Top 7 Strategies for Frinding the Perfect Meeting or Event Space
By Jeffrey A. Marks
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Very few businesses have professional meeting planners on staff. The job of planning those important off-site events often falls to an administrative assistant or a human resources director. That person may not have the training or the time to seek out a great event space, the one that has the best facilities and amenities, is in the right location, and is available on the right dates.
It’s a daunting task. Dozens of little tasks have to be accomplished for a successful off-site, but the first is finding the venue. And as any event planner will tell you, when all does not go well, co-workers and supervisors are quick to point out where the selection went wrong.
As an occasional meeting planner, how do you maximize your company’s investment in an off-site event? Here are some tips from successful planners.
- Start with a list of the necessities—things like parking, projection system, adequate seating, pricing, catering, distance—and keep a scorecard as you compare.
- Search online. Few event spaces will complete the booking online because of all of the details that need to be worked out, but there are good databases of meeting space that can be found through Google, Yahoo or any other search engine. Type in what you are looking for (“event space”, “board retreat”) and the location you’re thinking about, and you’ll get great information to start with.
- Network with your colleagues in companies you deal with. A good meeting location is hardly proprietary information; they’ll usually be delighted to share their discoveries with you.
- It may be a convention, but be unconventional. Hotels have great meeting spaces, but so do religious organizations, museums and civic groups. College campuses have plenty of meeting space, plus catering, sleeping rooms, parking and more. It may not be glamorous but it can be a first-rate location at an economical price.
- Corporate board rooms go unused most of the time. Your bank or your law firm may not promote the fact but many of them lend their space to their clients at no charge. Or ask your vendors. They want a happy customer so if they have meeting space, letting you use it is another way they can be of service to you.
- Near water? See what’s available afloat. Once you have left the dock, you have a captive audience.
- Call a caterer. They serve event spaces all over town. They will know which ones get the best feedback.
Jeffrey Marks is chief operating officer for Eventective (http://www.eventective.com), headquartered in Portland, Maine. Eventective.com is the premier marketing tool for restaurants, hotels and other venues, with more than 15,000 properties listed. Whether its for a corporate meeting, wedding, party or any other kind of gathering, planners can search the site by location, zip code, room size and other criteria, then contact the facility immediately to book their event space or meeting location.
Article Submitted On: June 24, 2005