by Jessie States, CMP, CMM | Head of Meeting Innovation at MPI
The site selection process is much more than simply choosing a destination and facility for a meeting. The wrong site can compromise even the most well planned, attended and designed event. To effectively select the optimal destination and location for a meeting, you must follow these six basic steps.
- Identify meeting objectives
- Develop the meeting format
- Determine physical requirements
- Define attendee expectations
Only after you have determined these four steps can you move on to the final steps of a.) selecting a destination and b.) issuing requests for proposal. To determine your site specifics, you should review the following.
- Desired or required geographic location and type of facility for the meeting or event
- Spatial needs, proximity and housing patterns and accessibility requirements
- Dates and durations of site occupancy
- Any other site selection criteria (accessibility, environment, hotel accommodations, meeting space, food & beverage service, exhibit space, offices and other services, equipment)
Next, reduce potential destinations and type of facilities to a short list. Then, send your requests for proposals (RFPs) to the local CVB (convention and visitors bureau) or facilities in your desired destination(s). Provide as much information as possible in the RFP. Then, review the proposals you have received based on dates, rates, space, guest rooms and—most importantly—the goals and objectives of your meeting or event.
Pro Tip 1: If you’re scoping out a certain city or facility, ask for a list of people who have recently held a meeting or conference there. he most candid and willing comments are from people who have been in your shoes.
Pro Tip 2: If possible, conduct a site visit before you decide on a destination or venue. A site inspection is a personal, careful investigation of a property, facility or area. It is necessary to properly evaluate your site for its potential to deliver on promised value for your event. It will also help you to determine service and value levels in person.
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The Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) credential is a prestigious honor thousands have earned over the last 15 years. Adding the CAP after your name proves to the world not only that you have the knowledge to be great at your job, but also that you are committed to your profession, success, and lifelong learning.