Pretty much every city has a convention center. When you speak with meeting and event planners about using convention centers, usually the comments are about group sizes. Seems the conventional wisdom out there is that convention centers are best utilized by larger groups.
While convention centers are very well equipped to handle large groups, you’d be surprised to know that the sales staff also target medium and small sized groups as well.
Types of Convention Center Events
Convention center events range from trade shows to large association conferences. It’s ideal for trade shows as a convention center is designed with setups in mind. Quite often on set up days you will see large flatbed trucks drive right on to the tradeshow floor. For large associations, the benefit would be the breakout rooms (rooms where smaller meetings or meal functions can be setup while the conferences’ meetings are occurring simultaneously).
But smaller groups should also take a look at hosting their event at a convention center. Nowadays, there are down times at many centers where meeting planners would be able to negotiate good rates for their smaller groups. And the way that many centers are designed today, you don’t get the feeling that you are lost in a huge sea of meeting rooms.
For more information on convention centers and how they can assist, you may also want to read:
Here Are 10 Ways That a Convention Center Can Help Meeting and Event Planners
- Convention centers are usually connected with the Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB). Being associated with the CVB means that there are many planner tools available at no additional cost.
- Convention centers have a conference services department. These people are experts in executing events in their own facilities. My advice, utilize them when the opportunity allows.
- Ample access for disabled attendees
- They are green meetings equipped. Many convention centers are LEED’s (leadership in environmental and energy design) certified.
- Many brand name hotels are located near convention centers
- They have in-house suppliers (Cater, AV). And these in-house suppliers know the facility inside out.
- Internet and Wi-Fi access
- Parking on-site
- Access to public transportation. This is ideal if you’re meeting or event includes local participants.
- Location, location, location. Most often a convention center is located in the best part of the city. Lots of access to great restaurants and attractions.
There are many benefits for hosting your meeting or event at a convention center. These facilities are designed with meetings in mind. Many meeting and event planners may shy away from using a convention center because they feel they may be cost prohibitive. However, once you factor in all of the components and tools that a planner needs to do their job, the overall cost of utilizing a convention center is very competitive.