venue selection

What a Meeting Planner Considers When Selecting Restaurants

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May 8  |  connect in the city  |   Andrew Maxwell


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restaurantsFor a meeting planner, conference planning often involves booking restaurants or venues. The social component to a meeting can take a lot of the planner’s time. You see meeting planners know that in order to make the meeting or conference attractive they, most often, have to include social activities. If not then registration for the conference can be low, which could be disastrous for both the client and the meeting planner. While an important part of the overall program, restaurant planning can be time consuming.

A Meeting Planners Checklist for Selecting Restaurants

If a meeting planner knows their group well, then selecting a restaurant doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking. But they do need to take the time, upfront, to determine the needs of their group. If exclusivity is important, then it would be a waste of time to engage restaurants that do not have private rooms.


Many meeting planners work from an event planning checklist. Many checklists are personalized based on the experiences of those meeting planners. Each time they complete a group, a planner takes what they have learned and applies it to the next group.

refine search for restaurantsFactors for selecting restaurants and clubs:

The district. It’s important to find out where the group’s participants are willing to travel, and how far.

Cuisine type. Most meeting planners will play it safe and select restaurants that have a variety of menu offerings. There are times, however, when a group wants a particular type of cuisine.

Meal Period. When does the group want to dine? Is it an evening event, or a more lunch/brunch style?

Price range. I have found that when working with meeting planners, a budget or price range is sometimes hard to obtain. However, it is important as prices can vary dramatically from one restaurant to another. It really all depends on the level of service that the client is seeking.

Is it open on Sunday? Many restaurants, especially in the downtown core of large cities, will close on Sunday evenings. I always make sure to ask what day of the week my clients are interested in before I begin my search for restaurants.

Private rooms. This one’s important if the group is looking for space where they can have privacy from the rest of the restaurant’s guests.

Buyout. Some clients want to take private rooms to the next level and have the entire restaurant exclusive to their group. My experience has taught me that not all restaurants will allow the group to have exclusivity. Sometimes it depends on the night of the week that the client is requesting.

Patio. For those who wish to have outdoor dining.

Wheelchair access. While most restaurants are now required to have wheelchair access, there are certain older restaurants which, due to their location, may not be able to accommodate this.

Many meeting planners dread having to select restaurants. This is one area where hiring a local expert would be beneficial. A destination management company, DMC, pays attention to what is going on in their cities. They are always aware of the latest and greatest restaurants, venues and clubs. Many times, I have directed planners to our restaurant listings directory where they can narrow their search, based on the group’s criteria, to find a suitable restaurant.

 

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Meeting Planners Best Resource for Conference Facilities

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February 19  |  connect in the city  |   staff


meeting planners best resourceA meeting planner wears many hats. Depending on which part of their job tasks they are working on, meeting planners can be busy; negotiating, reviewing contracts, implementing a marketing plan to attract attendees, or just plain old being busy executing a program. As you can tell from that short job description, it does takes a certain kind of person to plan an event.

Anyone that’s involved in the supplier side of the meetings and events industry knows, firsthand, how hard it is to get in front of meeting planners. It’s really not that meeting planners are avoiding suppliers, trust me, they’re not. It really boils down to there are just not enough hours in the day sometimes.

Helping Meeting Planners Plan a Conference

If you have been to our website, WTTC.com, before then you know that it’s our priority to showcase conference facilities and suppliers to meeting and event planners. Over the last year we’ve been busy revamping our directory with the goal of simplifying the process. In other words we are trying to make it as easy as possible to put the right event suppliers in touch with the right meeting planners.

Some of the Changes That We’ve Made to WTTC.com-The Meeting Planners Best Resource

meeting planners best resource refine searchURL simplification – up until now each city that we listed in our directory was a separate URL. We’ve recently moved all of our supplier listings onto one URL (or as we refer to it, city), connect.wttc.com. By changing from many URLs to one, we are able to better optimize our supplier listings. And the beauty of all of this is that it’s always free for meeting planners. Conference facilities and event suppliers are also able to have a free listing.

Fine tuning our focus – in the past our business model was based on a publishing business model. In other words, we achieved our revenue through advertising. While we still offer paid advertising, our focus has shifted. Our ultimate goal is to provide traffic. And of course the more traffic we generate the better it is for those that list on our site. In addition, we are also becoming active in green meetings, industry news and industry education. We love to hear from event planning students.

So if you haven’t visited our directory in a while we invite you to take a look at our revamped directory. For meeting planners our goal is simple: to provide the best resource of conference facilities and suppliers. For more on how WTTC.com works for planners, click here. For our industry vendors, our goal is to provide you with the ever coveted leads from meeting planners. Click here for more information on how our directory will benefit conference facilities and suppliers.

