Choosing a business convention site can be an overwhelming task. There are a multitude of details to consider, including price, hotel amenities, location, and much more. And once you’ve finally chosen a site, you’ll need to spend a great deal of additional time planning for the convention itself.
Factors such as these lead many people to enlist the help of professional meeting and convention planners who are trained to search out the best locations within the price and amenity parameters you set for them. For a state-by-state listing of available convention sites, check out the Convention Center & CVB Directory.
If the cost of hiring a planner is beyond your means, or if you’re simply the type who likes to go it alone, ask yourself the following questions when looking for a business convention site:
- Is the location near a major airport? Bear in mind that the majority of your convention attendees will be flying in, so you need to find a location within commuting distance of a major urban airport. Also, make sure there are adequate airport shuttle services available, and that they operate around the clock, seven days a week.
- Does the location offer adequate hotel facilities? Have you ever attended a business convention and been forced to stay at a hotel miles away from the convention’s headquarters? Business professionals will think twice about attending if there aren’t adequate hotels within a few blocks of the convention site.
- Do the hotels offer a wide range of guest amenities? These days, guests are looking for more than just a place to sleep at night. Make sure the hotel you’re considering is competitive when it comes to freebies and amenities. High-speed wireless Internet, a business center, spacious rooms, and an onsite health club are just a few of the things your convention attendees will be looking for.
- Are there many restaurants nearby? Before signing on with a convention center, make sure there’s an adequate number of good restaurants within walking distance. It’s also a smart idea to contact several area restaurants to ask if they’ll offer a discount to convention attendees, which will benefit both parties.
- Is there adequate meeting space? There is nothing worse than attending a convention only to be crammed into small meeting rooms with other attendees. Make sure the rooms will be large enough to accommodate the number of visitors scheduled to attend.
- Is the trade show floor big enough? If you want your convention to be a success, make sure you’ll have enough room to house the many exhibitors and vendors that might possibly attend.
- Are there family-friendly attractions nearby? Convention attendees often arrive with their families in tow. Make sure the location you choose has a variety of things to see and do within a five-mile radius.
- Are a wide range of conference services offered? Make sure the sites you’re considering offer a range of services, including meals and refreshments, and that there will be waiters and other support staff on hand to provide these services. Read How to Get a Convention off the Ground for more help on this topic.
- Is the venue quoting you the best price? Don’t sign up with the first venue you find. Compare prices and services, and don’t sign any contracts until you feel that you’ve selected the location that offers the most things that you are looking for.