EMEA Conference: Board Liaison Site Selection

Note: the site selection process is on hold at the moment while we assess the continuous uncertainty with the pandemic and identify resources. This SOP will be updated before the next selection process takes place.

The site selection for the European Conference is co-managed by the Board Liaison, Executive Director, and Event Assistant with the venue and dates ultimately being approved by the Board of Directors. 

  1. The board selects initial countries and cities based on the following:
    • Areas where we have not had a conference in recent years.
    • Cities that are large enough to hold us all in one hotel.
    • Areas where we have a strong concentration of active members (either in the immediate area, or within a short train ride away) to assist with conference planning efforts.
    • Cities with multiple options for conference sites that are within 60 minutes of a major international airport. 
    • Cities that are walkable, with close proximity to amenities. 
    • Feedback received from previous conference attendees (collected in conference evaluations)
  2. The Event Assistant creates an RFP that is approved by the ED and Board Liaison, and then sent to all hotels in the selected cities that meet our criteria. Criteria used for the RFP includes:
    • Minimum number of sleeping rooms available on each night of the conference,.The number of rooms used is determined based on the previous year's numbers, with an accommodation for future growth.
    • Requested concessions (i.e. items provided if we reach a minimum target for room nights), which include complimentary room upgrades for conference leadership, discount rate for staff rooms, discount rate for shipments/parking, etc.
    • Minimum space requirements - an outline of the full conference schedule and minimum capacities for each room from start to finish, including committee office space, exhibit hall space, meeting rooms, etc. Capacity used for these requirements is based on the previous year's numbers, with an accommodation for future growth.
    • The preferred daily delegate rate, based on the overall budget from previous years. 
    • Additional requirements, such as a generous cut-off date for attendee reservations, and a lowest rate guarantee (which ensures that attendees cannot find a lower rate through another web site). 
    • A history of our previous patterns for dates and room nights. 
    • Requested conference dates. The conference typically takes place in April. Dates are determined based on when the Asian Conference is held (it must be at least three weeks away), and when Easter takes place that year (the week of Easter is avoided).
  3. Proposals are received from the venues and vetted by the Event Assistant, the ED and the Board Liaison. Properties that do not meet our minimum requirements (i.e. requested dates, room rate, etc.) are removed from the list. 
  4. The Board Liaison reaches out to members in the local areas to gather feedback on the venues, including safety and walkability of the area. 
  5. The Board Liaison and Event Assistant visit all of the venues on the list to tour the facilities and meet the staff. The hotel visit checklist is obtained from the ED, and completed after the visit. The ED, Event Assistant and Board Liaison debrief from the visits and determine which locations to present to the board for a vote. 
  6. The Board Liaison presents the board with a list of all options available, including the following information:
    • Hotel name and web site
    • Room rate
    • Feedback from local members
    • Proximity to airport(s)
    • The layout, showing the location of the ballroom and the exhibit hall 
    • Pros/cons of each location
  7. Locations are evaluated by the board based on the following criteria:
Site Selection Criteria High Medium Low
Conference site within 60 minutes of airport X    
Hotel site is located in a safe area X    
Keep room rates at 200 Euro or less X    
Availability of selected hotel on preferred dates X    
Hotel site is in a ‘walkable’ area with access to restaurants, etc., or close to public transportation with access to amenities X    
Hotel sleeping room capacity and conference facility layout. Ideally, the ballroom and exhibit hall will be located on the same floor and in close proximity to each other. The exhibit area should provide equal exposure for all exhibitors.  X    
Nearby major airport serving many int’l carriers   X  
Presence of member schools/ employers in the vicinity to help with conference planning   X  
Entertainment/atmosphere compared to recent prior years (excursions, off-site gala, etc.)     X
  1. The board votes on the venue for the conference. 
  2. The contract is then negotiated by the Event Assisting, using the contract criteria checklist provided by the ED. The ED reviews and signs the contract. 
  3. The venue and dates are announced at the following year's European and Global Conferences, as well as by email.