the bed have at least two outlets?” he said.
“No one wants to have to crawl under the
desk to find an outlet. Can you plug your
computer into the TV for video streaming?
These are becoming basics, but hotels
don’t always have them.”
Site selection in the midst of today’s robust
seller’s market means asking comprehensive questions about cost; questions that go
beyond room rates and food and beverage
minimums, according to Renee Radabaugh,
president and CEO of Paragon Events.
“You have to take in the whole picture
and the whole cost because it’s often the
seemingly little things that turn out to be
big problems,” she said. “How far is the
hotel from the airport and what’s the cost
of transferring? Are there resort fees and
can they can be waived? Get price lists for
audiovisual. Make sure there aren’t any
attrition fees you’re not aware of. Prepara-
tion before the visit and getting answers to
the right questions are necessary to make a
Jessie States, manager of professional
development for MPI, recommends that
planners share their goals and objectives
for the meetings and events with the venue
hosts when inquiring about rates.
“Your venue may not be able to host your
initial ask within your budget, but if they
know what you are trying to accomplish,
they may have even better and cheaper
options to help you get there,” she said.
“Be honest and look for win-win scenarios
where everyone comes out ahead.”
Mary Smith, event director for Smith-
Bucklin, said that coming to the site visit
with comprehensive data on meetings
history is essential for keeping costs down.
She recommends including such facts as
actual room block pickup, previous years’
hotel rates and total F&B spending.
“Data helps with negotiating contracts for
the site selection and also helps you make
the case for lower rates or fee reductions,”
she said. “Provide all relevant data so the
venue has a clear picture of your event.”
Perhaps the touchiest of all site selection
considerations has to do with whether
or not the destination or venue will raise
ethical concerns among the organization conducting the meeting. According
to States, 96 percent of respondents in a
recent MPI Meetings Outlook report said
their organization’s ethical stance impacts
their meetings-related decisions.
“Evaluating your audience’s and organization’s priorities will help you make
decisions based on the types of places and
spaces to hold events,” she said.
Radabaugh agrees that planners need to
address the concerns of the organization
when considering a site.
“It’s particularly crucial when a destination has a policy in conflict with a
certain segment such as immigrants or the
LGBT community,” she said. “Then it also
becomes a safety and security issue for the
group. You have to make decisions based
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