May 01, 2017

More and more planners are looking outside traditional venues and beyond standard concepts for their meetings and events. 

Venues
According to a new report event by ticketing platform Eventbrite and venue booking site Peerspace, there's a definite trend toward nontraditional meeting spaces. 

"The erosion of formal business culture and the growing demand for unique experiences have made nontraditional venues increasingly viable - and appealing - for event organizers," says Eventbrite and Peerspace in their report, titled "Thinking Outside the Ballroom: The Rise of Nontraditional and Unique Event Venues." 

Eventbrite and Peerspace attribute the trend to less formal office culture; attendee demand for unique experiences; and technology, which makes it easier for companies to both discover and adapt unique spaces.

The report highlights some nontraditional venues that would easily lend themselves to meetings and events. For example: warehouses and studios, which could be suitable for pop-up dinners and corporate events; lofts and rooftops, for cocktail parties and receptions; art galleries and museums for higher-end functions; and farmhouses, vineyards, and villas for more sedate retreats.

Some destinations have a huge potential for non-typical venues. "From well-known museums to a tropical zoo, The Palm Beaches offers an extensive array of unique offsite venues perfect for groups and meetings," says Kelly Cavers, SVP of Group Sales with Discover The Palm Beaches.

Historic Flagler Museum in Palm Beach


Ideas/Concepts
All planners crave the knockout theme/concept that blows their group away with its originality and creativity. Here are some tips for outside-the-box inspiration:
* Don't come up with ideas in a vacuum, know your group. "Great" is a relative term: what's great for one group may be terrible for another, so tailor the experience to your group. 
* Consult with the CVB and venue meetings staff - they know their territory and can suggest interesting venues and ways to blend your ideas with their capabilities. "With convention districts in Boca Raton and West Palm Beach and more than 16,000 hotel rooms county-wide, The Palm Beaches has the widest array of meeting options in Florida," says Cavers.
* Technology is a tool, not an end in itself. The "wow" comes from how you apply technology, not from the tech itself.
* Think about new uses for an old venue or concept. Easier said than done, but it takes effort and inspiration. Thinking outside the box is about breaking down mental barriers. 
* Themes can come from the world around you: Broadway shows, pop tunes, movies, etc. How can those tie in to your group? Can the CEO play a part? 
* The theme reflects your group's passion. For example, a theme relying heavily on photography (or a art/photographers group) could meet at a venue like the Palm Beach Photographic Centre. A theater group could meet at The Wick Theatre & Costume Museum in Boca Raton. 

For ideas on meetings in The Palm Beaches, visit http://www.thepalmbeaches.com/meetings-conventions

[Top photo: Boca Raton convention district hub on the Intercoastal Waterway.]