Site selection

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First the destination is chosen, and then a facility in that destination can be selected. The destination for a meeting must be carefully considered, looking at factors including geographic regions, accessibility, affordability, urban or suburban, resort destination, and gaming destination. It is important to prepare the meeting specifications prior to opening discussions with prospective destinations. Meeting specifications include requirements for space, dates, rates, and services. Space would include sleeping rooms, suites, number of complimentary rooms per paid occupied room, number and size of meeting rooms, exhibit space, registration area, audio visual requirements, computer and technology requirements, suitable storage space, office space, meeting dates, and types of events requiring banquet space. Dates would include the meeting pattern, such as Sunday through Wednesday or Wednesday through Saturday, and required or preferred month or week of the year. Historical data from previous meetings are important to show the type of attendance expected. First time events have the most difficulty in booking space. Location specifications take into consideration the accessibility of the location by plane, train, bus and/or automobile, as well as the number of seats on all planes flying to a destination per day, month, or year.

Meeting planners need to know if the attendees prefer affordable or luxury accommodations, if they want 24 hour room service, valet parking, shops, on site business center, and airport shuttle service. They must also consider the number of available hotel rooms in city for citywide conventions or the largest number available in a single hotel for meetings that want to keep attendees together. Convention and visitors bureaus are designed to assist planners, and have specific knowledge of the destinations they represent, as well as the hotels, conference and convention centers, non traditional venues, and suppliers that are needed to service a meeting.

Other items that affect the site selection include room rates, the number of complimentary (comp) rooms, suites and upgrades, food and beverage, meeting/function space rental rates, and 24 hour hold.

Reference

Krug, S., Chatfield Taylor, C. & Collins, M. (Eds.). (1994). The Convention Industry Council Manual (7th ed.). The Convention Industry Council.  

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