For corporate events, finding the perfect venue is a key success factor. What's the perfect venue? The obvious answer is "It depends."
It depends on the size of the group, the theme, the budget, demographics, and a myriad of other factors.
While every event is different, there a few factors that are always important. It comes down to flexibility.
Location, Location, Location
Convenience and accessibility are always important when selecting a venue. For events in town, if the demographic trends towards under 30, proximity to public transportation is essential. There must also be ample and affordable parking for those who drive.
At foreign destinations, accessibility means groups don't want to travel for over an hour to get the resort after a long flight.
Sometimes, accommodation is selected long before groups narrow down options for the agenda and group activities. This is not the best approach. "Stay where you plan to play" is something I always advise clients, yet it's often forgotten. Participants won't appreciate hours of travel to get to and from the hotel for activities. If activities are going to be in the desert, stay in or near the desert. If time at the beach is important to the group, move to a beach resort after the desert activities have been completed.
Hotels with sister properties at a destination often offer flexible packages to allow groups to split time between the 2 properties. For groups with uncertain plans, you may want to include the option of moving a couple of nights to a sister property in the contract.
Meeting Room Options
Especially if a group has not finalized its agenda, select a venue with flexible meeting space that has comfortable seating and furniture that's easy to re-configure. If plans are up in the air, it's important to include right of first refusal for larger or smaller function space in the contract.
Cater to Diversity Demographics
If it's an incentive trip and participants can upgrade to bring families, make sure that practical and affordable options are available. Adjoining rooms, the option to upgrade to one or two bedroom units are important to ensure that the event is flexible enough to meet the needs of families.
If school-aged children or teens may be joining the party, ensure that the resort has a Kids Club and teen program. If infants and toddlers are travelling with the group, refrigerators in rooms are a welcome convenience and a nurse or doctor onsite is highly advisable.
Medical care will also be important if some attendees have physical challenges. Confirm that accessible rooms are available. Even if there are no special needs at the time of booking, bear in mind that, especially with physically active groups, there are sometimes sports injuries that have to be accommodated as the event date draws closer.
A diverse workforce also has implications for menu planning. Does the hotel have a plan in place to accommodate kosher, halal, vegan, and vegetarian dishes?
Golf and tennis stroke, that is. For incentive trips, a range of activities onsite or nearby will keep groups with diverse interests happy.
For business meetings, onsite gyms and spas are important for the satisfaction of some guests.
Resorts with separate family section and adult sections ensure that the party people enjoy themselves and families have peace and quiet.
These are just a few factors that add up to create flexible venues. Flexibility goes a long way to making a venue perfect.
For more tips on finding flexible venues, also read Designing Family Friendly Conferences, Retreats and Incentive Trips and Luxury All-Inclusive Resorts Deliver Value for Corporate Events.
Photo Credit: Reynermedia.