One of the more challenging elements of the planning process is determining where to hold your meeting. A mountain of work can go into researching your group’s needs, putting together the RFP, conducting multiple site inspections and then following up with additional questions.

Meetings Focus sat down with four meeting planning pros to gather their sage-like wisdom and break down the steps of the site selection process. Welcome to site selection boot camp!

Drill #1: Determine the needs of your group.
All of the planners we spoke with stressed the importance of first meeting up with your group (whether it be an individual client, association or company) to determine the needs of the event and what objectives they have in place.

“Planners have to get out of the destination mindset, meaning, okay, the destination is the draw, but what makes that destination meaningful to you meeting your objectives?” says Phillip Ridley, CMP, meeting and special event manager for the American Society of Anesthesiologists. “The city or venue needs to fit your audience, as in here are my demographics, here’s what my audience looks like—males versus females, Boomers versus Millennials—and figure out if they’re used to doing things a certain way or have certain expectations or income levels.”

Once you have determined the individual wants of your attendees, including ideology and whether a venue might clash with your particular event, you are ready to move onto the next step in the site selection process.