Effective venue sourcing is key for the success of your next conference, meeting or trade show. Not long after the lights dim on the last event, association planners are discussing where to host the next annual meeting or congress. With so many things to consider and all the options in terms of destinations and venues competing for business, the selection process can be a daunting.
Hone in on the specifics and compare all your options. If you hope to get a good deal you need to prepare a comprehensive and detailed Request for Proposal (RFP). You’re going to need to invest some solid time into creating this document so that you have a clear picture of exactly what you want and need. Your RFP will act as your briefing document, outlining every detail of your event so that you can easily compare destinations and venues offering the best deals.
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The specification document may contain information such as venue space requirements, draft programme format, social event plans, hotel accommodation requirements, requirements for ground arrangements, transport and travel access.
Depending on the selection process you adopt, and therefore the third parties who will receive this, you may also want to request information on what sort of financial or “in kind” local support may be available. It is important to be clear on expectations so that it is clear and up front to all parties from the outset.
You will also need to look at your organisation and recognise what your restrictions could be. This could be the level of resources within the organisation to actively coordinate this process, your association’s constitution or even the people who make the final selection decisions. By noting these down you can then evaluate which venue sourcing method is best for you and your organisation. There are a number of commonly used methods that may be used either independently or as a combination.
More venue sourcing options:
- By using a PCO accredited by IAPCO. Some associations outsource this function to Professional Conference Organisers (PCO) who can do all the “leg work” in selecting your next congress destination. The benefit of using an international experienced agency is the first hand experience of delivering conferences in various countries and cities. They can provide valuable insight into what will work and what won’t which may affect your final choice. Always make sure to work with a IAPCO member PCO.
- Approach venues and destinations directly through convention bureaus or us an industry association such as International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA). One of the advantages of using trade association such as ICCA is that it enables you to distribute your request to a wide international market very quickly and effectively.
- Tab into your membership base and engage your members in the selection process. By using a chapter or local members, you can get a helping hand with the both the logistical management and or financial risk.
- By using an informal expression of interest: Many members and destinations proactively approach associations to bring their next event to a particular city or venue. By using this method you can simply choose from one of the options that have been presented to you.
Related: Engagement in Association Management
The next step
There are definite ways to be more efficient in your venue sourcing. By using the resources and networks available to you, you can actually find yourself saving both time and money. Obtaining the proposals, offers or submissions is just the first step in the selection process. It is important to always double check that your choice will actually meet all your event needs and requirements. You should always feel confident in your shortlist and, most important, your ultimate choice should be one which will encourage your members to attend!
Download now our White Paper “Effective Venue Sourcing For Your Next Conference” and gain deeper knowledge and a broad view about venue sourcing for you and your organisation.