10 Things to Look for in a Meeting Facility

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When looking for a meeting facility you probably have a few keys things in mind. Surely, among the top would be things like price, location and room size. What about all the other little details? What makes one venue better than the other when it comes to the space your attendees, perhaps executives, will be in all day? I believe that a smooth and well organized event begins with the venue itself. The tiniest of details are important and can literally enhance or cripple your meeting. Consider these 10 things the next time you are searching for the perfect venue for your meeting:

Windows: Put yourself in the shoes of your guests, would you want to be stuck in a hole with no natural lighting all day going through facts, numbers, brainstorming, etc? If you do not have the option of having natural lighting, try to go with a space that is larger than you really need so that guests have plenty of room and don’t feel quite so closed in.

Outdoor or Private Space: Is there a space nearby the meeting facility where guests can step out to have a one-on-one session, answer a phone call or take a break? This isn’t necessarily a must have but will always be appreciated.

Electrical Outlets: Seems obvious that a space would have multiple outlets, right? Yes, they will, but what you will want to think about is if your guests will need access to them, i.e. will there be multiple guests who need to plug a laptop in? If so, are the outlets near meeting tables or in the ground that can be easily accessed?

Multiple Restrooms: Might sound silly to consider but imagine when your group will be taking breaks. Will they be short breaks that require your guests to be back to their seats quickly? If so, make sure there are multiple facilities near the meeting space. If not, ask your Sales Representative where others are so that you may point your guests in the right direction.

WIFI: ASK! Most places will have WIFI. What you really want to know is 1) the password, be prepared and have this information BEFORE the meeting begins and 2) is there a fee associated with the WIFI? Don’t be blind-sided the day of your meeting.

Parking: Is there adequate parking for all guests? If not, is there a parking lot or garage nearby with shuttle service (if needed)? Is there a fee associated with on or off site parking? The last thing you want is for an attendee to not have a space and then find themselves paying to park. If attendees will have to pay to park try to pre-arrange payment for them.

Location: Not only the physical location of the property but think of how your guests will reach the meeting facility. Will they be walking through a hallway, parking garage or outdoor area? Is there proper signage to direct guests?

A/V: Does the meeting facility have all A/V equipment you will need? Do they use a 3rd party? Make sure to think through each detail including extension cords, speakers, lighting, etc. If they use a 3rd party, ask for their information so you may speak with them directly.

Planner Room: If you are staying on-site but not attending the meeting, ask if there is nearby room that you can utilize as an “office”. Planners are typically the ones who have the agendas, packets, name badges, swag bags, etc. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a space that you can be organized for the day?

Hidden Fees:  These can be frustrating! Ask your Sales Representative to provide you with a list of fees to be expected, service charge, resort fee, WIFI, parking, etc. You will look like a rock star when you come in right on or under budget, knowing these fees upfront will help you stay on track.

By: Mallory Voorheis, IOM ::  Corporate Sales Manager  :: Vintage Villas Hotel & Events

Have You Planned for After Your Reception?

You’ve spent months planning your wedding, have possibly had a few good (and bad) dreams about tying the knot and most likely have spent more money than you originally planned. Then the day comes and it’s better than you could have ever imagined! The end of the reception comes quickly and your guests give you and your new groom a grand send-off. Now what? What happens to all of the little details that have made your day so uniquely yours? Who is responsible for taking your gifts, your extra cake, and the heirloom champagne flutes your grandparents toasted with on their wedding day???

During your wedding planning be sure to plan for after the reception. Delegate responsibility to your parents, bridal party and family members (choose those who will most likely be sober) to take your personal items after the send-off. We suggest hiring a professional wedding planner to gather your things, but still make sure you know where to find your guest book the next day along with the handkerchief your mom gave you to carry down the aisle. Remember that planning and organizing beforehand is one of the best ways to make sure your wedding day is smooth and stress free. Soak up every moment of your ceremony, enjoy all the details of your reception and ask your closest guests to help with the rest.

Top 10 items you’ll want to assign someone to take for you after your wedding:
-Guest Book
-Gifts/Cards
-Champagne Flutes
-Cake Knife & Server
-Extra Cake
-Extra Favors
-Extra Send-Off Items
-Unity Candle/Sand Ceremony Vases/Communion Glass
-Rental Items
-DIY Decorations & Pictures

Written by: Lauren Allen

5 Things to Discuss with your Potential Wedding Venue

We understand that most brides aren’t professional event planners and may not know what to ask when shopping for a wedding venue. Here are 5 topics to consider and discuss before visiting wedding venues:

1.  Availability – We suggest being flexible with your wedding date until you find a location. However, if your heart is set on a particular date, make sure you check availability up front. There is no sense in falling in love with a venue that won’t work for your schedule.

2.  Capacity – Make sure the venue has a space to match your guest count. You don’t need a grand ballroom for 40 guests, and there is no way to squeeze 400 guests in a space that is meant for 200.

3.  Cost – Ask for a cost estimate. It is easier to see if a venue will fit into your wedding budget when you see the total cost. An estimate should include any or all of the following: facility rental, food, beverage, coordination, sales tax, service charge, and other applicable services and fees. Make sure to also ask about required minimums and if certain dates may be less expensive than others.

4.  Amenities & Services – Find out exactly what you get for your money. (i.e. catering, tables, chairs, china, linens, centerpieces, sound system, etc.) Every venue will include different services and amenities. Knowing exactly what is included (and not included) will help you finalize your total wedding budget.

5.  Rules & Restrictions – These will vary from venue to venue. Restrictions may apply to décor, vendor selections, music, time blocks, food, beverage, and more. Don’t just assume that the sky is the limit; make sure you ask up front.

Written By:  Samantha Botello