once you’ve seen a half dozen hotel fitness centers and pools, you’ve essentially seen them all. Nevertheless, if swimming, sunbathing, cardio or lifting weights may be important to your guests, then of course you will need to go take a quick look.

3. Ask if there are any uniquely shaped or designed meeting rooms or if they all look the same.

There is no need to walk through every single meeting room if the only difference is the size. My rule of thumb is to see at least one-third of the rooms we will be using and any particularly distinctive space or features the property may offer.

4. Use video and still-photo cameras strategically.

Before visiting a property, you should already be well aware of exactly what they’ve pictured on their website. When you arrive, verify that the photos are accurate reflections of what you see and take pictures of anything that differs. You will also want to photograph or video the entrance to the conference center, the prefunction space, the registration area for your event, meeting room doors and any affixed signage/display holders.

5. Limit the number of guest rooms you visit.

If yours is a hosted stay and you will have the luxury of familiarity with your own room, touring similar rooms is a blatant waste of time and energy. If the decor of yours matches what you saw on the website before you arrived, you don’t need to see a double simply because yours is a single. Walk through something different—like a junior or presidential suite.

6. Take note.

While touring, note anything that captures your interest and why (and be sure to take a picture of it). Upon leaving, spend a few minutes summarizing your thoughts on the property and any special features or particular items that will appeal to your staff or group at your event.

One last word of advice: watch for distractors. If a sales manager starts directing your attention to the carpet and attempting to keep it there, look around intently for what she could be trying to hide. If she keeps it up and it starts to become irritating, curtly stating “Enough about the carpet already” can prove to be most effective. Be especially careful that you do not allow this person to evoke a Stupor! If they’re talking about carpet, they specialize in stupors.

Have you ever experienced Site Tour Stupor? How’d you handle it?

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