Every experienced event planner knows the importance of site selection but when it comes to destination, it usually goes emotional of the decision makers that event planners, especially conference organizers, put a lot of effort on getting the decision makers back to the reality. Therefore, as a professional organizer, what should we prepare and what the decision should be award of when the decision comes in place?
1. The Objective of the meeting
Always keep the OBJECTIVE in mind. If this meeting comes along with incentive purpose, an ocean-side resort is just right for your attendees to bring up their family. If the meeting is quite serious for many countries flew in, a busy international airport is requires for the attendees. So here are several common objectives of international gathering and its best match.
- Incentive Meeting : resort at beach side; 5-star hotel in an authentic city
- Academic Conference : Multi-functional convention center in an easy-get-around city
- Professional Meeting : hotel near an international airport with frequent carriers
2. The Background of all attendee
To understand your attendee will help not only the decision on destination but also every step in plan. Senior attendees will appreciate short journey while young sales force, for example, may want to go far. It is why we need to understand who are your guests.
3. The History of past meetings
Knowing where has been to is also a critical point that a fresh destination will motivate the attendance.
4. Clarify the Requirements
This point should be done after the initial inquiry. A RFP (request for proposal) will help. However, it usually changes when the plan becomes more specific. So, to clarify the requirements every time is suggested when every stakeholder gathers. The requirements may conclude the above and below but the key is to make sure everyone in the room is on the same page and all criteria is specific before the discussion goes further.
This speaks not only geographically but also politically - the VISA. Some countries are sensitive in this issue. Therefore, the easy accessibility to the destination for all attendees can only benefit when the VISA is easy to get.
6. Venue & Accommodation
When you pick up about 2-3 destination options, a venue detail should come through at the same time. Some destinations are popular for tourists but do not offer the right venue for your group. The same manner applies to Accommodation.
Every destination has its peak time so it is basic to check its availability on both venue & hotels.
8. Value of Money
Cost is the essential factor of a decision. Budget control is one task of a PCO so always keep track on the budget line and evaluate every single penny is worthy of value. The past cases for clients to compare will help them to understand where their money pays to.
A CVB (Convention and Visitor Bureaus) is another approach to make the meeting more valuable. Most CVB provides subsidy to inbound events when group size is big. So never forget to contact the local CVB and ask for the best treat from their monetary or other assistance.
After all the information collected, remember to prepare the comparison of your options (suggested in Table or Figure). Then, good luck with your presentation!
After your destination is confirmed, your venue should be decided soon. Yet, Venue Selection is another phrase to consider. Let's see the tips in the next post!