By Jeffry Farman, past Global President, International Association of Conference Centres and director of CountryPlace Conference Centre
These days, residential conference events can represent a heavy cost to organisations. Time lost with many people away from the workplace, travel expenses, facilitator costs, accommodation, food and beverage, entertainment to name a few. Clearly, the expense will ensure every attempt is made to get good ROI. Then, if it is your job to select a venue for your business event you had better get it right.
Conference venue selection is one of the most important aspects of planning a conference. But how do you go about it, ensuring a good chance of success? An experienced conference venue will work with you to achieve your goals. Some other venues, such as hotels or motels, whose main business may be general travel accommodation, functions and weddings will not have the same focus as a dedicated conference venue. A specialist conference venue. So, take care.
Location, location, location.
There are many issues you will need to consider in your selection. Probably the first is the location. Where do you want to take your event? To the mountains, by the sea, to wine country? Most organisations these days are loath to spend more than 45-60 minutes travelling so distance (ytravel time) to the venue can be an issue.
Then you will probably want a peaceful yet stimulating out of town location that is conducive to learning and without the distractions of major city hotels with families, travel guests, poker machines, pubs and night clubs nearby.
You will probably be looking for a venue that has been purpose built and equipped for conferences. Meeting rooms with good natural light and ergonomic chairs that provide all day comfort for the delegates.
It would also be nice to know that an experienced conference co-ordinator will be assigned to your event. Someone who knows how to help you make your event the success you want. And need.
Fair and reasonable costs
For budgeting purposes. it would be good to know that you have an all-inclusive rate for 24 hours, per delegate. No hidden extras. Some hotels have a base price then costs that just seem to go . . . plus . . . plus . . . plus. Sometimes quite a shock at the end.
Conference Venue Checklist
Of course, there are many more things to consider before you select a venue. That’s why we have put together our Conference Venue Inspection Checklist to help you ask the important questions of each of your short-listed venues. It’s FREE. And it’s available now.