Last month, I met a Charlotte, N.C.-based meeting planner who was having difficulty getting the level of service she felt her group deserved. The sales contact was not responsive to her needs and she felt as if the in-house service providers were taking advantage of the fact that she had to work with them.
“What kind of venue is it?” I asked. “A convention center,” she replied. “How large is your group?” “500 people.”
Immediately, the room was abuzz. Other planners at her table started asking her why she was meeting in a convention center with a group that size. “Where else would I meet?” she asked. “Hotels,” said one. “I like museums,” said another.
Which brings me to the beauty of choosing an intimate space that fits your group like a glove. You don’t buy socks two sizes too large, so why book a cavernous space for a small group?
The benefits of choosing an appropriate size space are numerous. First, being the big fish in a small pond helps planners secure better customer service, because your needs are harder to overlook and it’s easier to make waves, if there’s an issue. Second, meeting in rooms that don’t need to be “filled up” saves planners money on décor; special facilities like museums, spas or restaurants typically don’t need any décor at all. And last, placing your group in an environment where they are not just one of many makes attendees feel special.
So, instead of thinking “one size fits all,” start thinking about the specific needs of your group. If you need help, contact the local convention and visitors bureau. They can help steer you towards venues that are just your size.