 

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Smart City Networks releases findings of telecommunications and technology survey

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November 3  |  meeting and event industry news  |   staff

The technology needs of the events industry continue to change rapidly as more tablets, smart phones and wireless devices come on the market; thus, Smart City Networks conducted a comprehensive survey to study the latest technology and telecommunications issues affecting convention centers nationwide.

Survey shows need for more education in events industry about technology capabilities

The survey focused on four primary issues:

  • Perceptions of “good” technology in the convention center market,
  • Understanding of Wi-Fi, free or not, by all parties,
  • Customer frustrations with technology,
  • Beyond the technology of today, including the development of 4G, digital signage and a connected campus.

Overall, the survey found that providing more information to the events industry, including show managers, exhibitors and attendees, about technology capabilities and costs is critically needed.

 


 

Specifically, over 70 percent of convention center managers recommend that show managers be better informed about the need for constant investment in infrastructure, the cost to deliver wireless services and the capabilities of wireless networks.

And 64 percent of venue managers and CVB stakeholders feel that event managers need more realistic expectations about the pricing and type of telecommunications and technology services offered at convention centers – a finding which again supports the need for more education about connectivity options, capabilities and costs.

“It’s not surprising that with free Wi-Fi at your neighborhood Starbucks or McDonalds, that many event managers, exhibitors and attendees do not understand what it takes to provide quality Internet service for thousands of people at once, in one location,” said Mark Haley, president of Smart City Networks. “This survey helps us to understand the needs of the facilities we serve, especially with regard to educating the events industry on technology capabilities, and how to move forward.”

Haley added that the survey echoes, in part, the findings of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) survey released earlier this summer.

The Smart City Networks survey showed that while show managers may ask for free Wi-Fi, over half do not specify a specific wireless service or speed. And building managers responded that a variety of Wi-Fi offerings should be provided, including: tiered wireless pricing options (76 percent of respondents), free Wi-Fi sponsored by an event (54 percent) and free Wi-Fi in public spaces (42 percent). Only 25 percent of those surveyed believe that free Wi-Fi should be available in the entire building.

“The survey showed that while most facility managers believe that some basic Wi-Fi should be offered for free, there is still great concern as to how a building can continue to upgrade the network and infrastructure without a consistent revenue stream from the wireless services,” added Haley.

The survey also addressed the growing trend of digital signage, and a significant 86 percent of venue managers said they were interested in having a permanent digital signage system in the public areas of their facilities. Fifty-six percent of the respondents saw a number of ways in which a digital signage system can add value. The two most popular uses of digital signage were for way-finding / building information and advertising opportunities.

Additionally, the survey asked convention center executives and CVB leaders about creating a “connected campus,” specifically connecting convention center hotels to the convention center network via fiber, copper or wireless Internet. The “connected campus” concept is seen as beneficial to a majority of the facility industry. The most appealing features of a “connected campus” included the ability to improve the attendee experience, extend show information and offer integrated Wi-Fi.

Another significant finding of the survey was that 90 percent of venue managers and stakeholders said that telecommunications and Internet can or should be exclusive at facilities. Consistency and offering reliable, quality services were identified as important factors by facility managers in maintaining exclusive contracts for technology services.

“The findings of this survey will help us to develop wireless Internet products that best meet the changing needs of convention centers as well as the entire event industry,” concluded Haley.

The complete report on the survey can be found at http://www.smartcitynetworks.com and at http://www.red7media.com/researchandconsulting/.

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WTTC City Spotlight: New York City

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July 28  |  wttc our cities  |   staff

welcome to the city new york

Welcome to WTTC – New York City! Planning a trip to the five boroughs can be part of the fun, but there’s also a lot of ground to cover—how to get here, what to expect from the weather, how to hail a taxi and much more. At WTTC – New York City you’ll find essential information to help you make the most of your visit.

NYC. Where Meeting Planners Meet Value. With diverse neighborhoods citywide and a different experience waiting around every corner, New York City offers up a feeling of energy, excitement and value that is unmatched. In fact, there’s never been a better time to book NYC now for your meeting or convention.

NYC & Company is New York City’s official marketing, tourism and partnership organization. NYC & Company’s sales and services teams are available to help you take advantage of exclusive offers that mean greater savings for your attendees and organization.

Whether you’re looking for NYC hotels, NYC restaurants, or NYC attractions, WTTC New York City is the place to start your local search.

 

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