Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

October 2012

Research: Site Selection

By Convene Staff
A recent Convene epanel survey revealed the ways in which more than 200 meeting professionals find destinations and venues for their events, and how they think hotels size up their business.

“For numerous internal and external reasons,” said Christine Shimasaki, managing director of DMAI’s empowerMINT.com program, which sponsored the survey, “planners are required to make sure they have thoroughly vetted enough destinations and respective hotels and venues.  [That’s] evidenced by over eight in 10 planners considering three or more destinations [in the survey results].  All of this takes a lot of time and expertise, and it makes a lot of sense that planners - 55 percent - look to the local expertise of a convention and visitors bureau to help them find the right hotel, venue, or facility for their meeting.

“However,” Shimasaki said, “in addition to CVBs, planners often turn to several other resources, and to best serve today’s planner, all channels - GSOs, third parties, online RFP engines, etc.  - must learn to work efficiently with each other.”

(Click here for additional analysis of the results by Shimasaki.)

1. When planning a single-hotel meeting, what sources do you use to help you find the right fit for your meeting?

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Other responses:

  • Go directly to hotel websites
  • Hotel national/global sales office reps (46 mentions)
  • Local leadership references
  • National sales manager, web research
  • Networking groups
  • Word of mouth
2.  If you use online search engines such as Bing or Google, what words do you type into the search window?
  • Bureau/city name search
  • City name, conference center, meeting locations
  • City name, meeting space, conference venue
  • DMC
  • Downtown hotels and location
  • Hotel (location) meeting space
  • Hotel, convention, exhibit, airport
  • Google Maps, find my location, and search nearby hotels
  • Location name and reviews
  • Luxury, five-star, top-rated, convention center
  • Meeting facilities
  • Meeting space, hotel, convention center

3 On average, how many destinations do you typically consider for the location of your meetings?

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4 Is this more or fewer destinations than in previous years?

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5 In terms of how hotels value your meeting, which of the following do you think is most important to them? (Select one.)

site selection in Convene

Commenting on the results of No. 5, DMAI’s Shimasaki said: “While it might make sense [that] the popular answer of total revenue is the most important factor, planners need to become more savvy in understanding the dynamics of other negotiation levers.  For example, a meeting could represent a lot of revenue, but if all the meeting space is required with a disproportionate number of guest rooms, hotels may find it difficult to offer a first option until they are sure they will not displace other business opportunities.

“Or if the planner does not have two to three years of history to demonstrate their track record and minimize risk to the hotel, their negotiation leverage will not be maximized.  And every destination and regions within a destination will have different levers, and it’s important for planners to consult up front with the local CVB to find out how their hotels will respond to their meeting requirements.” 
More Resources

Read the first part of this epanel survey, published in last month’s issue of Convene, here

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