As first appeared in the Nashville Business Journal on June 17, 2014: http://www.bizjournals.com/nashville/blog/2014/06/home-field-advantage-keep-your-conference-close.html?page=all.
Summer sunshine is practically here. And that has people’s minds on going to the beach, or taking trips with family… basically not being at the office or in a meeting. But the show must go on!
There are still deals to be made, trainings to be held, and quarterly get-togethers to be had. When given the choice, more businesses are turning to a “less is more” approach to business travel during summer months – by keeping their meetings and conferences in their hometown.
Meeting Convenience and Cost Savings
Travel costs add up quickly, especially during peak summer tourism times. Keeping your conference local means no hotel rooms, no airfare, no rental cars, and no steak dinner-filled expense reports. Including airfare, the cost of an average business trip – all 1.75 days of it – boils down to $1,100 per person!
That’s according to a study by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Foundation. They found that in 2012, American business travelers took 452 million business trips, racking up a whopping $384 billion in expenses – all on the company’s dime.
Bring Clients to You
There are two ways to handle the need to incorporate co-workers or clients who are not based in your city: via web-conferencing or in-person. A wide range of software makes it possible for you to invite anyone to log-in and watch your conference live. But this could also be your chance to get to know those out-of-towners better – and furthermore, to showcase your city, your facility and your staff. Don’t be afraid to let them see firsthand what sets your company apart.
Get Out of the Office Without Leaving Town
Keeping your conference in your hometown doesn’t mean you’re downplaying your meeting or training and it doesn’t mean you have to stay in your building. Going off-site means fewer distractions: getting out of the office affords you the luxury of focusing 100 percent on your clients or the task at hand.
It guarantees fewer interruptions, and you won’t be forced to put out the small fires that pop up in day-to-day office life. Off-site locations will have a variety of rooms and customized seating arrangements to hold small groups, large groups, or both simultaneously.
Available amenities may include state-of-the-art technology – great for presentations and web-conferencing – and even gourmet coffee and catering. Not to mention the “wow” factor: you’ve automatically set your event apart from the typical Monday morning meeting.
Olivia Tomlin is the vice president of development and operations at Envision Conference Center in Brentwood, Tenn.