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All Inclusive Resorts – Are they a good option for meetings?

Posted by Nathalie Whitton on Mon, Jan 12, 2015

All inclusive resorts are located all over the world.  They specialize in the ultimate vacation experience.  Basically pay one price and you don’t have to worry about anything.  Everything is included; all meals, drinks (including alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages) guestroom (taxes, including mini-bar) and many activities.  But how do they fare for meetings? 


Topics: Site Selection

U.S. cities meeting planners should consider with more bang for the buck!

Posted by Kristi Harbers on Thu, Sep 19, 2013

Trying to decide where to hold your next meeting? Do you want to go somewhere exciting without breaking the bank or going too deep into your attendees’ wallets? Consider the United States’ second tier cities as a place to hold your next meeting. Often 2nd tier cities are much more affordable than places like New York City or Los Angeles and offer more amenities with unique experiences for your meeting attendees. Here are just a few cities in the U.S. to consider:


  • Salt Lake City: As they mention on their website cityyy“Salt Lake offers one-of-a-kind combination of metro and mountain—an urban oasis with a breathtaking alpine backyard.” In the downtown area the convention center is surrounded by hotels, shopping and restaurants for the attendee’s convenience. There is even free public transportation around the convention area using TRAX light-rail and busses. Having hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics, SLC’s infrastructure is already in place to hold larger meetings.
  • Reno Tahoe: This area definitely offers first tier service at a second tier rate. If you’re looking to be able to have plenty of entertainment for your attendees but by spending less dollars Reno Tahoe maybe the place to look. They’ve recently spent close to $1 billion on renovations around the area and on the national average are about 25% less expensive than holding your meetings elsewhere. Reno also hosts many fun activities during the off seasons. You could book around the Jazz Festival in the spring. Or if you book in September you could book around the Great Reno Balloon Race or the International Camel Race, that’s something you don’t see every day that you’re attendees would definitely keep talking about.
  • Daytona Beach: Once considered a spring break locale, Daytona Beach has grown up. Daytona Beach has expanded and upgraded much of its meeting space including at the Ocean Center which as 200,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space and located closely to the Hilton which has over 750 guestrooms. Daytona Beach is accustomed to holding large events such as the Daytona 500.
  • Irving: Located only 15 minutes from Dallas and 20 minutes from Fort Worth, Irving can be the more affordable choice. You can give your attendees that big Texas feeling by holding an offsite event at a local ranch like the Lindero Ranch which specializes in corporate events.
  • Minneapolis: Minneapolis is a city that offers activities such as Broadway worthy shows, tax-free clothes shopping and outdoor activities nearby around the lakes and natural trails and parks. It boasts the #1 airport in America in 2012. It’s also a growing destination for Millennials which you may want to keep in mind for your next site selection. Home to Mall of America – easily accessible by light rail and offering many on and off site options such as the A.C.E.S. Flight simulator, Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium , Jillian’s and many more!

Topics: Travel/Destinations, Site Selection

Put the Pen Down #4: Is Your Meeting Space Secure?

Posted by Christine King on Mon, May 6, 2013

Is your meeting space clearly defined in your event contract? CEO Summit 56 Often hotel contracts are signed without actual room names in the meeting space function agenda.  How can you sign something without knowing for certain what you are getting?  Hotels will try to keep the actual room assignments out of the contract to give them the flexibility of moving the space around to accommodate for other groups.  But what about you?  You can get the names in the contract and make sure it is secure – here are a few tips on making sure what you need is what you get when it comes to meeting space:
    • The contract should include a grid defining the date, time, function type, expected attendance room name assignment and preliminary set-up for each day of your event similar to the sample below and if you require a 24 hour hold on any/all of your space it should be clearly defined in this grid as well.



    Start Time

    End Time

    Function Type

    # of People

    Function Room

    Room Set-up


    7:00 a.m.

