Selecting a Destination
- Determine if there are any goals or needs that might make a particular destination more preferable.
- Choose a convenient location based on where your guests are traveling from, their travel time and cost to reach a destination, and a site near air and/or ground transportation.
- Adhere to your organization's travel program and current arrangements with preferred hotels and airlines.
- Be aware of seasonal hotel occupancy rates, room taxes and recent changes in supply or demand that will affect your expenses. Schedule around big conventions or festivals that could limit hotel room supply and services during your meeting or event dates.
- Check flight schedules/frequency to your destination - most participants prefer direct, nonstop flights.
- Consider factors such as weather, security, political/social climate and labor considerations that may affect participation and/or costs of the event.
Finding the Right Hotel
- Determine the type of hotel that will best suit your meeting or event needs (an airport hotel, convention and meeting hotel, resort, conference center or all-suite hotel).
- Determine the type and number of guest rooms needed (singles, doubles, suites, specially equipped business rooms or rooms accessible for people with special needs.)
- Determine the number and size of meeting rooms needed; use past programs as a benchmark.
- Choose a hotel with facilities that meet your needs, such as sleeping and meeting rooms, restaurants, sightseeing and recreation options.
- Keep in mind the comfort of your attendees. Consider hotel services that will enhance the stay of special guests or VIPs.
Submitting Meeting or Event Specifications or a Request for Proposal (RFP)
After the preliminary research is complete, create a Request for Proposal (RFP). This allows a property to see, in writing, the information about your group. Preparing the specifications is a valuable process because it requires you to think about all the needs of the group. Be sure to document all site requirements, including:
- Preferred dates and optional dates (if available)
- Number and types of guest rooms
- Number, size and usage of meeting rooms and the times they are needed
- Range of acceptable rates
- Dates and types of meal functions and breaks
- Exhibits and any other special events or activities
- Any related information such as complimentary requirements
Inspecting the Site
No facility will look the same in person as it will on paper, nor will you be able to get a sense of service without going to the site. If your budget or time does not allow you to visit the site, the following options are available to you:
- Check with other people, including other planners, to see which properties they've used and which ones they would recommend.
- Use the Internet to view sites, and/or contact the local convention and visitors' bureau for materials, including facility descriptions, city maps, transportation information, etc.