When planning a conference, the convention center decision is always one of the more significant decisions. It’s the foundation for everything that follows. Top of the list for every planner is finding that perfect venue for all our needs, wants and requirements. Choosing a city location and venue can be an extremely challenging and stressful responsibility. As I have mentioned a time or two, when it comes to conference planning, success is definitely in the details. And when it comes to the task of selecting the perfect convention center there is an unbelievable list of details to keep in mind including location, price, hotels, availability and really so much more. Once the city and convention center choices have been made, it allows for all the other planning to begin.
Things to Remember When Selecting a Convention Center
Coordinating a conference with the appropriate venue can help turn a conference from okay to amazing. It really is essential to take into account the kind of convention center that will best fulfill the conference objectives and goals. In addition to knowing the conference needs, we must understand the program, the delegates, the reason for the conference and ultimately what is needed for success. And when looking for the best location and venue for a conference, there are so many different options to choose from. So by taking the time to plan and evaluate the essentials and depending on the actual conference; size, type and intention, deciding on the just right conference center can be as easy as 1-2-3.
Tips to Help When Selecting a Convention Center
In North America alone, there are too many convention centers to count. And no matter what, each and every convention center would not be appropriate or match our blueprint of requirements. So when it’s time to make that crucial convention center choice, keep in mind the following elements.
Building – Ask the questions; How old is the building; when were the last renovations completed, what is the vicinity to hotels, what makes the space special or different and what other clients are booked over your dates.
Space – It is imperative to ensure the building has ample space for your program and is big enough to hold the delegates. There is nothing more distressing than too many people in not enough space. When looking for success be sure the center is roomy enough and can accommodate the meeting size, set-up and number of meeting rooms needed.
Accessibility – Consider the delegates and how they will be traveling to the conference. Is the center easy to get to from the airport? Does the center provide any type of shuttle? What’s the parking situation like?
Convention Services – Convention Centers provide an array of services, some in-house and some not so much. Find out what they offer and think about the services that are important to you, the convention and success. If the service providers are contracted out and you are automatically committed to working with them without the opportunity to make your own choices. Find this out and negotiate prior to contact signing. It really is key to fully explore the venue and what they offer before signing on that dotted line.
Costs – Again, ask questions. Be certain as to what services are included in the rental cost. Does the cost include tables and chairs, set-up, break-down and clean-up? You’ll want to know the center regulations and restrictions as well as the cancellation policies. First and foremost avoid any surprises and assume nothing.