Like that old Rolling Stones’ tune, sometimes you can’t get what you want, but if you plan in advance, you can get what you need.
Here’s the situation. Canada is a hot, hot, hot destination this year and the United States is in a seller’s market. Data shows that Canadians are staying home to celebrate the 150th Anniversary and the rest of the world is coming to join us. This is a trend that appears ready to stick around for the next several months. That means conference venues and accommodations are in high demand. In fact, in some of the major cities, no vacancy signs are already up.
What does this mean to you as an event planner? You must manage expectations, both yours and more importantly, your Boards’. The next several months of site selection searches will require a team that’s flexible and on top of what’s going on in the market.
Yes, it’s exciting to be where the action is, but consider all the issues that add up to your success. Prices are up and hotel occupancy is up, so make sure you do your research. Look at where and what’s worked in the past and have other plans firmly in your back pocket.
Scope out what you need for a great conference and remain open to alternative options too. If your pattern is east, west, central, you may want to consider the opposite rotation or even better, allow the proposals that come back to determine the pattern. At The Howes Group, we can help you by conducting multiple, concurrent venue searches. You’ll know what’s available and where. We’ll help you confidently manage everyone’s expectations with your event.
What will make your delegates eager to attend and make the best of their time together? Prioritize what your group needs and knowing what the hotels need is key to finding the right venue. This may mean a lot to negotiate. It may mean you’re going to compromise, and just maybe you should be prepared to walk away from the Location A in favour of the amenities offered at the less busy, but equally welcoming Location B.
Bottom line is this: a conference is about business, results and networking. Canada has a lot of great sites, so if Plan A doesn’t work out … you already have Plan B ready to roll.