Keep an Open Mind
One of Morgan’s top suggestions for planners is to be flexible and maintain open communication with the convention and visitors bureau.
“In a community of our size, sometimes we just don’t have the space to meet a planner’s needs, like if someone calls and says, ‘We need 1,000 hotel rooms,’” said Morgan. “But we try to accommodate in any way possible.”
Even if a destination fails to meet all the criteria on a planner’s list, it may offer some beneficial alternatives, such as more affordable accommodations or off-site options. Convention and visitors bureaus can also help planners make adjustments to the itinerary when necessary, like when a venue or attraction seems too grandiose for the budget.
“We have some venues that are really nice, and people go, ‘Oh my gosh, there’s just no way,’” said Ulatowski. “So we’ll say, ‘Well, maybe you might just consider doing an event here one night and then doing your meeting somewhere else.’ Those are some of the tweaks we might suggest.”
Consider the Demographic of Your Attendees
Though planners cannot always accommodate everyone, it is advantageous to evaluate the different needs of those attending the event. For example, some planners may focus so heavily on the cost of the conference itself that they fail to consider the financial constraints of certain attendees.
“If we host a golf tournament, the players’ budgets are going to look a lot different than the caddies’ budgets,” said Morgan. “And that goes for airlines, food and entertainment.”
The sooner planners include these factors in the planning, the sooner the convention and visitors bureau can help find far-reaching solutions.
“When planners tell us those needs, then we can help them negotiate contracts that account for those needs, like including food and beverage,” said Morgan.