Nine amazing off-site venue ideas for your next meeting or conference

Always trying to dazzle their attendees, meeting and event experts are consistently finding that next unique way to “wow” their clients. Whether planning an event around the corner or around the world, here are some ideas of unique off-site venues for your next reception, dinner or party:Nine amazing off-site venue ideas for your next meeting or conference

  • Museums – Many Museums accept after hours buy-outs of their space. Just imagine how excited your attendees will be dining in front of world renowned statues and art. Availability can be limited, especially for popular spots, so plan early.
  • Yachts – Super yachts are great for receptions, private dinners and add the extra opportunity of an amazing tour of the local waterways. Consider this for smaller groups, and they are also fantastic for incentives.
  • Stadiums – Have a big group you want to impress? Light up a baseball stadium or hockey arena. Many stadiums are seeing the value of off-day venue rental, and believe it or not it is not as expensive as you might think. Just remember many have catering contracts in place, which may restrict the food selection, so you want to plan with the catering company well in advance.
  • Warehouses – Want rough and rustic? Warehouses may be a great choice for coordinating an off-site event. The challenge can be warehouses don’t always have the staple services or equipment to put on an event, so you may be bringing in supplies. However, if different is what you want, this may be the choice for you.
  • Mansions and homes – Many of the world’s greatest dwellings are vacation homes. Consider a high end mansion or home for a private party. This is a great option for cities without strong, traditional venues like hotels and restaurants. Partner up with a great caterer, and you are on your way to a truly unique event experience.
  • Cultural spaces – Work with the local cultural commission and find those special places in the city where you are conducting your conference. From restored historic buildings like old train stations to government public spaces, the world is your oyster of choice. The benefit on this option can be price. Usually very affordable verses the other options, these spaces can also give attendees the real feel of the city.
  • Retails stores – From department to smaller, intimate antique shops, retail is becoming a hot option for dinners and receptions. Tie in a gift card for the attendees as a unique takeaway and you will have some very happy attendees. Stores love the exposure, and often the venue will offer their space without a fee.
  • Gardens  – From local parks to botanical gardens, cities love to showcase their outdoor space. Ask the local parks department what unique venues they have – you may be surprised.  Also, a very affordable option, having an outdoor event, weather permitting, is a great way to get your attendees in the open air after an all-day conference.
  • Airplane hangers – Looking for a blank space to make your own? Try an airplane hangar. With its high walls and sprawling cement floors, hangers can be turned into almost anything. Be sure to know the security requirements at the hanger area, as you don’t want your attendees waiting in line. Consider smaller executive airports that have the space, but not necessarily the heavy security of the larger airports.

Off-site events are all about creativity. Venues are a great place to start. At AMI, we always look at options from very affordable to extremely expensive. There are venues for everyone. The extra work will pay off, and your client and attendees will have a wonderful memory of their event.

About the author:

Andy McNeill, CEO of AMI, is a veteran of the meetings and event industries, with more than 25 years of experience in the profession. He has assisted firms in a variety of industries including pharmaceutical, biotech, healthcare, consumer, sports marketing and investment banking. He firmly believes in the strategic meeting marketing model and provides consulting services to Fortune 100 clients on the practice. After graduation from Florida State with a degree in marketing, Andy began his career in the event marketing group at Florida State Athletics. Soon after, he launched his own event marketing company and after five years merged with a major sports marketing firm. Andy spent six years with NSG Corporation as the Senior Vice President leading the sales and marketing for the firm who produced events for over 200,000+ attendees annually across the globe. Andy and the NSG team worked with the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta to produce portions of the Opening Ceremonies. Following NSG, Andy secured the role as COO at Fanizzi Associates, one of the nation’s largest event pharmaceutical firms. There he managed the overall operations of the company who executed over 400 events annually for physicians and internal pharmaceutical clients. Revenues exceeded $40 million a year. In 2002, Andy left Fanizzi Associates, and launched AMI with the vision of owning and operating a premiere event marketing and meeting management firm. Since 2002, AMI has grown into a multi-million dollar organization producing hundreds of events annually. The firm has managed programs in more than 20 industries for clients such as Novartis, Mars, Cleveland Clinic, J & J, Baxter, Pfizer and Office Depot. Andy’s vision of keeping AMI on the forefront of meetings technology, theory and practice has made it an industry leader. He is a member of MPI, Site, and the American Marketing Association. He volunteers as a chair of the Human Rights Campaign. Andy's day-to-day responsibilities include client acquisition, consulting and overall company strategy.

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