Locking down a venue can often be the most difficult part of coordinating a corporate meeting or event. Any meeting, no matter how well-planned it may be, can be undone by a poor meeting location choice. Make sure you avoid these common mistakes when choosing a venue!
Creating unnecessary travel for your attendees
Like the old real estate adage says, "Location, location, location." The facility you choose is arguably the most important part of the meeting planning process. When picking a venue, ensure it minimizes the amount of daily travel and steps to get everyone on site and ready to go. Once you've decided on the locale, think about what you want your daily meeting or event schedule to look like. Will your attendees need access to food onsite? If not, what restaurants are nearby? Are their hotels within a reasonable distance from the venue? What does traffic look like in the area? The more travel time you can eliminate from the daily activities, the more time you can spend getting down to business.
The bottom line: Make sure you pick a venue that will allow you to maximize the time you have with your team.
Finding a great facility for the wrong type of event
You've found a beautiful hotel conference center with plenty of meeting rooms. With accommodations available right there in the building, it seems like the perfect spot to host your event. However, it's important to consider the strengths and specializations of each venue on your short list. In many cases, hotel event facilities are designed with personal events (weddings, banquets, parties, etc.) in mind. Because hotels usually offer services à la carte, you could also be looking at hidden equipment and setup labor costs, the inability to choose your own vendors, or even having to source what they don't have from somewhere else.
If possible, holding your event at a dedicated, purpose-built corporate meeting facility can eliminate a lot of hassle from your planning process, as these facilities will be well equipped to handle business events. In many cases, they also offer a full suite of additional corporate meeting services and on-site amenities to make your event a complete experience.
RELATED ARTICLE: Why To Avoid Booking a Hotel For Your Next Meeting or Training Event
Picking a space that only looks good online
If you’re searching for venues online, be wary of the accuracy of meeting room photos you see —what you see is not necessarily what you get. We're not saying that most venues misrepresent themselves, but you might not actually be looking at the exact same room you're planning on booking. Some venues can have dozens of rooms that look similar to one another with slight variations here and there, so facilities will often use the same set of photos for multiple rooms.
If possible, try to schedule an in-person site visit to check out the meeting venue. Obviously, this isn't possible in every case, but it's definitely the best way to truly understand the offerings and flexibility of a given facility and its meeting rooms.
If you do have to book a venue site unseen (pun intended), make sure you do your homework and pick a reputable venue and services provider. Check out their client list (many offer this on their website), take a look at reviews, and don't be afraid to ask for references and testimonials.
Assuming reliable, complimentary internet access
These days, it's not enough for a venue to just say that they have a wireless network for attendees to connect to. Quality of wireless network infrastructure can vary widely from facility to facility. In some facilities, high-speed connections are a extra add-on that must be purchased. Be sure to inquire about speeds, bandwidth, and what areas of the building have access to networks Depending upon the type of content your team is working with, your group may also need its own dedicated connection (which may come at an additional cost). If you plan on streaming a large amount of HD video content, dedicated bandwidth is definitely something you'll want to consider. It's always a good idea to make the facility aware of the number of users and type of content you'll be accessing on their network.
Taking on all the planning yourself
Finding the right venue is one of the most difficult parts of any event planning process. There are many factors and variables to consider and coordinate—locations, technology, facility types, budget, potential hidden costs, and more.
The good news is that companies like MicroTek specialize in handling all aspects of the corporate meeting events process--everything from venue and site selection to contract negotiation and logistics management--so that you don't have to.
Learn more about MicroTek's comprehensive, all-inclusive meeting space packages here.
Looking for more great meeting and corporate event planning tips? Download our FREE ebook: The 5-Step Guide for Busy Meeting Planners.