Location. Location. Location
Updated: Oct. 12, 2018 | Categories: National Perspective
Help chapters select the right meeting location for the success of their meetings and their chapter.
Selecting the right location can play a significant role in the outcome of your chapters’ meetings. National has a responsibility to guide its chapters in selecting locations that are both in line with the missions of the association and meet the needs of the chapter. National should use their expertise, and the information they obtain from talking to chapters in this advisement process.
Chapters like to hold meetings in same venue, which can get boring and presents a disadvantage to those not in the local area. Rotating locations can provide members with variety and a balance in distance. National should encourage chapters to reach out to them for assistance with their location options.
Once options are selected, the sites need to be evaluated. We consulted the experts from the National Association of Catering and Events (NACE) and got their take on it. Here’s what Andy Bomberger from the NACE Reno-Tahoe chapter had to say:
- Style of meeting: cocktail/mixer style reception with brief presentation or heavily education-based meeting. This will affect the type of venue you can choose. For example, a semi private room at a restaurant is perfect for a mixer type environment and you can generally avoid venue fees, however, the semi-private nature can be bad for any educational components and there may be heavy noise interference.
- Does the venue see value in exposure to your group? Some places may be willing to discount because they want to get in front of your audience for their own promotional gain. If it fits with your program let the venue post speak about their business and hand out information. Leverage the business your group could potentially give in return for a discounted space.
- Parking – sounds silly, but some amazing venues have complicated parking and can start the event off on the wrong foot. If there are special parking instructions, use a tool, like StarChapter, to email all of the event attendees a parking map and specific instructions a day before the event.
- Audio/Visual – test the acoustics in the space and visual presentation. Can your attendees see the presentation or is it washed out by natural light? Sounds silly again, but for some meetings you don’t need a microphone. The acoustics of the space and the presenter’s voice may be more than enough.
The location may not make or break a meeting, provided the content is amazing, but it can severely impact the attendance and enjoyment of the members. And if members don’t come or enjoy the meeting, then they may just stay home the next time – impeding the success of the chapters.