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Destination Appeal – Select the Best Fit for Your Group

October 12, 2015

Selecting a meeting destination and hotel property is an important decision. The destination can set the entire tone of the meeting or conference, increase attendee participation and help foster collaboration. Several factors come into play when choosing the right destination for your group meeting. The site selection process requires due diligence and can pay big dividends but can be quite time consuming. We’ve outlined several details that will aid meeting planners in selecting a destination and help ensure a successful meeting:

Attendee Preference
The first few steps are to determine what is most important to the company and its attendees. What are the objectives and, of course, what is the budget? What do they desire to get out of the meeting experience? Do you need a destination that offers plenty of opportunity for team bonding? Or one that offers unique activities and unusual venues? Is the area and ambiance just as important as the amenities? Does the group prefer to walk to local restaurants? Is a dine around more their style or is it important to keep them together in a larger venue? Do you need a destination that is easily accessible from national as well as international cities? Knowing the answer to these questions will certainly help streamline the destination selection process.

Meeting and Hotel Infrastructure
With all the hotels in the world, there are going to be specific ones that possess a heightened image. Nonetheless, this does not necessarily mean that they are the best location for your attendees and meeting. There are clearly many factors that come into play when choosing the hotel. Is the hotel in close proximity to the airport? Can it accommodate group size? How important is it to have VIP suites? Will you be the only group in-house over the requested dates? Is the conference room large enough if meetings are to be done in-house? If you prefer to hold meetings or any portion of the conference off-site are there locations nearby which can accommodate the entire group and how easy will it be to transfer the group? Knowing the basic needs of the meeting and attendees regarding hotel infrastructure will help narrow the selection.

Event History Data
Keeping accurate records and understanding past programs will help streamline the site visit and RFP process. Knowing the past history such as attendee turnout, registration numbers, total rooms booked, meeting content and flow, high points and low points, what worked and what didn’t and why will go a long way in securing the ideal destination and venue for your group. Hotels will look at a group’s track record, including the number of rooms booked and space utilized in order to determine if they can confidently block space for your meeting. Understanding your group’s past history will build credibility with hotel properties and can help with rate negotiations.

Destination Appeal
Certainly some destinations just by the nature of their very location will be more appealing than others. However, that being said, the ideal space for your particular group hinges on several factors, topping the list are typically cost, logistics and infrastructure. When conducting research on a destination it’s wise to involve the DMO or CVB as they have local knowledge and resources that can help find the perfect fit for your group. In the end though, a destination’s appeal can trump all other factors provided the budget remains in tact. We’ve worked with groups that were adamant about holding their entire conference on-site, yet when given the option to hold a portion aboard a luxury yacht with another segment in a local historical theater, the unique meeting space quickly became the sweet spot that held the most appeal. This type of thinking outside the box is often a strong point of the local DMO and can go a long way in developing a brilliant meeting.

While the pressure can be on to find the ideal location to in which host your meeting, doing your due diligence ahead of time can pave the way for a successful and impressive meeting experience. Who better to assist than your local DMO! Visit Newport Beach, the DMO for Newport Beach, CA works with meeting planners to determine the best possible fit for their group. As a destination specialist and partner, Visit Newport Beach offers meeting planner incentives and sponsorships that can extend the meeting budget.

Written by Visit Newport Beach Meetings

As a not-for-profit Destination Marketing Organization (DMO), Visit Newport Beach provides destination expertise, customized site visits, strong partnerships and resources tailored specifically to the needs of meeting planners and their clients.

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