As we look to find the perfect venues for our corporate clients in 2012, we always need to keep in mind the objectives of the event, the overall budget, and the “look and feel” of the venue to provide the perfect meeting place. There are also several other things that drive us when looking for those extraordinary properties:
It might seem like this is a no-brainer, but especially in an age when all attendees and companies are looking for ways to cut costs, it is imperative that this is kept in mind when planning an event. It doesn’t make sense for our clients, much less the attendees they hope to attract, to have to come by plane, train AND automobile! While we used to think of an airport hotel, or one located within the immediate vicinity, as a negative, it is becoming more of an asset for our clients if they can just hop on a shuttle to their event property after a long flight. Also, consider the time of year you host your meeting and in what part of the country. If you’re really tight on budget, it can at times make sense for us to look into venues during a time that is considered “non-peak” for an area (think Chicago or New York -snow!- for a February conference, or Miami -hurricane season!- in October.) Just understand that there could be delays or other issues involved for your guests in getting to and from the venue, not to mention the airport, on time or with minimal effort.
A Real Sense of Place
Have you ever attended a meeting or conference in a desirable city, only to leave feeling that you never actually got to “see” or “feel” the city at all? This can go back to what I referred to in point #1, especially if it is a venue adjacent to an airport. If we are able to secure a metropolitan location for an event, it is in your best interest as the client to showcase, at some point, what a great area you’ve secured and that you thought about your attendees’ needs at the event. This could be done through a simple but chic cocktail party at the hotel’s rooftop bar, or if that’s not possible, perhaps in a beautiful, enclosed ballroom with panoramic views of the surrounding city. Special touches during this event could include featuring locally-brewed beer or spirits, as well as making sure that the staff on-hand is prepared to answer questions about the city’s great landmarks.
Keep It Local
Just as serving locally-brewed beverages during a cocktail party is a great idea, perhaps you could theme this year’s luncheons to reflect locally-grown or sourced products, as well as traditional local fare? The worst thing for your travel-weary attendees is to feel as if they’ve “seen this before” at other conferences. It will really make your event stand out if you serve a meal consisting of local favorites, while providing your guests with a menu pointing out all of the farm sources for today’s meal. As planners, it is our job to work with the venue to provide your guests with the best experience possible, and food can be a big part of that experience.
In our digital age, no matter where you plan to host your event, no doubt your attendees will want to not only see that you’re using the newest technologies, but that they can still adequately access the technology that they need throughout their stay. As we explore venues for our clients, we want to ensure that they are wired for all attendees to have wireless internet access, strong connections (so that attendees aren’t missing and dropping calls, and so you are never interrupted during a presentation), capabilities for all types of presentation formats, and a strong technical staff onsite to assist with your every need throughout the event. And there is nothing worse than not having a back-up (or better yet, a back-up for your back-up!) when it comes to things like wireless mics, projectors or the internet connections. And, most hotels are becoming more negotiable on in-room or meeting room internet access, as this is no longer on the “nice to have” list, but is on the “must have” list for any event or meeting.
If you have questions on any of the above, or want to talk to Hello Productions more about your next corporate meeting or event, please contact Lindsey Bradley at lindseyb@helloproductions. We’d love to talk to you about all the ways that we can make your next event extraordinary!