When choosing a venue for an event one typically includes in the decision making process the purpose and expertise of the facility and provider. One would not normally hire a bookstore owner to cater a wedding, or rent a tugboat for an executive committee retreat. Part of the decision process takes into account the desired outcome and what venue will provide the best possibility for success. It is interesting then to talk with meeting planners and find that most, by default, look at hotels to hold their small to medium sized meetings, the meetings which are often an organizations most important in terms of strategy setting and training.
Hotels are wonderful and flexible places but the bottom line is and always will be selling sleeping rooms. Sleeping rooms are the product and the business model supports their sale. Conference center sales and operations, by comparison, support a different product: Meetings. Meetings are the number one focus. Providing an exceptional meeting experience is what conference centers pride themselves on, and it is what they make their living on.
Meeting planners should do everything in their power to reduce risk and using an expert in providing a service, any service, is one way to do so. In future posts we will demonstrate that dedication to a single product does not mean greater expense.