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Posts Tagged ‘how to choose a meeting location’

Review of Unique Venues, the Time-Saver, Job-Saver for Planners

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Is enjoying your morning a dream?

When you’re searching for a venue, Google is a traditional route for some and the more timely way when there are so many site selection tools out there. UniqueVenues, a database of locations around the U.S. from cruise ships to banquet halls and conference centers is the easiest tool for a planner to use in his or her search. Choose the state, scroll through a list of options and each venue includes vital information like overview, space, catering, accommodations, dining, services, technology, and area attract. Here’s our review of the site selection tool:

Pros:

  • Their blog and monthly newsletter to subscribers – it’s has some really unique ideas; recent blog posts included mansions as a venue and out-of-the-box Halloween event ideas. The recent printed newsletter which we received by postal mail accurately covered selling to different generations and their buying patterns – it’s also nice to still receive some things by mail rather than another inbox filler.
  • If you don’t want to search, UniqueVenues will do the work for you – making your job easier! Submit a quote about what you’re planning online and Unique Venues will send you information on venues directly.
  • Give your requirements and wa-la – you receive a list of venues. Upload your request for proposal (RFP) and Unique Venues will handle it and narrow down the venues with a site search.
  • Customer service still exists by phone  - they don’t mind holding your hand. If you don’t even feel like searching through pages online, call them with your requirements and one of their contacts will be happy to help you venues that will match your needs.
  • It’s called UniqueVenues for a reason – As a venue, we were shocked to see a lot of the venues that make up the database are ones a planner wouldn’t typically think of or maybe in find in Google results.
  • Time-saver, Job-saver - it’s simple which helps you not spend as much time finding a venue and more time actually working with the venue planning so the program or event is a success, which is something we really value as a conference center.

UniqueVenues also creates narrated videos for their venues. Thanks to Jill & Tony at Unique Venues for our video:

How to Successfully Place CSR in Your Meetings

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

Photo Credit: WEBN-TV

CSR, the common acronym for Corporate Social Responsibility is becoming a popular trend in the meetings and events industry as more people from Generation Y enter the workforce (also known as a generation of “can-doers”) and the value of outside training seems to need a CSR component to it.

What are ways you can successfully adopt CSR initiatives into your meetings and conferences?

  1. Eco-friendly products - Purchase lanyards, USBs or other items that are made in the US and eco-friendly. It’s a small aspect of a meeting but attendees appreciate the value of eco-friendly items, if you choose to share this with them.
  2. Food miles play a role  – Choose suppliers such as caterers that use local ingredients. At NCC for instance, we often blog about how we grow our own herbs, established a farm to table program and did you know we recycle our canola oil? It’s used for tractors who harvest the corn for our canola oil – talk about a cyclical relationship.
  3. Venues – Is the venue going to have an impact on your organization’s reputation and/or corporate social responsibility? Choose a venue that can tell you about their green efforts and how they meet your objectives and uphold the reputation of your corporate social responsibility.
  4. Apps and Gaming – After Green Meetings Industry Council received overwhelming praise for their 2011 conference app Game On!, we can most likely expect to see a rise in conferences and meetings using apps for agendas, games, networking and more. It’s not only innovative but exhibits initiative in the future of green meetings.
  5. Donating in new ways  – Is it possible for you to arrange leftover banquet entrees to be donated to local charities? Worried about the legality and logistics of donating food to charitable organizations? Find out about the Good Samaritan Food Donation Act on the Feeding America website. Some donations could be as simple as reception centerpieces with fruit in vases – produce like oranges, grapefruits and avocados make ideal items that can easily be donated.
  6. Community service projects – Planners can implement community service projects in their meetings which educates attendees, creates last bonding experiences and many memories. Work with local chapters of a charitable organization where you’ll be meeting and volunteer in groups of teams.

What are some of your corporate social responsibility initatives when hosting meetings and/or conferences? Is it well-received by those attending? What’s your opinion on the subject?

How do you decide on a city/venue for conferences & meetings?

Monday, January 24th, 2011

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. What are the property’s wireless capabilities? Wireless capability has become one of the most important factors in the meetings industry.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.