Webinar Recap: Key Trends Driving Venue Selection

In this month’s FMAV webinar, Ryan Young, Associate Director of Sales at Brookstreet Hotel, spoke with  FMAV’s Alissa Hurley, VP of Marketing about the demand for technology in events and venues.

The needs of today’s planners and groups are much more complex than they were 10 years ago. Planners are looking for spaces that can support their event requirements both physically, and technically; they are becoming more strategic in their selections.

To continue to produce and deliver amazing events for all stakeholders, venues need to take notice of 4 key trends that are currently driving venue selection.

Ubiquitous Connectivity

Today, every event attendee is travelling with an average of 2.5 devices. Venues need to be able to meet the rising demand for internet bandwidth.

Bookstreet Hotel understands this need first hand. Situated in the heart of Canada’s largest technology park, Kanata North Tech Hub, the hotel hosts hundreds of technology clients, and as such has made strides to ensure they are technically equipped to support the unique requirements of these technology-focused companies.

Knowing what a group needs ahead of the time, can help a venue accommodate the need. “The more we know about the requirements we can tailor and make sure everyone is having a great Wi-Fi experience.” – Ryan Young.

How can planners and venues start the conversation? For tradeshows, it can be anticipated ahead of time many different exhibitors will have technical requirements and that may very booth to booth; understanding the varying needs of a meeting can kick-start the dialogue and uncover any special needs that need to be coordinated with the venue’s IT department. For example, video streaming, or webcasting an event to various corporate offices around the globe will require more bandwidth than light email or conference app usage. More and more meetings are becoming hybrid. Make sure you consult an AV expert if you are unsure of what is involved.

Intelligent Interactivity

What if hotels could bring all the comforts of home into guestrooms? Brookstreet Hotel has plans to install wireless access points, and Chromecast in individual guestrooms, so guests can watch their customized Netflix accounts on in-room monitors, without adding additional movie expenses to their guest bill.

Other enhancements to come to Brookstreet are:

built in RFID technology to enable guests the ability to download an app and use their phone as their room key as well as Bluetooth speakers to listen to their own music.

Some of the connectivity improvements to come to the property will include wireless access points to customize content through Wi-Fi, and send out unique personalized messages to each guest.

To enable the venue selection process, many venues are now offering virtual and augmented reality options for site inspections. Planners can now attend, and execute a virtual site inspection from across the country without sacrificing valuable time or travel costs by wearing a virtual reality headset. Enabling 360 views of each room for in-person site inspections, augmented reality can allow a planner to take their phone, scan it around the room, view, and see components such as rigging points, and even visualize room setups

Deliberate Design

More and more event planners are seeking non-traditional venues, and unique spaces to create one of a kind experiences. To meet this need, as part of their recent expansion, Brookstreet Hotel thought deeply about how space could increase the flow of natural light and enable more opportunities for collaboration and flexibility. The location and accessibility to outdoor spaces and off-site venues within a walking distance also fulfil the need to enable outdoor activities.

Both FMAV and Brookstreet Hotel support a deliberate approach to event design, having collaborated with clients utilizing the EventCanvas approach. The EventCanvas is a strategic management template for developing new or documenting existing events and conference models. It’s a visual chart with elements describing an event’s promise, how it helps stakeholders to get their jobs done, resolving pains and creating gains within a set framework of commitment and expected the return. The canvas articulates how the behaviour changes as a result of having participated in the event as well as stating the required levels of satisfaction against expectations. Additionally, the canvas outlines the costs and expected revenues in relation to the customer journey (service design) and the instructional design of the event.

Progressive Presentations

There are different ways to deliver content and information. Now, venues are considering how built-in technology solutions can engage audiences. From the convenience of built-in screens to intelligent lecterns, the style of information sharing is changing.

Communal spaces have become the extension of event main rooms. Some of the best networking happens outside the meeting room. Venues can support foyer spaces as built-in breakout rooms for cross-pollination. The benefit to the planner is space comes at no charge and is easily accessible. Enhancing this environment with flexible furniture to encourage learning will support the value and connection of those attendees.

Planners may not always realize these options are available, they may not be aware that a venue has these services and products. The key is to try to ask the right questions, if the planner is open to change, or has potential in their event, it is a chance to continue that conversation and inspire new ideas. Having both the venue and AV supplier involved at the early planning stage will help everyone align on key requirements.

The more the venue understands the budget and needs of the client, they can work within it. There are ways venues, planners, and AV companies can work together to create exceptional experiences within budget.

“A group having the best experience at your hotel is the best thing that you can do,” says Ryan. And, isn’t that what we are all trying to achieve?

To learn more about the 4 key trends driving venue selection, download the Venue of the Future ebook here.