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How Your Meeting Objectives Drive The Destination

How Your Meeting Objectives Drive the Destination

Meeting planners, often when considering destinations for your next meeting or conference, the options can seem overwhelming! There are so many great places to choose from, and knowing where to go and when can be an exhausting exercise in decision-making and patience.

I’ve been working with meeting planners for over 12 years in helping them find the perfect venue for their meeting.  Some meeting planners know exactly where they’d like to go, and some planners, well, they’re open to anything.  And while being open to any possibility is not necessarily a bad thing, it can potentially lead to some decision paralysis when all things are considered equal.

In order to help with the decision making, taking a look at your goals and meeting objectives may help make your choice clearer.  Why are you hosting this meeting?  As you answer this question, destinations (or even hotels within a city or specific hotel brand) will become clearer for you:

How Your Meeting Objectives Drive the Destination:

    1. Networking – if networking and staying “after hours” is important, an out of town destination may help keep people onsite after the day’s sessions are over.  Hotels with a lively lobby bar are better fits over those with limited service on-site.
    2. Local Membership – if you’re trying to grow your membership in Eastern Canada, hosting your conference in Vancouver will not meet this objective.  Proximity to your potential members will increase the membership, and then you can take them away to another destination the following year.
  1. Business objectives – does a certain destination hold business value for your delegates?  It’ll be easier to tie in offsite tours, educational sessions and local speakers – all of which can lead to money savings and higher ROI.
  2. Down to business, and pressed for time – this is likely the objective for your smaller board meetings held several times a year.  If most of your board members are in Calgary, choose a hotel in that area that’s easy to get to with minimal distractions.
  3. Education and delivering prescribed content – events that have a compulsory training and certification component may be better suited for destination and hotels with few distractions.
  4. Increasing Attendance – Taking your conference away from the hustle and bustle of your delegates’ home city will be more attractive to those looking to create a “getaway” alongside the conference.
  5. Celebration – is your council celebrating a milestone meeting or conference?  Consider jazzing up your event by taking it to a venue that has a few additional amenities and create an experience for your delegates.
  6. Build revenue – hosting your conference at a mountain property may drive up attendance, but only if your “regular” attendees will make the trip.  Sometimes building revenue is easier in a city with a large membership base.  Take a look at your membership and see where the greatest opportunity for revenue growth lies.

As always, helping clients set their meeting objectives is a big part of our role at  ConferenceDirect.  If you have any questions at all about this critical part of the meeting planning process, I’m here to help.

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