Professional Meeting Planners: Successful Meeting Planning


Meeting and Event Site Selection and Contract Negotiations

Meeting site selection is the process of locating and choosing a venue that is best suited to host your meeting  You must first consider the size, duration, content and space issues associated with your event.  Are you planning on providing food and beverage?  Will you need audio-visual services?  Do you need to be close to an airport?  Who will be your on-site manager throughout the meeting?  Once you have answered these questions, the logistics of your meeting will begin to fall into place. 

Today there are many options available when selecting an appropriate venue locale.  Local restaurants with a private room are an option for smaller meetings where a meal is being served.  A larger scaled conference may require enlisting the services available in a hotel atmosphere.  A hotel setting can often accomodate a registration area, a grand ballroom as well as smaller break-out meeting rooms.  The on premises catering or sales staff can arrange for food and beverage as well as lodging accomodations for your attendees if necessary.

Once you have chosen your venue, the contract negotiation portion of a meeting site selection can begin. Negotiating the terms and conditions of a venue contract can greatly influence your decision to choose one venue over another.  Date availability, and of course, your budget, are probably the two most important considerations in determinig what works best for your event.

Why hire a professional meeting planner to find and negotiate your site selection?

Regardless of whether your meeting is an intimate board meeting for six advisors, or a multi-day trade show, what you want and expect as your end result is the same.... a successful and well received event. As all professional meeting planners know, the key to a successful event is dependent upon the seamless execution of the details... your details!

If you have experience in the meeting planning industry, you may be quite capable of managing the event yourself.  A little advance research may be all that you need to begin the process.  If you do not have background in meeting and event planning, it may serve you well to hire a professional consultant to lead you on the path to securing the right site with the right terms.  We can offer consultations as part of our services, and we can also refer you to one of the 1,000 plus experienced meeting planners who comprise the membership in the GCG Event Partners Network.  Hiring a GCG member will more than likely save you more on your budget expense than the additional cost of their services.  A professional meeting planner will yield a better site selection along with a better contract, all the while insuring the needs of your event are considered.

How can meeting planners offer site selection for free or fee-waived?

Many professional meeting planners waive their site selection service fee. They can do this because the venue, a hotel in most cases, is paying a "site selection commission" directly to the planner.


Are meeting planners biased when choosing a venue?

In most cases, bias should not be a concern.  The meeting professional should have your best interest and needs to consider.  Also, the commission is fairly standard within the industry, so the meeting planne's "pay-out" is comperable wherever the meeting is booked.  Considering that most professional meeting planners rely heavily on their reputations and the referrals they acquire, you can be confident they are going to work hard to earn both your business and your respect. Enlisting a planner that is up front and honest about receiving a commission is always a good sign. We can provide site selection services along with the GCG Event Partners network of professional event planners. If you'd like more information about how we can help you, you can do one of three things.  You can either complete our contact form, call our corporate office at 1-800-378-6857, or send us an email at We have over seventeen years of experience in the meeting and event planning industry.  We have earned our solid reputation by providing quality services based on an honest and ethical relationship with our clients.  We work hard to gain your trust. If we can waive the site selecton fee we we'll tell you.  If we can't, we'll explain why.


What if a meeting planner or meeting planning company is affiliated with one hotel chain?

This can work for you or against you depending upon your specific meeting requirements. If a meeting planner is affiliated with a particular hotel chain, many times they may be privy to special pricing which can warrant better terms in your contract. However, if the site search is going to biased, it has to be because all the other competing properties are just not as compatible with your needs. You will find in many cases that a truly independent meeting planner, one with no affiliations, can serve your needs better. She will research the market as a whole, and choose what is best for you, specifically. A seasoned meeting professional will work diligently on your behalf because she knows that this is the key to your partnership.  She should have your best interest in mind.  Professional Meeting Planners is completely independent of any hotel chain affilications, so that we can provide unbiased meeting site selections and contract negotiations. With over 1,000 independent meeting planners in the GCG Event Partners Network, we surely have the meeting planner with the skills and experience for you. Contact us for more information.


What does a Meeting Site Selection Service involve?

As a general rule, a meeting planner should have keen listening skillls. Secondly, she should ask a lot of questions. When considering the overall needs of your meeting, the basic questions you must ask yourself are the who, the what, the why, and the where of the meeting logistics.  The answers to these questions will then help you locate a venue that best suits your specific needs.  Whether it be the location, the size, the amenities or the associated costs, if you prioritze your wish list, your search will be that much easier.  In short, the meeting planner and you will work together to determine and prioritze these preferences.  

Armed with your findings, the meeting planner will then perform a thorough search of available facilities or venues. If the location isa key factor for your meeting, she will focus on the perameters you provide.. If the facility, amenities, or level of service is the primary concern, then they will search a broader area looking for your "must haves". Depending on the timeline and your directives, the meeting planner will then present you with her findings. Here your meeting planner's experience and expertise are invaluable.  She will advise you of the most suitable venue based on the information you have provided and then also offer the best alternatives should date avaliablity be an issue.


What about Site Inspections?

A meeting site inspection is as straight forward as it sounds.  All an inspection requires is a visit to the venue being considered. The site is inspected first hand to determine whether or not it offers all that you are looking for in a venue. It is one of the only ways that a meeting planner can absolutely guarantee that the site is appropriate for your meeting. Typically, the meeting planner travels to the location(s) either with you or on your behalf, and takes a tour of the property with a venue representative. The meeting space, property condition, meeting room layout, guest rooms and any other considerations you may have are all inspected at this time.

Is this a necessary expense?

During the Site Selection and Contract Negotiations process, a first hand inspection of a site is highly recommended. Our inspection experience can identify and highlight both the positive and the negative aspects that cannot be quantified by reviewing a facility's sales literature or meeting contracts. In addition, face to face meetings with facility representatives allows a meeting planner to develop relationships that can be beneficial during final contract negotiations. As an alternative, a local independent meeting planner can perform the inspection for you which will save you both on time and travel expenses. GCG Event Partners provides meeting planners located across the country within 2 hours of any destination. Utilizing this resource is an excellent way to reduce associated costs during the site inspection process. In additon, if your meeting requires additional on-site managers or staff during the meeting, calling on GCG is an excellent way to utilize the network to the best of its abilities.


Need more information?

We want to help! Please contact our offices using our contact form or call us directly at 1-800-378-6857 to get more information.

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