by Matt Alderton | June 19, 2017
One of the top reasons that people attend meetings and events is to network with peers and prospects. When they're choosing a meeting venue, therefore, meeting planners should look for spaces that make networking as easy as possible.

That means evaluating not only the space itself, but also what's around it, according to Lori Smith, director of conventions and meetings for the Sacramento-based California Association of School Business Officials. To help her 3,000 annual-convention attendees network, she looks for meeting destinations that have walkable convention districts with bars and restaurants where attendees can continue conversations after the meeting that they started during it.

"They meet in the workshops and sometimes they continue conversations out in the halls," Smith tells Successful Meetings contributor Ron Donoho. "They're talking and comparing notes, and maybe they say, 'Hey, let's grab a bite to eat.' And they can walk right across the street from the convention center and do that … When the restaurants are convenient and close by, it makes it so much easier to keep the interactions going."

The lesson: Look for venues that have not only good meeting spaces, but also lots of good neighbors!

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