Choose a Hotel for Your Conference

Choosing the right hotel for a conference is essential to making sure the attendees get the most from the meeting. The first step in choosing the right hotel is simply knowing what sort of accommodations you need for your conference. Then, it’s just a matter of researching different potential hotels, narrowing down your list, and making a final selection.


Figuring Out Your Priorities

  1. Make sure you have a budget for how much you can spend on a venue. In addition to paying for the hotel, the budget for your conference should also include money for marketing materials, food and beverages, and presentation equipment. If you don’t have a hard and fast budget you need to stay within, come up with an ideal budget for the conference and try to keep costs as close to that number as possible.[1]
    • For example, if you expect conference attendees to pay $30,000 total in registration fees, then you can set your budget to be somewhere between $27,000 and $30,000 to give yourself some leeway.
    • You’ll need to have budget constraints to guide your decision-making when it comes to choosing a hotel. This will also allow you to let the hotel know how much you anticipate spending.
  2. Figure out what the likely attendance for the conference will be. This will give you some idea of the total number of available rooms that the hotel will have to have for the event. If you’ve hosted this conference in the past, use historical data to come up with an average number of attendees.[2]
    • If people have already registered or expressed an interest in your conference, use these numbers to get this most accurate estimate possible.
    • If you have access to a listserv of likely attendees, you can also send out an email asking people to say whether they’re interested or likely to attend the conference this year.
  3. Determine how much space you’ll need inside the hotel. In addition to bedrooms, conference attendees will also need access to 1 or more conference rooms, as well as space to make presentations or show different exhibits. Decide what sort of activities you want the conference to include in order to determine what kind of space the hotel will need to offer.[3]
    • Think in terms of the number of attendees, vendors, or other organizations that may want to present exhibits as part of the conference.
  4. Consider whether the venue needs to reflect a certain theme or image. Take into consideration both your own vision for what the conference will look like, as well as the expectations of the conference attendees or observers. If suitability is very important to the success of your conference, then you should limit your search to only those hotels that align with your vision of the conference.[2]
    • For example, if you want the conference venue to be very elegant and impressive to attendees, then you may want to only look into 5-star hotels.

Researching Different Hotels

  1. Use the hotel’s website to see if they have the right accommodations. Most hotels will place information like room availability, conference rooms and equipment, and whether they’ve hosted conferences in the past on their website. Use this page to immediately decide whether or not to research a hotel any further.[3]
  2. Make sure the hotel would be accessible for conference attendees. The hotel will need to be located close to an airport or train station, if attendees are traveling to the conference from far away. If you expect a lot of attendees to drive to the hotel, it should have a large enough parking lot to accommodate their cars.[1]
    • You should also look to see if there are restaurants, bars, and other attractions near the hotel, so conference attendees can have something entertaining to do in the evenings.
  3. Ask about the number and size of conference rooms available. Many conferences require multiple conference or assembly rooms that provide space for small group and large group gatherings over the course of the conference. Make sure to inquire about the availability of power and wireless hookups in each of the rooms as well.[3]
    • If people will be giving presentations in the conference room, the space will need to have audio-visual equipment and capabilities that the presenters can use.
  4. Call to inquire about meal catering and menu planning, if necessary. This is only necessary if you want the hotel to cater your conference or if you want the hotel to accommodate a catering company. Discuss potential arrangements for meal catering and menu planning, as well as refreshments and finger foods for breaks between sessions, to make sure conference attendees will have access to food and drinks during the event.[1]
    • Ideally the hotel you choose can prepare a menu that is varied enough to manage the different dietary requirements that your attendees will need.
  5. Consult with staff about the ability to receive and store exhibit equipment. Ask a manager or staff member if the hotel can house attendees’ exhibits ahead of time or store them in a conference room before presentations actually take place. If the hotel doesn’t have this sort of space, attendees would have to keep their exhibits in their rooms throughout the conference, which may be uncomfortable.[3]
    • Ask as well what assistance the hotel can provide in shipping the equipment and exhibits once the event is completed.
  6. Contact other companies that have used that hotel to get their feedback. If you know of other organizations that have used the hotel to hold a conference in the past, they can tell you what their experience was like. Ask specifically if they felt the hotel was a good choice for their conference and if they would choose the same hotel for future conferences.[3]
    • You can also find this type of information by looking up reviews of the hotel online.
  7. Talk to a manager about what costs and fees you may also have to pay. In addition to the upfront costs for rooms and presentation equipment, find out if there are other fees that you may not be thinking of right away. If they tell you there aren’t any, you may want to get a second opinion from someone who has hosted a conference there in the past, if you can.[3]

Deciding on a Hotel

  1. Find out whether each hotel has availability during your event dates. Once you know which hotels you’re interested in that are suitable to your needs, you need to find out whether they’re actually free to host your conference when you plan to hold it. Cross off of your list any hotels that don’t have availability, unless you have leeway to rearrange the dates of your conference.[3]
  2. Get a quote from each hotel you’re interested in and compare them. Call the front desk to explain everything that will be required for your conference and ask what the hotel would charge your organization. Be sure to consider the hotel’s reviews as well as price. A low price may be attractive but if the hotel has a reputation for lower quality in accommodations and guest services, it may be better to spend a little more and go with a hotel that has a higher rating.[4]
    • Ask if the hotel will offer any incentives to your organization for choosing them. If they know you’re comparing multiple hotels, they may have perks they could give you in order to secure your business.
  3. Make sure each hotel works for your needs. Visit the hotel if you haven’t already and take a tour of the premises. Check to see if it offers all of the accommodations that you would consider absolutely necessary for your conference to succeed.[4]
    • For example, if your conference venue absolutely needs to have at least 1 conference room, then check each hotel you’re interested in to confirm it has a sizable conference room you can use for your conference.
  4. Go with the most accommodating, accessible hotel within your budget. If you can afford the venue and it’s available during your conference dates, then it’s simply a matter of determining which hotel can best accommodate your conference. If you have trouble figuring this out, decide which accommodations are the most important for your conference and go with the hotel that features all of them.[3]
    • For example, if having large conference rooms is more important than having an onsite restaurant, use the size of each hotel’s conference rooms to decide which would be best for your event.{{greenbox:Tip: Always plan for a second option in the event that some type of natural disaster or emergency should render your first choice unavailable. Having a contingency plan will alleviate a lot of the stress involved in moving a major event with very little notice.}}

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