One of our biggest considerations for our international events is the venue we choose in each city. We have found that many brand name hotels carry the same quality in Europe as they do here (Ritz, Dolce), while others can be much, much nicer than their American counterparts. (We just had an event at a Crowne Plaza in Dublin that’s a gorgeous & modern 4-star hotel with amazing service.)
Again we do have to rely on websites to give us a sense of the property; we have to see good photos of the meeting spaces & sleeping rooms. For our clients in particular, we need to find unique venues; there must be some sort of interesting history, architecture or modern design for them to want to bring their attendees to it. We also look for meeting rooms with great views & windows are a must! (We have found attendees learn & retain much more in meeting rooms with a view.)
Since our guests are there for 3 or more days it’s important to us to have distinctly different spaces for classes compared to where meals are held. Having outdoor spaces available for night time events are key to a successful event as well. After 8 hours of learning you need to give the attendees somewhere interested to enjoy their evening activities.
Don’t forget to ask what their commission structure is for bringing a group to their venue. While not as common as in America, we’ve found venues will work with you on this; we even had one property come up with a commission rate to get our business. In this current world economy, everyone is working harder to win your business!