Does Size Matter for a Convention Center?

When you think of a convention center, most of us think of a large conference facility in the center of town. At a glance, it appears that these convention centers cater to large groups or associations. While large groups and associations are certainly groups they target, you may be surprised to learn that many convention centers are also going for the smaller groups.

A Convention Center Is Equipped to Assist Event Planners

Generally speaking, convention centers are connected with the Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB). And that usually falls under a branch of the local government. Now I know what you’re thinking. Usually, when one thinks of working with a government agency, the thoughts of red tape and untold regulations start to enter into play. Luckily, convention centers are usually given the autonomy to conduct their own sales and marketing. And their management consists of experts from the event planning industry. All of this makes it convenient for event planners.

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By being associated with the CVB, event planners have an array of toolkits at their disposal.

The Types of Groups That a Convention Center Will Target

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Some of the negative aspects of working with a convention center usually centers around the cost for supplier services. The setup and tear down crew and the audio visual are a couple that come to mind with many event planners. Internet cost cost can be a factor as well. I’m finding that today, with portable Internet options available, that these costs are dwindling.

Over the last several years management at convention centers have begun to address the supplier cost perception. In other words, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn how low the fees can be for some of the services associated with convention centers. As they have ample catering facilities on site, their food and beverage costs are quite competitive compared to other meeting facility venues.

Typical groups that utilize convention center space:

  • Trade Shows
  • Association Meetings
  • Large-Scale Events
  • Weddings
  • Corporate Meetings

Weddings and smaller corporate meetings, in the past, were groups not normally associated with a convention center. But competition has changed over the last several years. Now, the sales people at convention centers actively solicit these markets. Convention center designs have changed as well over the last decade or so. New designs and layouts make it easy to market towards smaller groups as they can utilize smaller rooms without the feeling of being a small fish in a big ocean.

Another factor that is a plus for convention centers is their focus towards green meetings. Many are becoming LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified. Not only is working with a LEED certified building a PR plus, it can also shave dollars off the budget.

Working with a convention center used to be considered for large groups only. Convention centers have become more competitive over the last couple of decades. As well many are now becoming LEED  certified. Many also offer event planners complementary meeting toolkits to assist with their planning needs.

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