Here’s the third in a series of five quick tip sheets for meeting and event professionals regarding food and beverage, site selections and handling professional speakers. It’s also a great resource sheet for those who must handle meeting logistics for their organization’s meetings and need some insight.
Location, Location, Location. Three of the most important words in a meeting and event professional’s repertoire.
The selection of a city and venue is a very critical factor in the success of any meeting or event. Choose the wrong city and your potential attendees may not register. Choose the wrong venue location (airport, downtown, resort or suburb) and your attendees will complain that it doesn’t meet their needs and you will never hear the end of it. Also choosing the wrong venue can give you major challenges with logistics, service and possibly perceptions.
Through the eyes of your Attendee’s
Ultimately, the meeting or event you’re planning is for and about the attendee. Choosing a location that delivers a lot of value to them is crucial.
Usually, meeting and event professionals choose a city and venue that meets the logistical needs and delivers a great deal. However, If you don’t focus on what the attendees want and need first, you are likely to choose a site that can derail the meeting before it’s ever started.
Five Things that Drive Attendee’s
1. Attractiveness of Location
Is it a city that your attendees want to visit? How attractive is that city to your regular attendees? Would it attract a new audience or larger group of your regular customers?
How affordable is it to travel to your location? What is the proposed hotel rate? Many business employees have a budget to attend one conference a year. And the amount they can spend is typically decided before you announce your fees and hotel rates. Keeping the cost as economical as possible without decreasing any value is important.
How accessible is your venue and city? If most of your attendees fly to your event, is it a major airlines hub? What are the total number of daily seats into the airport? Is it easy and affordable to travel to that destination? What is the commute time and cost from the airport to the hotel? If the majority of your attendees drive to the event, is your site within a two- or three-hour radius of a large density of your customers? Is there ample and affordable parking once they get there?
4. Entertainment Options
Is the venue near a major entertainment district? Is it within walking distance of restaurants, retail and nightlife? Is golf nearby?
5. Networking Friendly
Does the meeting facility or hotel offer welcoming areas that help stimulate networking? Are there seating areas or outlets that are good for meet-ups or collaboration? Is there WiFi in those public areas?
Meeting Success Dependent Upon These Drivers
If the conference is in a city that is not attractive, affordable, easily accessible, near entertainment and stimulates networking, the potential registrant will look for a different option at another event.
Remember, a potential attendee’s interest in visiting an area can contribute to significant increase in attendance and revenue.
What are some questions meeting and event professionals should ask when considering attendee’s interests and expectations for site selection?