@MPIGNY - Winter 2015 - (Page 8)

#feature THINKING OUTSIDE THE BY CAROLINE MUDGE W HOTEL hen sourcing locations for an event, keeping the entire program at a hotel can be attractive from a logistical perspective. There's no transportation to coordinate. There's continuity in staffing, which allows planners to hand off that piece of the puzzle to the hotel. However, taking attendees off property can transport them out of the typically windowless ballroom and gives them a flavor of the local culture. It's energizing. For conferences and educational events, it infuses fun and adventure into the mix. Ultimately, this can increase attendee retention and engagement and be a factor in increased registration in the future. For social events, location can be a critical draw, particularly for non-profits. Universal Studios in Florida. So how do you start looking for that unique location that will peak attendees' interest and draw them in? A good first step is contacting the local convention and visitors bureau. These experts offer no-cost resources and have a storehouse of knowledge about local venues and vendors. CVBs are one-stop shops for the multiple resources needed for events, providing descriptions of locations, as well as lists of transportation, d├ęcor, entertainment, catering and photography providers. Some provide RFP services. Typically, the leg work of contacting and evaluating vendors is your next step, which can be time-consuming. If the event is in a smaller city or town without a CVB, try the local Chamber of Commerce, or if you budget allows, considering using a destination management company. Now let's look at some of the options for offsite events that will spark your attendees' interest. Larger, well known locations are easy to find on the internet and your attendees may already be familiar with them. Some lesser known locations are below and may provide food for thought for similar venues. Museums Giving your guests an exclusive look at a museum after hours without the crowds will make them feel special. Touring works of art, science and/or scandal provides great conversation openers for networking. On the West Coast, there are many options. For classic car enthusiasts, at the Astor Classics Events Center in Anaheim attendees can mix and mingle among the museum's extensive historic and modern 8 @MPIGNY WINTER 2015 day collection. Dress it up with a period theme and hire a band with that flair. Why not encourage invitees to come in costume? The Hiller Aviation Museum in Silicon Valley houses an eccentric collection of aircraft from vintage through the experimental and absurd. They also have flight simulators and other interactive toys. Typically, cocktails are served throughout the exhibits and there is an adjoining function room for dinner or sponsor exhibits. In San Diego, Balboa Park is a center of arts, science and culture, including lush gardens, the San Diego Museum of Art and the world-famous San Diego Zoo. The event management team will be happy to help you organize a tour of their many attractions or assist in choosing one to host an event. The park is a popular location for weddings. Back on the East Coast, Washington, D.C. is a major hub for museums. If the crowd has an appetite for scandal, try the Museum of Crime and Punishment. Attendees can sip cocktails as they learn about dastardly deeds and how law enforcement nabbed the bad guys. The location includes interactive stations, such as high-speed police chase simulators and a firearms training simulator. Then head to the America's Most Wanted studio on the lower level for dinner. For news hounds, try the Newseum and see how the media affects our shared experience of important moments. There are multiple sleek, modern event spaces with thought-provoking exhibits within the museum and a conference center above it. Plus, the in-house caterer is Wolfgang Puck. Some other honorable mentions are the

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of @MPIGNY - Winter 2015

President's Message
Ask the Board
Thinking Outside the Hotel
Exploring Alternative Venues in Las Vegas
Social Media Events
The Top Meeting and Destination Events of 2015
Travel Tips from the Doctor's Desk
29th Annual Auction and Mixology Madness 2.0!
Save the Date!
Day in the Life
Notes from the Field
15 in 2015 in Chicago
New Members
Advertiser's Index

@MPIGNY - Winter 2015