Three Things to Consider When Booking Your Meeting Destination
Your destination sets the tone of your meeting. It's as simple as that.
As a meeting planner, your task list probably looks like a spreadsheet on steroids. There are tasks within tasks, color codes for the most minute details and timelines that may seem impossible. However, most of those minute details can't be checked off the list until one thing happens – you select your meeting destination. And, once the destination has been selected, it's much easier for other details to fall into place. To help you through the first step, we’ve compiled a list of things to consider when choosing the location for your destination meeting.
1. Is travel important to your group? Have you polled your potential attendees or association members to learn their travel preferences? Do they prefer leisure travel and turning their business trips into vacations? Does your meeting destination offer fun or unique opportunities for pre- and post-conference add-ons? Better yet, will your destination’s CVB assist with planning those add-ons and soliciting group rates through its hotels and attractions? It may be a lot of questions, but they will likely pre-determine the success of your event.
2. Does your meeting fit the destination? Maybe you’ve fallen in love with a destination only to realize the area doesn’t fit your needs. If your group prefers offsite group meals rather than convention catering, can the CVB help you find venues who will accommodate your group? It’s important to think outside the meeting planning box, too. In addition to traditional meeting spaces, consider nontraditional venues, like amphitheaters. For example, The Amphitheater at The Wharf in Orange Beach, Alabama, features a stage and seating for up to 10,000. Is your meeting a board retreat for 20 attendees? Smaller Gulf Shores and Orange Beach hotels offer ideal meeting spaces for work retreats.
3. How will you get around? If your meeting is within driving distance of the majority of your attendees, transportation is likely not an issue. Gulf Shores and Orange Beach is an easy drive-in destination for most major southeastern cities in the U.S. For those flying in, two major airports flank Alabama’s beaches. Pensacola International Airport has non-stop flights from Atlanta, Chicago O’Hare, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Houston, Miami, Orlando, Tampa and Washington. Mobile Regional Airport offers non-stop flights from Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas/Ft. Worth and Houston. The addition of Uber, as well as taxi services, in these beach cities make in-destination travel easier than ever before.
To quote the 1989 movie, Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come.” It all begins with the destination. Start building your meeting with the basics by beginning with its location.