Site selection is a crucial factor in the success of your meeting. Once you know your meeting objectives, budget, program and estimated attendance, you can begin to determine the space you need for your meeting:
- Determine sleeping room needs
- Determine banquet facility needs
- Consult facilities guides, hotel sales centers or CVBs as resources to identify potential sites
- Contact facilities to determine availability
- Inspect potential sites
- Determine where attendees are coming from
- Does the city actively solicit meeting business?
- Is there a convention budget?
- What services do they offer?
- Publicity campaign
- Promotional mailings
- On-site public relations help
- Planning assistance
- Registration personnel
- Bonded cashiers
- Housing bureau
- Planning assistance
- Tour coordination
- What materials are available?
- Black & white photos
- City guides & maps
- Which airlines serve the local airports?
- Direct service to how many cities?
- If service is concentrated within certain hours, which ones?
- Could these times affect meeting opening and closing hours?
- Distance from airport to hotel site in hour/minutes/fares
- Schedules & charges for limousine service?
- Which car rental companies have airport counters?
- What are rush hours for local traffic?
- New facilities planned prior to the meeting?
- Is there a sales tax? Room tax?
- Distance between hotels and prime attraction?
- Is a multi-hotel convention possible?
- Are there meeting rooms available?
- Local union regulations to consider?
- Names & addresses for references?
- Recreational facilities accessible to attendees?
- What is the area's general security status?
- Any specific areas to be avoided?
- How do prices at this site compare with last year's site?
- Which local attractions are appropriate for attendees? (Museums, theaters, football, baseball, horse racing)
- Which restaurants in the immediate area would match attendees preferences?
- Hometown talent that you can incorporate into the meeting?
- Shopping areas of interest to your group?
Depending on the type of meeting, promoting it may be as simple as sending a letter of flyer to attendees to announce what will be covered at the next meeting. Other events - a three-day educational conference, for instance- that could require several direct mailings to attendees.
Include the registration form or card in the materials you send out. Be explicit about your deadline for registration, as well as who attendees should contact for hotel and airline reservations.
This is also the time to determine what signage you'll need at your meeting. Signage is very important to avoid confusion and misunderstandings during the meeting. Don't assume that your attendees will just figure out where to go. Also, determine who will be supplying name tags or badges.