    24 hr. hold

    Staff Office


    Oceans 3

    Conference Style for 6






    • The contract should state that the hotel cannot make changes to the room assignment without your written consent.
    • No one should be paying for meeting room rental – period. Unless the only item you are contracting for is the room – that is you are not serving food, have no guestrooms attached to you meeting and not using the in-house AV provider then yes – meeting space rental may be likely, However that is rare, most meetings have guestrooms attached, serve F&B and utilize the in-house AV provider for some if not all of their equipment.  If that is the case – then you should not be paying for meeting room rental.
Incorporate these tips into your next contract and you will not have to worry about your meeting space being unsecure!  
Do you have any contract tips you can share?
Check out the other blogs in my “Put the Pen Down” series:
Put the Pen Down…Don’t Sign that Hotel Contract Just Yet!
Put the Pen Down #2 - Food & Beverage Attrition  
Put the Pen down #3 - Negotiating Cancellation Clauses

Topics: Site Selection

Put the pen down #3 - Negotiating Cancellation Clauses

Posted by Christine King on Thu, Feb 21, 2013

How do you come to terms with a hotel/venue on a good cancellation clause?


Topics: Site Selection

Challenged by meeting room sets for special groups?

Posted by Sarah Hughes on Thu, Jun 7, 2012

Did you read our whitepaper on creative meeting room sets but have a group with special needs? A group with disabilities covered by the ADA requires more advance planning. Prepare in advance by reviewing all of your typical meetings space needs before starting the site selection process.  Such as how many concurrent breakouts, the number of estimated attendees and required room sets. Don’t forget to also consider whether your attendees and/or speakers are in a wheelchair.  Will the rooms have enough aisle space for a wheelchair? Will the speakers be presenting from a riser? Are your risers equipped with a ramp and steps? You may not know in advance whether your attendees or presenters are in a wheelchair, so be sure to plan ahead just in case.

tipTo be better prepared ask the following question in your registration form: “Pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act, do you require specific aids or services at the conference?” Not everyone will complete this question with a yes or no. So it is better to assume there will be an attendee or speaker with ADA needs.


Topics: Site Selection

Plan Ahead for International Site Selection Trips

Posted by Megan Brouwer on Thu, Mar 29, 2012

Let’s face it, sometimes your work-related travel is not planned very far in advance.  Often this is not a problem; however, as conference planners we must be prepared for everything.  In the event a last minute international site inspection comes up, it is important to keep in mind the reality of how long it may take to process your travel paperwork, and to be aware of the obstacles you may run into that will prevent you from travelling to another country. 



Topics: Travel/Destinations, Site Selection

Streamline your site selection research with mobile apps

Posted by Caitlin Flint on Mon, Mar 26, 2012

mobile apps


Topics: Technology, Site Selection

Don't forget these when conducting Conference Site Selection

Posted by Megan Higgins on Fri, Mar 23, 2012

Commonly overlooked but strikingly important factors in choosing a conference site:
budget managment

  • Define the objectives and goals of the meeting first and prepare the RFP with them in mind.
  • Decide on the budget before contracting with a venue.
  • Agree to a timeline to obtain signature. This will ensure expectations are set with your client and the venue’s sales manager, that way you aren’t tempted to rush a contract negotiation by their incentive deadlines.
  • Minimize your risk and potential hotel attrition by reviewing the pick-up history (at least 3 years if you have it) with your sales manager. 
  • Some meeting planners forget to review the venue’s accessibility for persons with a disability. Example: Are the meeting rooms large enough to provide a comfortable experience for those in wheelchairs?
  • Meeting management companies that specialize in contract negotiation are available to provide expert advice on all aspects of the contract and typically offer their site selection services at no cost in exchange for commissions paid by hotel.
For more helpful tips on Site Selection you can download our free tools for meeting planners here.

Megan Higgins, CMP
Meeting Consultant @sswmeetings
Get the 7 Important Factors When Choosing the Right Location

Topics: Site Selection

Put That Pen Down #2 - Food & Beverage Attrition

Posted by Christine King on Thu, Mar 15, 2012



Topics: Site Selection

Put the Pen Down…Don’t Sign that Hotel Contract Just Yet!

Posted by Christine King on Mon, Mar 12, 2012

contract negotiation


Topics: Site Selection