SELECTING THE SITE
Decision time...if you have done your homework, you will be armed with information that will help you make good decisions about your site selection. Once your needs are identified, you must match them with the sites that can handle them. Determine the geographic location that best suits your event...the United States, the West Coast, the Northwest, Alaska, Hawaii, Canada... These are all decisions that determine from whom to request proposals.
RESOURCES TO SELECT THE SITE
You can call upon many resources to help you determine the best location for your event. Once you have narrowed the possibilities, you will be ready to make some comparisons and decide. Use the expertise of travel agents, Convention and Visitors Bureaus, Chambers of Commerce, professional planners--anyone that you feel understands your needs.
Develop specifications and requirements for your meeting. This is sometimes referred to as a "Meeting Profile." This will be the natural outcome of your Needs List. It may be as simple as, "I need a room and meals for 30 people on this date, at this time." It might include preferred dates, number of sleeping rooms, meeting rooms, types of food functions, range of acceptable rates, exhibit requirements, and special needs of your group. The more information you can provide, the better chance you have of getting what you want. Many groups provide a detailed history of their event or meeting and the monetary value it has to a property. The profile becomes a request to all sites you choose to bid on your business. Once bids begin to come in, the planner can begin the evaluation and elimination process. After selecting an appropriate number to consider--and that number is up to you--it is recommended that you conduct site inspections.
A site inspection is the best time to ask questions and get a good look at what each facility has to offer. It will be important for you to identify the property that can best meet your space requirements and the level of service you will need. Request references from groups with similar attendance and requirements, then contact them.