Small Market Meetings

OCT 2016

The Newspaper for Smaller Cities, Facilities and Planners.

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October 2016 11 Tell All About Your Past Don't make venues or CVBs dig into your past meetings. Provide several years' worth of history about the meeting — where it was held, attendance, room pick up, food and beverage, ancillary expenditures, audiovisual and technological requirements. "The more information the planner can share the better," said Browning. "Often planners keep history close to the chest, but that is not in their best interest." Limit Your List of Concessions The recession gave planners power when it came to getting conces- sions, and many got in the habit of asking for a lot. Even in a seller's market, some continue to do so. "I've seen and heard horror stories about laundry lists 20 to 30 items long of concessions," said Browning. "Suppliers will look at that and say, 'Wow, this is not worth it to me.'" Instead, prioritize extras and make it clear which are deal breakers. "Tell us your hot buttons," said Berkoski. "Be specific about what you really need." Don't Send Too Many RFPs Online RFP systems make it easier to send more RFPs, and that's not always a good thing. Suppliers notice when an RFP has been blasted to 50 properties and are less likely to respond. Browning recommends narrowing RFP distribution to the five to 10 properties that make the most sense. Take a Look at Technology Needs When IACC polled planners, it learned that in the next three to five years, they expect bandwidth to be the No. 1 factor for choosing a conference venue, according to Mark Cooper, the conference center association's CEO. IACC's finding makes it clear that meeting planners must communi- cate their technology needs in RFPs. To not do so, Cooper points out, could result in thousands of dollars of unplanned expenditures if a meeting venue is under-equipped for a conference's technology needs. An estimator tool can help a planner determine those needs. "We provide a bandwidth estimator online," said Cooper. "It is simple to use and will tell you want you need to ask the venue in general if you are using multiple types of technology — apps, audience participa- tion, live streaming." Planners can also ask technology and audio-visual suppliers to pro- vide a rundown of their requirements, which could then be included in the RFP. "The more information the planner can share the better. Often planners keep history close to the chest but that is not in their best interest."

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