The most common enquiry that we receive at innov8 Conference Services, is for National Associations looking for a venue for their next National Association Congress. Well when we say venue, we actually mean destination as the first thing to realise with any event of such size and importance is that the venue only makes up around a half of the decision on where is most suitable.
Most National Associations have a rotation on where they take their biggest and most prestigious event. Some Associations take a North-South-Midlands rotation, whereas others rotate around their membership heartlands perhaps never going to the a certain area as their membership or profession is not greatly appreciated there. National Congresses are often key committee voting or policy deciding events, therefore gaining the highest number of attendees is important for not only budget reasons, but also constitutional requirements to hold the event in a destination that a certain percentage of their members can attend.
But where should you take your next National Association Congress, given the wide amount of choice from new venues such as Newcastle, Liverpool and Telford to the more tried and tested Manchester, Birmingham and Brighton? Lets not forget the Harrogates, Glasgows and array of London venues too!
However the first question should not be where, but WHEN! Most medium and Large Associations are now planning their destinations for 2017, given the high demand for the prime dates and venues. If your Association is looking at next year or even the year after now, the first thing to look at is getting a little bit further ahead. By booking ahead you can ensure you have a wider pick of venues, destinations and support services before other events confirm.
Next once you start to look at venues, also look at the destinations and ask the following questions:
- Is there a good transport link to the North, Midlands and London by both train and car?
- Is there enough Hotel accommodation within our delegates price bracket for the dates required (ensure that it is the right budget 3star or 5star)?
- Is there enough venues for social/fringe events close to the venue?
- Would our delegates feel that this was a step up, or a step down in terms of destination?
- Would our sponsors and exhibitors see this as a step up, or a step down in terms of destination?
If you have a number of venues that meet all the right criteria, you can start shortlisting the venues depending on your budget, and start to negotiate the dates and prices for the venues until you can find a venue that not only meets all your requirements but also can attract more exhibitors, delegates and sponsors to your event.
Finally, when asking your venue for the final details on how much it will cost to host your event, ALWAYS ensure you ask the following questions:
- Does it include VAT?
- Are Stewards including in the tenancy, and how many?
- What AudioVisual equipment comes as standard with each room?
- What technicians are included in the tenancy?
- What Marketing/Branding opportunities are available from the destination?
- What support is available from the destination to promote the event to the local area?