Myths about Meeting at Large Venues: True or False?

When it comes to booking meetings at large venues, some planners have a slight apprehension he or she will become overwhelmed with its size. Whether it is an emotional apprehension for their attendees or thoughts about service, I set out on a mission to find the answers to the most common thoughts a planner can have during a site tour at a large venue. I confided in our conference planning team at The National Conference Center; with 265,000 square feet of meeting space, the planners not only have experience in accommodating thousands of clients but have poise in doing so. Advice from the conference planning team, proved applicable for both venues and planners.

 “My group is just a number at a big property.”
True or False? FALSE

Planners: According to NCC’s conference planning team, if you build healthy relationships with your sales manager at the venue, no group of yours will ever feel like a number. However, the venue should provide a needs-based customer service approach. Selecting venues with this approach is a key indicator of the experience your group will receive before, during and after the meeting; in essence, your group’s experience will be catered to meet your requirements.

Venue: As a venue, you should be offering groups customized services to maximize each groups’ experience and meeting purpose. One NCC conference planning manager expresses, “I believe it’s necessary in this economy to customize service to match each groups’ needs, rather than a cookie-cutter concept of what you provide as a venue.” In other words, planners and attendees want and will remember an experience where they received hospitality. Hospitality is about the way you make them feel such as customizing their event, not about how you delivered service – service is expected.

 “This large venue will be overwhelming to my small group.”
True or False? FALSE

Planners: Planners, do not feel shy about addressing concerns to your sales manager. Let them know what makes you feel uncomfortable and be specific; see if their answers improve your qualms. For instance, is it the distance from guest rooms to meeting space? Or, the distance from outlets to other utilized space or just the general flow? Bear in mind that dependent upon space and dates, venues inherently have flexibility of the meeting space and type.

 Venues: While construction is not always an option, creating the least painful and most simple, straightforward process is doable. Venues should design an approach that alleviates any discomfort. During debriefing sessions, evaluate common themes cited among planners and create a solution. As a venue, you’re the expert on your own space and property; direct your sales team to always match the best space for each group’s needs – informal and cozy, or formal and training.

 “There isn’t a warm and cozy feeling at large venues.”
True or False? FALSE

Planners: At a large venue, you can emphasize areas that have a more intimate feeling. Nooks, crannies, small lounge areas for informal meetings, areas outside of meeting rooms and guest rooms can all be made use of to create the desired atmosphere. Lay out your expectations to the sales manager. If you’re meeting at an IACC certified conference center, you’ll also have the pleasure of having a personal conference planning manager for your group; outline those same expectations to your personal conference planning manager.

Venues: The more your sales team knows, the more ability your team has to anticipate a planner’s needs, a highly valued trait among venue staff. As a sales manager, your job is to plug away with curious questions for the planner; so don’t be afraid to be upfront and ask the planner what he or she is looking for and the desired ambiance of the meeting. It’s much easier to please a client when you have these candid conversations first.

 

Venues can use this advice to build relationships and trust with clients as well as improve upon their own opportunities. As a planner, use these busted myths to find a venue, large or small, who can guide you to make the best decisions for your program and provide the right kind of hospitality.

Have another myth I should bust? Send me an email: svining@conferenceecenter.com

 

 

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