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The RGI Blog

Three Tips for Choosing Your Annual Conference Location

For many associations, an Annual Conference represents a large portion of revenue. With so much on the line, you need to ensure your event location will boost event attendance rather than deter it. But site selection is more than simply finding a beautiful hotel. If you’re a volunteer leader who hasn’t experience site selection before, here are three tips to help get you started. 

Tip 1: Map it out.

How does a conference city get selected? The answer is complicated, and it depends largely on the needs and wants of your attendees.

Think critically about all these factors before narrowing down potential conference cities.

Tip 2: Narrow down the venue.

Once you have narrowed down cities, you still have to find the perfect venue. Again, factor in the needs of your attendees. Create a matrix of critical items so that you can objectively measure each venue’s ability to meet your needs. Ranking factors could include:

Be sure to do an in-person visit of any venues that are on your short list so you can see and experience the venue yourself.

Tip 3: Know your contract.

Once you’ve selected your venue, it’s time to negotiate a contract. Your group may have specific contract language that is important to the success of your event. This could include food and beverage costs, cancellation clauses, room block minimums, hotel room rate parity, or a long list of other key items that protect the financial stability of your event. In a contract, everything is negotiable, and you’ll want to know where you can give and where you should push. An event of this size is a significant investment for your group, so take appropriate steps to protect that investment. But remember, it is a negotiation and being a good partner from the start is important.

With so much riding on your conference, it’s no surprise that there are so many considerations to site selection. By keeping the above factors in mind, you can ensure a great experience for your attendees. And if you ever need help with your event’s site selection, contact us. RGI provides site selection services for dozens of events across the globe each year, and we can help set you on a path for success.