You’re a meeting planner organising an event for up to 500 delegates, travelling in from across the globe. Why should you consider the US for that large-scale meeting? Reed & Mackay Team Lead Groups Meetings & Events North America Kelli Wolfgram gives the lowdown on what the country has to offer.
If you want to fly delegates to a major city in the US, there’s plenty of options. There are ample flight connections between the US and the rest of the world; the US Department of Transportation’s latest figures reported U.S. and foreign air carriers transported 144 million passengers between the United States and the rest of the world for the year-ended June 2022. Flying domestically is equally straightforward; the destination has up to 5,000 airports that are used by the flying public.
“What a meeting planner organising a large-scale event needs to be conscious of is, if it’s a global event and you have people travelling from EMEA, consider holding the event on the east coast, because the flight isn’t as long. You’re looking at another four hours travelling if going to the west coast,” Wolfgram says. “If you do choose west, opt for EMEA travellers to come in a day before, so they can adjust to the time zone more easily.”
From alpine to tropical, the US has every climate to suit every need at any time of the year. “We’ll discover from clients whether they’re looking for somewhere warm, somewhere with a beach for delegate downtime, or inspirational surroundings in the mountains, and we go from there,” Wolfgram adds. “Whatever the time of year, there will always be somewhere to meet those needs.”
A meeting planner has an abundance of venues to choose from to host events in the US, particularly in major cities, from the huge convention centres and conference space in hotels to quirky venues that deliver the wow factor. Wolfgram recommends determining the point of interest first and whether the client wants delegates situated in one venue throughout the event.
“Say, for example, you’re hosting a global event, you might want all your employees staying in one hotel, and holding the conferences/break-out sessions in one place, both for ease and for safety reasons. In those cases, you’re really looking at destinations such as Las Vegas, which offers that type of infrastructure,” she says. “Reed & Mackay’s buying power is strong and our team has great relationships with key suppliers; getting better rates and concessions for clients.”
4. social activities
While large-scale meetings tend to take place over a two-to-three-day period, with dinners often arranged at the delegates’ hotels, meeting planners may be looking for an external venue for a special dinner or even offer an activity for anyone flying in earlier or later. As well as just a chance to explore a vibrant city destination, there are plenty of US destinations that offer everything from golf courses and cultural tours to kayaking and horse-riding.
5. sustainable options
“Sustainable events are 100% becoming more important and we’ve seen a rise in sustainability being asked for in RFPs,” Wolfgram says. Companies can choose from a wide selection of meetings venues near airports, to cut down on travelling further afield, although many major US airports have great public transportation access into the cities. Furthermore, cities like New York have a 24-hour public transport service and are great cities to walk from meeting to meeting. Meanwhile, on the accommodation side, you’ll find many hotels are LEED-certified properties (a globally recognised symbol of sustainability achievement).
6. wow Factor
Ocean views, a breathtaking city skyline, year-round sunshine – you’re never short of an inspirational destination in the US that will wow delegates – and may even play a part in getting them there. Wolfgram highlights New York, San Francisco, San Diego, Chicago, Houston and Austin in Texas, Miami and Orlando in Florida and Las Vegas as her pick of the US cities that work well for large-scale meetings and events.
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Wherever they’re travelling from, be sure to check which of your delegates requires a visa to visit the US. Your Reed & Mackay meeting and event planner can help you.