Site Selection Tips For Events And Meetings

Photo Courtesy of The Marriott Marquis Level 33, Chicago

Commit To The Planning Phase

Preparing your next corporate event doesn’t have to be as stressful as you imagine it to be. We are aware that there are many things to consider when choosing your event venue. Popular sites usually book out 1-3 years in advance, less popular sites at about 4-6 months out, so start venue planning and research as early as possible.

Trust us, there is no room for panic. Selecting a venue for your next corporate event becomes a breeze when you know exactly what you are looking for. To help you with this, we have created a planning guide to help you make the right decision, and we also take a look at some unusual venue ideas to consider.

Photo Courtesy of the London House, Chicago

Before We Start

Let’s establish some ground rules right from the start. These rules will guide you through the decision-making process and formulated by answering a few simple questions:

  • Do you want to be inspired by the venue?
  • Do you want the venue and attendee-experience to be memorable?
  • Do you want a venue that encourages engagement?
  • Do you want it to have photo friendly backdrops used to capture amazing images?

Remember, attendees are seeking personalized event experiences that will engage them on multiple levels. Today’s events are the one that attendees want to Tweet or Post an Instagram update about.

The venue is the first thing your event attendees will judge your event on. This is your first impression. You have 7 seconds to make your mark.

Make Attendees Excited About Venue Selection

Evaluating A Potential Site For The Event

Let the event objectives guide the location selection. Are you planning an incentive trip for an annual conference for association members who plan on extending their trip and then stay for a family vacation?  Is it a high-level business meeting with global attendees? If the meeting’s purpose is to teach and train with limited social activities, then a conference center or university facility would be the best fit.

Take Attendees Point of View

Experience the venue in the same way you envision your attendees will. Create a checklist before you inspect the venue. Your list has the attendee’s experience in mind. Number one item may be a temperature check. Would you be excited to visit it and spend a day or two inside?

Remember, innovation and improvement are sparked by spaces that inspire and encourage collaboration. Select a venue where attendees can collaborate and share big ideas.

Experience The Traffic Flow

Grab an illustrated floor plan of your top three venues. Then take a walk through each one and take note of the flow of traffic. Begin planning for scenarios like the need to move people from one break-out session to the next. Everyone needs to be seated in a prompt, and efficient manner.

Investigate the Wi-Fi performance and count the number and location of the outlets. To maximize networking and collaboration, find a venue that is shaped well. Don’t let large pillars placed in the middle of the room get in the way of encouraging collaboration and networking.

Provide Attendees Easy Access To The Event

Attendees expect to be able to access the venue with ease. If they come by cab, drive themselves, or take a coach bus, it should be pain-free for them to transition from their commute into the venue.

Take advantage of technology such as Parking Panda in Chicago, send out parking options via email. Build a webpage with driving directions much like the LA Convention center easy to use parking planner.

Help Attendees Explore The Host City

Events bring new people to new cities who are ready to work and explore. Attending all-day conferences is quite the workload, so make sure you use all the available tools to help attendees source food, entertainment and explore.

Create tourism opportunities and deals with local businesses to give attendees discounts at restaurants, bars, entertainment and tourism venues around the city. Maybe you can use a chatbot, like the SXSW Go App. The app not only helped attendees find events but also supercharged networking opportunities.

If you truly want to transform your event into an experience your attendees will remember for the rest of their lives, you should consider booking a unique venue.

Unique Venue Ideas

Although a hotel or purpose-built conference center is the apparent choice, you can also consider a unique or unusual venue. Unique venues are perfect places to deliver unique and memorable attendee experiences.

London in the Sky

This is an opportunity to create a unique brand experience. The public and your attendees will talk about and share this integrated experience with whoever will listen. Each Sky Table seat 22-guests is lifted 100 feet into the air, where you can get an eye-popping view of the horizon.

Dinner In the Sky
Brunels Train Station Unique Conference Venue

Brunel’ Old Station

One of the oldest train stations in the world is in Bristol, England. An airy conference venue used for a variety of events including conferences, corporate hospitality, special events, and festivals. The location is easy to get located next to Temple Meads Railway Station in the center of Bristol.

Casa Fuzetta

Located in Olhão, Portugal, Casa Fuzetta sleeps 24 people with the space to host sit down lunch or dinner or up to 30 people on the kitchen or pool terrace. The luxurious private villa is available on an exclusive basis. Event spaces include a wine vault and a rooftop pool terrace. Perfect for a high-level business meeting with global attendees.

Casa Fuzetta Unique Venue idea
Bunker 42 Moscow Event Space Ideas

Old War Bunker

Architects have turned old bunkers into all sorts of creative spaces. Bunker-42 stretches  75,000 square feet, with room for 302 guests and lies 213 feet underground. Built in Moscow in 1951, this super-secret bunker was built to be the communication command post for communication for the Soviet Union in the event of a nuclear war.

Site Selection Takes A Professional

Maddie Breedlove Production Assistant

Maddie Breedlove – Production Assistant

With our help, you will be able to organize a memorable event and exceed event-goers expectations. We will need to begin looking for a venue as early as possible. Most venues book-out 2-3 years in advance, so let’s begin by establishing a budget, determining the estimated event size and spelling out the space requirements.

My favorite venue in Chicago is the Theatre on the Lake. The flexible event space does not have any pillars and can host up 1,500 guests. The south view of the horizon overlooking Lake Michigan is priceless. Attendees will be excited about attending an event at this site. Expect an uptick of social media mentions.

Where you have your conference or event is important. As a very experienced and very capable corporate event planning company we take the due diligence to take you through a very thorough site selection process. The site selection review includes a detailed historical analysis, a custom RFP with site review, a site visit with clients and contract negotiations. Let us go to bat for you.

Let’s plan!

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