Global Conference: Board Liaison Site Selection

Note: no site selection will take place in 2022. This SOP will be updated in future years when a site selection will take place.

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

  1. The board selects initial states and cities to explore based on the following:
    • Regions where we have not had a conference in recent years.
    • Cities that are large enough to hold us all in one hotel (prefeably without having to utilize a convention center for meeting space). 
    • Areas where we have a strong concentration of active members to assist with conference planning efforts.
    • Cities with multiple options for conference sites that are within 60 minutes of a major airport. 
    • Cities that are walkable, with close proximity to amenties. 
    • Feedback received from previous conference attendees (collected in conference evaluations)
  2. Connections 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 availalbe on each night of the conference, with peak nights being Tuesday and Wednesday. 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 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 maximum food and beverage minimum spend that will be accepted, based on the previous year's budget with accommodation for future growth.
    • 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. 
    • A request for meeting and hotel night space for the mid-year board meeting in December, so the board can visit the venues to make the decision. 
    • Requested conference dates. We request the last week of June so as not to conflict with NACE, SHRM or GMAC, as well as late spring graduation ceremonies for many schools on the west coast. 
  3. Proposals are received from the venues and vetted by Connections, 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 presents the board with a list of all options available, including the following information:
    • Hotel name and web site
    • Room rate
    • Amenities and concessions - i.e. discounts, upgrades, etc.
    • Feedback from local members
    • Proximity to airport(s)
    • Pros/cons of each location
  6. Locations are evaluated by the board based on the following criteria obtained from member feedback (through the conference evaluations):
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 $280 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 X    
Rotate the conference geographically (board priority)   X  
Nearby major airport serving many int’l carriers   X  
Access to major employers/schools for relationship bldg. outside of conference   X  
Prospective employer members in the vicinity   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
Presence of prospective vendors / exhibitors / sponsors in vicinity     X
  1. One city is selected based on the criteria above. The board hosts the mid-year board meeting in this city. Half of the board members stay at eachhotel, and the board meeting is split up among each hotel (one hotel per day). The board also participates in a tour of each facility. Criteria used to evaluate the hotels during the tour can be found here
  2. Based on feedback from the board during the site visit, a decision is made by the board. The contract is then negotiated by Connections and approved by the Executive Director. Criteria used to evaluate the contract can be found here.
  3. The venue and dates are announced at the following year's Global Conference, during the business meeting.