The Must Haves for Meeting Planners Booking Space
A perfect venue is one of the most essential parts in holding an amazing event! It provides the backdrop, sets the tone and the overall vibe from which everything stems. The venue will be the first impression your guests will have of the event itself, and clearly contributes to the success of a program. So what are the must haves for meeting planners booking space and how can you, as a venue or property, address these elements. We asked several meeting planners to give us their hot buttons when looking to secure space, here are their top concerns:
Location is a priority, with ease of access topping the list. It’s key to have a convenient space with little transfer time. For groups handling their own transportation, accessibility becomes even more important. Guests must feel as though they can get to and park at the venue without a hassle. A quick tip to accommodate attendees is to figure out the transportation to, or parking at the venue beforehand, then send directions, transfer and parking options to each guest. Easy equals enjoyable; the easier you make it for your guests, the more comfortable they will feel when they arrive!
Planners always think in terms of ‘what if’. What if it rains? What if it’s windy? What if it’s too hot/cold to be outside? What if the air conditioning breaks? As a property you have to be ready to answer these questions. Will the event be indoors, outdoors, or both? Will it be a meeting, reception or private corporate party? These are all essential questions that go into choosing a location.
Aside from location, meeting planners need to know space options and limitations. It’s not just the total guest count that matters; it’s what is actually occurring in the space. Is there room for a stage and dance floor? Can they pipe and drape? Can they flip the stage and change the room layout without disrupting food service? Is the flow from reception to dinner easy? Can they use non-traditional seating options? It’s never just about accounting for guests. Most planners prefer to work with venues that are ready with creative suggestions. “Doing this day in and day out, we feel like we’ve seen it all,” says Leslie Mann an independent corporate event planner. “Show me something I haven’t seen before, open my mind to some possibilities, and you’ll win my business.”
Does your space have flexibility? Can rooms be easily configured to accommodate breakout meeting sessions, or expand to handle a growing group? Are there meeting rooms adjacent to outdoor space, making it convenient for guests to take a refreshing break or capable of hosting an outdoor lunch? Having these options will ensure that your venue can flex to meet the need for multiple portions of a program.
Any event requires help from on-site staff. While most planners travel with a support team, they will look to your staff for assistance. Making sure you have a fully capable, experienced and communicative staff is a must for any planner. A helpful staff will ensure that the event runs smoothly and guests receive any necessary attention.
Quality of food is definitely a make or break factor for events! While your hotel or venue may have an excellent chef and a fantastic menu, make certain it is in line with the planner’s vision. Most planners will insist on a tasting before they will sign off on anything. It’s your venue’s reputation as well as the meeting planner’s that is on the line; make certain the food is up to standards.
Now that you know the must haves for meeting planners booking space, put your property at the top of their list and help make their booking decision easier by doing your homework. Know the groups’ past experiences, their program patterns, their likes and dislikes, what worked and what didn’t and why. Ask pertinent questions so you can position yourself as the best possible option.
Need some help determining the right fit for your group in a destination? Turn to your local CVB or DMO. In Newport Beach, CA that local expert is Visit Newport Beach. As a destination partner, Visit Newport Beach has the expertise that can streamline the meeting planning process and offers meeting planner incentives and resources to extend the meeting budget.