Considering a Destination Conference? Easter Associates Makes It Easy

Considering a Destination Conference? Easter Associates Makes It Easy

By Christi Connors, Senior Director

When it comes to planning conferences and events, Easter Associates has long been recognized as a leader for associations within Virginia. What might come as a surprise, however, is our extensive network of connections that spans the entire Mid-Atlantic region. In fact, many of our Virginia-based clients have found they prefer hosting their conferences outside of the commonwealth. The opportunity to tap into new local markets, to expose attendees to different cultural and recreational activities, and often to enjoy cost savings from venues outside major metropolitan areas are all major reasons to consider an out-of-state event.

If your association is contemplating a destination conference, there are several key factors to consider, and Easter Associates is uniquely positioned to guide you through this process. Our experience in organizing events outside of our Virginia has taught us the importance of adaptability, meticulous planning, and leveraging local knowledge. Here’s a glimpse into what we do differently when planning an out-of-state conference and how we can make your next event a resounding success.

Site Visits: The Cornerstone of Effective Planning

Understanding the layout and functionality of your space is vital in planning any sort of event. While we always recommend a site visit to ensure the venue meets your needs, we also understand that it might not always be feasible. In such cases, arriving a few days early to conduct a walkthrough with your event planner and agenda is invaluable. This allows for a firsthand assessment of the space. Additionally, many venues now offer 3D tours and detailed floor plans online, providing a solid understanding of the space you’re considering. Remember, your Convention Services Manager (CSM) is there to help, so make sure to utilize their expertise.

Note: To minimize confusion among attendees, we typically avoid listing room names on printed materials, opting instead to provide maps, schedules, or information booklets, on-site. This flexibility is key should any last-minute changes occur.

Travel: Making the Journey as Smooth as the Destination

The logistics of getting to your conference venue should be as stress-free as possible. If driving poses potential headaches due to distance or traffic, consider alternative transportation methods. Taking a train can offer a more relaxed environment where you can work or rest during the journey. For those coming from further away, flying is an efficient choice, and some airlines offer group rates or discounts for conference travel. If you are flying, though, plan for delays and make the most of the airline’s luggage policies—it might be more economical to pay for extra baggage than to ship materials separately. Additionally, ride-sharing services, car rentals, or even public transportation, may provide the flexibility you need once you arrive at your destination.

Packing: A Lesson in Essentials

Packing efficiently is paramount. Assess what’s truly necessary for your mobile office and event needs. Opt for compact, versatile items for giveaways, like gift cards, which are easy to transport and always appreciated by recipients.

And remember, most destinations will have stores or services nearby for any last-minute needs. Whether it’s a forgotten item or a sudden requirement, solutions are usually just a call or click away. Take some time during your initial site visit to scope out the local area, so you’ll know what nearby resources are available during your event.

Embracing Flexibility and Practicality

At Easter Associates, we understand that planning events, especially in unfamiliar territories, requires a balance of preparation and the ability to adapt. Whether your association is based in Virginia or elsewhere in the Mid-Atlantic, Easter Associates is equipped with the knowledge, connections, and flexibility to bring your out-of-state conference to life. Let us handle the logistics, so you can focus on what truly matters—creating an engaging and successful event for your attendees.

Ready to Elevate Your Next Conference? Planning an out-of-state conference can be complex, but with Easter Associates, it doesn’t have to be. Our team is ready to leverage our extensive network and expertise to ensure your event is not just successful, but unforgettable. If you’re considering a destination conference for your association, we’d love to hear from you. Reach out to us today to discuss how we can support your association’s conference planning needs and help you make a lasting impression on your attendees.