What is the most important factor to consider when looking for a venue for your meeting?
Is it cost, number and type of guest rooms, location, safety and security, type of venue, your audience and their expectations – or something else?
To answer these questions we need to go back to the basics.
While all of these factors are important and must be given due consideration, the most important factor to consider is the meeting space. The venue’s meeting space in order for the meeting to be successful first and foremost has to fit the needs of the group.
For instance, if you know you’re expecting 150 people and the program calls for general session space set classroom style set two people per six-foot tables, six breakouts of 25 each set in pod style, office space to accommodate 6-8, storage space for room gift assembly and delivery prep, registration space – all set to your specifications — and separate function space for daily meal function and you want/need the meeting space, office and storage space available on a 24-hour hold – this is what the venues you are looking at must-have for starters.
If you do not have your space requirements properly outlined at the request for proposal stage, then go to contract with anything less than and later find you need more or different space, you may be out of luck and unable to produce the desired outcomes. Worse, you may be at a loss financially if the venue no longer fits your needs and you are contractually obligated.
Defining your goals, objectives, and key messages, identifying your intended audience, and having a clear understanding of the meeting and function space required from the get-go are key to bringing forth a successful meeting.
There’s much to learn about the meeting planning process and believe me when I say, that learning does not come overnight.
After a successful career as a full-time meeting planner, I wrote a book called “The Meeting Planning Process: A Guide to Planning Successful Meetings” based on my successes and failures as a corporate meeting planner in an effort to share with others what I’d learned so they could avoid some of the all too common pitfalls.
Our successes I would conclude come from learning and doing. Growth comes from facing challenges head-on and accepting change. Such was the case with writing and publishing this book. Since its first launch in October 2016, edits have been made to the copy including but not limited to:
- Questions to ask during a site visit relevant to the safety and security of meeting participants and staff when looking at a destination and/or venue; information to share with staff once on-site to create awareness of surroundings; and suggestions for key internal and external experts to include in the development of comprehensive Medical Risk and Crisis Management Plans.
- A more comprehensive look at the collection, formation, and dissemination of the Function Detail element of the PLANNING PROCESS (sometimes referred to as the Daily Meeting Plan).
- Additional helpful tips within the Communications Plan, Audio-Visual/Speaker Support, and Meeting Room Set sections of the book.