Venues are a vital part of a meeting’s program. Typically event venues are used for the social components of a meeting. They are also what takes up a considerable amount of time when proposing to a meeting planner. Often the venue is off-site, meaning that you are taking the group from their hotel to a specific venue for a specific function.
From a suppliers point of view the venue selection is the creative portion of a proposal. And it’s often these areas of the proposal that leads to a company winning that piece of business.
So you can see why it’s important to propose the right venue for the right client. Pricing is an important, no doubt. However what many planners are often looking for in a proposal is creativity. This can be a difficult task for a supplier. As Walt Disney said: “you don’t build it for yourself, rather you find out what the people want and you build it for them”.
The same can be said for proposing venues.
3 Techniques to Use for Selecting/Proposing Venues
Previous Programs. While this sounds easy enough, you’d be surprised at how many suppliers never contact previous suppliers of the same group. When I was working in full-service destination management, one of the first steps that we would take would be to contact the previous suppliers. It also helps you prevent proposing similar style venues that have already been used by the group.
Reputable Venue Resources. There are many venue directories online today (some we have featured right here on this website). As an example, BizBash is an excellent source for venue information. Another source would be to contact the local CVB (Convention and Visitors Bureau) as many of their members are venues that are used to working with groups.
Your Social Media Contacts. This is where you can really put your social media time to good use. In particular I would turn to the social media accounts that have specific groups. Google+ and LinkedIn are two resources that I use often when looking for venue ideas. Pinterest is another good resource as it provides visual overviews as well as links to the venues itself. The bonus here is that you can reach out to like-minded people and get valuable information and feedback that can help you win the business.
Quite often it’s the creative side of a proposal that will determine who is going to get the piece of business. Many suppliers tend to focus on pricing and ensuring that they are the cheapest. Now don’t get me wrong, pricing is vital to a proposal. However, as many meeting planners will tell you, pricing alone is not enough to award a contract. The planner is looking for creativity that they can, in turn, communicate to their delegates to help promote attendance. Taking the time to do the proper research for venues will help increase your chances of being awarded the piece of business.