Determining your meeting requirements

By Christine Boon

One of the best ways to figure out your requirements is to develop a preliminary schedule. The schedule should be a general outline of what will happen and approximately when. The following list of considerations will help you think through these things:

  • What part of the country or world is best for the event? Consider location of attendees, time zone, climate.
  • How will the majority of attendees get to the hotel? Will they be driving?  Flying?
  • When will attendees arrive? For example, will participants get to the hotel the morning of the event or the night before?
  • How many times will you need to feed attendees? Will all meals be planned or will some meals be “on their own”?
  • Do you need to include any recreational activities such as sightseeing or sports outings?
  • Approximately when will attendees leave? After lunch? Late afternoon?  Evening? This affects issues such as check-out times, food service, travel arrangements and so forth.

Shown is the Conference Center at Holiday Inn St. Catharines Parkway.

Timing and logistics of the agenda are important parts of the preliminary schedule. Some primary considerations include:

  • How many morning, afternoon and evening sessions will take place? Will more than one session be held at one time? Approximately how many people will attend each session?
  • What meeting space and seating arrangements will be required for each session? Will you need a classroom arrangement? Theater? U-shape?
  • Will audiovisual equipment be needed?

Lastly, work with a firm budget. You can’t make any decisions unless you know what kind of costs you can bear. Ask the meeting initiator to give you a budget. The larger the event, certainly, the greater the relative costs, but other factors can drive expenses, such as attendees’ needs. Will you have clients to entertain?  Will you need to provide gifts and extra amenities to certain guests?

Select your location

The importance of selecting the right location can’t be overstated. With an understanding of the meeting’s requirements and budget, you can look for a hotel destination that meets your needs.

Facilities and services to consider when selecting a hotel destination are:

  • Location. Do you want to be close to your offices? Close to another site (client, corporate facility, airport)?
  • If attendees are required to stay at the meeting hotel, be sure to assess the number of hotel sleeping rooms required, including single and double rooms and suites (single and double refer to the number of people in each room). Also keep in mind the number of beds required for each hotel sleeping room. Remember, sleeping rooms may not be required for attendees living near the hotel.
  • Estimate the number and sizes of function rooms required for meetings, coffee breaks, exhibitions and meals.
  • Find out the number and types of restaurants within your possible hotel venues, along with available food and beverage services.
  • Determine if golf, tennis or other recreational facilities are available at the hotel or if guest privileges are available at nearby facilities.

About the author

Christine Boon is Brands Marketing Manager, Canada at InterContinental Hotels Group, featuring Crowne Plaza® hotels. You can trust Holiday Inn® hotels to help you make your group or meeting event a success.  For starters, Holiday Inn hotels will confirm acknowledgement of your group or meeting request within 2 hours (during standard business hours). Secondly, you will be greeted upon arrival, have a mid-day touch point and end-of-day review. In addition, your group block will be available at your specified time. There is a Holiday Inn or Holiday Inn Express® hotel in every major Canadian centre to serve your meeting and group events needs. Visit to learn more.

Venue & Supplier Profiles