As a meeting planner, one of my greatest angst comes with the selection of the right venue for my client. With all the new and interesting venues opening their doors in 2012, it can be downright overwhelming to whittle down the top 2 or 3 choices to present to the client. However, as we move into the new year, 6 important features come to mind and should be in any proposal you put together. They are:

Must Have #1: Easy Access for Attendees

We have become relatively impatient when it comes to getting to a meeting location. If a great majority of your attendees are flying into the conference, an airport property may be best because of its easy access and timely shuttle service. However, if attendees are driving, the ability to find the venue, good convenient parking, and/or valet service will make a difference to the attendee’s overall perception of the meeting.

Must Have #2: Value Pricing

Many venues make their money from conference services “add ons”, such as Wi-Fi access, in-house audio visual, and meeting room charges. In order to compare “apples to apples” when looking at venue pricing, have the sales person spell out all the charges individually on the RFP. Let them know you may go outside of the facility when renting audio visual equipment, for food and beverage, and other services.

Must Have #3: Local Resources

This is apart of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative that CIC is working on and coming out with very soon. The idea behind this initiative is that meeting planners should use local resources, whenever possible, to reduce the carbon footprint of the meeting and to put local people to work in the region. Using local food and beverage can also give attendees a sense of the cuisine and traditions in the area.

Must Have #4: Robust, Wired Rooms

Every venue claims they have Wi-Fi, but how fast, robust, and secure is it when 500 attendees are sitting in the meeting room with their mobile devices? Event organizers don’t want to be the ones at the front of the room saying, “The Wi-Fi is down right now…we’re working on it.” If you are going to rent iPads for mobile applications, consider renting a Wi-Fi booster to keep your attendees online, all the time.

Must Have #5: The Right Stuff

When conducting site visits, make certain to dialog with all the people on the team from the Banquet Captain to the Housekeeping Manager. Once you have chosen your partners, including any outside vendors, have a team meeting to make certain everyone knows all the players and who is responsible for what. Good communication, as well as having an attendee-centric team, is going to make for a great event and keep everyone happy.

Must Have #6: Adequate Storage

Because attendees are demanding more interactive technology tool rentals in their meetings and events, the AV team needs a fair amount of storage for all the containers and back-up units. Ask in the RFP for the room dimensions of any storage space and inspect it upon a site visit. Gain buy-in with your AV provider that the space is sufficient.

Are you event planning in California? AV Event Solutions is a locally-owned and operated provider of any audio visual equipment, Wi-Fi boosters, and technical support. Give them a call today!