Selecting a venue is one of my favorite parts of meeting planning. There are so many wonderful and varied facilities to hold meetings at these days. If you’ve ever wondered should I do this meeting at a Conference Center or a Convention Center, here is what you need to know…
The biggest differences between conference centers and convention centers are the size of the group served (typically higher in convention centers) and the level of service provided (typically higher in conference centers). Conference centers offer a higher ratio of meeting space to guest rooms and provide upscale furnishings (i.e., upholstered ergonomic chairs), high-tech audiovisual equipment, skilled conference planning staff, and other amenities that maximize the effectiveness of the seminars and other intensive, high-value meetings that they host.
Convention centers are in the business of selling and servicing trade shows, and conference centers are in the business of selling and servicing meetings. A convention center contains one or more exhibition halls and a large number of meeting or “breakout” rooms. Conference centers tend to be more intimate and create a feeling of retreat even if they are on a University campus.
Here are some of my favorite Convention and Conference Centers:
The Anaheim Convention Center with 1.15 million square feet of exhibit space is the largest exhibit facility on the West Coast.
State-of-the-art meets natural splendor at this retreat and conference center on Maine’s coast. Four-star accommodations, cutting edge facilities and coastal scenery that’s quintessentially Maine – this is Point Lookout Retreat and Conference Center.
The Henley Business School is one of Europe’s largest and most popular business schools. The school allows use of the conference center at the Greenlands, UK campus for lectures, meetings, presentations, workshops, trainings and exhibitions. All rooms have state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment available. However, even more impressive than the meeting facilities is the unique modern architecture and design of the building. The spectacular arches, curves and stained glass make this one of the most uniquely designed campus conference centers in the world.
Some convention and conference centers may be too big, causing your group to feel lost in a cavernous space. Others may be too small, making your guests feel claustrophobic. But the right size center will be just perfect. This is the Goldilocks challenge for Meeting Planners. Striving for everyone to live happily ever after!