How are sites for the AHOU Annual Conference selected?
The Executive Council is always pleased to receive input from members on sites for future Annual Conferences. There are, however, some specific factors that determine what sites can ultimately be considered. The information below is a general guideline on what is looked for in a site for the AHOU Annual Conference.
Dates - AHOU wants to keep the Annual Conference between mid April and early May. Dates such as Easter, Passover and general holidays that would affect the majority of North America are always avoided. Often, we are left with only two or three sets of dates within that time period to include in our Request for Proposal to possible hotel locations.
Weather - Since spring weather can be somewhat challenging in many parts of the country, we tend to focus on parts of the country with milder weather, including Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Arizona, California, Nevada, etc.
Air Service - There are cities in targeted areas of the country with the mild weather we seek; however, airlines do not offer the number of affordable seats necessary to accommodate AHOU's attendees – cities like Savannah, Charleston, Memphis, etc.
Size of Hotel property - Because of the amount of meeting space required, AHOU usually can only consider first tier cities, such as Orlando, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Miami, etc. These cities have properties that can accommodate our space requirements and are able to handle large conventions. Beautiful cities in milder climates such as Savannah, Charlotte, or Memphis do not offer properties with the required amount of meeting space. AHOU wants to keep the Annual Conference in one hotel property and avoid using multiple properties or a convention center. To accommodate the AHOU Annual Conference program, a property must meet these minimum requirements:
· 20,000 square feet for the Expo
· 17,500-20,000 square feet for the general sessions
· 7-8 breakouts able to accommodate 100-150 people each
· 650 available hotel rooms on peak night
Other considerations - We also look at a variety of diverse factors when considering sites. These factors include the overall appeal of the destination, what activities are available for attendees during free time, what entertainment options are accessible to sponsors, whether the property is union or non-union, general costs at the property and surrounding area, and what contractual considerations are offered from a property that would benefit the conference.
Should you have additional questions or suggestions, please direct them to the AHOU President, Executive Vice President or meeting planner.