After seeing Travel + Leisure’s tool to comparing “America’s Favorite Cities in 2010″ we sifted through the criteria to see what makes one city a “winner” and the other a “loser” in the meetings industry. [Unfortunately & fortunately] the meetings industry doesn’t shop for cities the same way travelers to do for their next getaway.
What factors are most important in picking your meeting destination? THE TOP 10 QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN CHOOSING A VENUE FOR CONFERENCES & MEETINGS.
- Does the city/area have an international airport? What attractions are nearby? Is it easily accessible by public transportation or taxi? Making it easy for attendees is a top priority, while offering things-to-do on the weekends or downtime is a common concern of attendees.
- Do you offer a CMP rate? If so, what is it? Affordable is typically the second, if not first question. Complete Meeting Packages (CMP) make it easier for budgets.
- Will the Chef or Food & Beverage create customized meals for guests with special needs? Customized food options play a large role in the decision-making process.
- What is the distance from meeting space to guest rooms? Having learning and living in the same general area is important to hosting a successful program.
- What are the property’s wireless capabilities? Wireless capability has become one of the most important factors in the meetings industry.
- Do breaks dictate our schedule? By not constraining groups to a set schedule, all-day break stations give planners freedom and independence in their meetings.
- How much space is available? The larger the property, the greater advantage meeting planners have to utilize space. At a large venue, programs can grow or take on additional breakout rooms.
- Is there AV on-site? This question is becoming more popular to ensure audio-visual technicians aren’t contracted out from other companies, increasing the AV prices with labor charges.
- What is the nearby environment? Distraction-free settings go hand-in-hand with “What is the distance from meeting space to guest rooms?” A training focused environment is a key to receiving the most results from a program.
- Who will be my main point of contact? Speaking to one specific point of contact such as a conference planning manager creates a better line of communication and a smoother experience.