Event Management

How to Plan an Event in the Top 10 Must Visit Cities

Skift Take

Here are some insider tips on how to plan an event in the top 10 travel cities of 2016.

According to Lonely Planet, these 10 cities are the best in travel to visit which means they could be great locations for your events and very appealing locations to entice attendees.

So the question is, how do you plan an event there and run meetings in these cities? Here we have a quick lowdown on how you can organize events in these locations, even if they are previously unknown to you.

  1. Portland, Oregon

Portland doesn’t disappoint as the “Greenest City” and has some fantastic excursions to add to your guests itinerary including Oregon Zoo, Washington Park, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, Portland Japanese Garden and Pittock Mansion. Some of these venues also offer meeting or reception options such as the Oregon museum who incorporate entry into the price.

Alternatively the OCC (Oregon Convention Center) is one of the largest facilities in the city to cater for your event. It has 50 meeting rooms of varying sizes, two ballrooms for evening or black tie events, a large underground parking garage, catering options and event packages to making planning easier. The outdoor, 30,000 sq. ft plaza can also house concerts, receptions or markets and showcases as an outdoor space which is open to the public when no events are going on. Highly connected to local hotels and Portland International Airport for excellent transport links this could be a good venue to consider.

  1. Moscow, Russia

Visiting Gorky Park which shows open-air movies and sports as well as the Tretyakov Gallery which shows collections of 21st Century Russian Art and the Bolshoi Ballet should be on the Itinerary in Moscow as must-see sites and attractions.

An interesting venue and accommodation combination in Moscow is the large and looming Best Western Vega Hotel & Convention Center which is perfect for larger events with its 1,000 rooms, free Wi-Fi, 24-hour room service, fitness center, bars, restaurants and a coffee house. Its modern conference rooms can accommodate up to 500 but the convention center can house 1,500. One of the main benefits is that it is only a 15 minute walk from the center of Moscow for sightseeing and excursions. It’s close to the Red Square, the Kremlin and the unique vodka museum and cultural shops to buy authentic gifts.

  1. Lisbon, Portugal

There is plenty to do and see in Lisbon with an array of restaurants with unparalleled seafood and fantastic art and culture throughout the city to give an authentic feel straight away. Some excursions to add to your tour if there is time are the Aqueduto das Aguas Livres, Torre de Belem or the fine art museum; Museu Calouste Gulbenkian.

For venues that are a bit more unusual around Lisbon you could opt for a stately backdrop with the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos which is a Monastery and world heritage site that can house 1,700 standing or 300 dining in the cloisters, or one of the 12 rooms available for private hire which seat 700 banquet style or 900 for a reception. This venue gives a cultural depth to an event and would suit classy fundraisers and the on-site Navy Museum also adds something extra to the event for the guests to peruse.

  1. Seoul, South Korea

Usually in the top 3 of Asia’s conference destinations and top 10 internationally, Seoul combines technology and tradition to provide a stunning location for your event. The immediate venue that springs to mind is the COEX Convention & Exhibition Center which is one of the largest complexes around Asia and has housed events such as 100 Years of the Nobel Peace Prize, the ASEM Summit and even the IAA World Congress. It can host small events of 100 attendees to larger conferences or tradeshows up to 7,000 guests.

Alternatively if you want something smaller you can look at the Millennium Seoul Hilton which is under 2 miles from the business district and has 9 restaurants, 680 guest rooms and small to large meeting rooms to accommodate up to 400 guests.

To fill your itinerary, Seoul has stunning national parks for hiking, walking or photography and plenty of historical sites to visit such as the Gyeongbokgung Palace or The War Memorial of Korea. There are also food tours, theme and water parks and city highlight tours to add a day of fun and entertainment to the event.

  1. Pistoia, Italy

You may not have heard of this city in Italy because it is normally Rome that takes all the credit, however for those looking to avoid the swarms of tourists and give your attendees a more authentic feel you should opt for Pistoia. As a relatively small city you can travel around and view the stunning architecture of buildings such as The Church of Sant’Andrea, San Giovanni Fuorcivitas church or the Cathedral of St. Zeno. Alternatively you could plan day excursions for corporate events to Montecatini which is a renowned spa used by the Romans and claims to have healing waters for certain ailments of the gallbladder, liver and the intestines. There are also plenty of walking tours and dining experiences for the foodie attendee so there are options for everyone.

For a combination hotel and venue the Grand Hotel Villa Cappugi is an excellent option for meetings or small events up to 300 guests. It has free WiFi and internet as well as parking, air conditioning and use of landscaped gardens and outdoor pool. Its 4 conference halls and 77 rooms are easily accessible by road and they also offer sports such as biking, tennis and football for guests.

  1. Ohrid, Macedonia

Ohrid is a stunning city with plenty of history and old architecture to create a stunning backdrop for any event. For those with guests or attendees into sightseeing and historical tours there are plenty of options nearby including the Bay of the Bones Museum, a boat tour of Lake Ohrid, St. Jovan Kaneo and the Monastery of Saint Naum, which are all bound to wow your group.  

There are plenty of accommodation options in Macedonia but finding a combination venue might be the best option to avoid unnecessary travelling for guests. To accommodate meetings or informal conferences you can opt for the Metropol Lake Resort which contains a conference and banqueting center and 8 rooms of different sizes and capacities to meet your needs. They can accommodate up to 400 guests’ theatre style, 250 cocktail, 120 banquet and 170 boardroom so for smaller gatherings or seminars this could be a valid option.  

  1. Merida, Mexico

Merida was built and incorporated upon ancient Mayan ruins which are not only a useful hike and expedition to see the The Mayapan Mayan Ruins and the Zona Arqueologica Uxmal but they add a great bucket list option for the itinerary and are a sight to behold. As a city, it is a particular favorite for international event organizers thanks to the Yucatan XXI Century convention and exhibition center which is state of the art and has held events such as the International Physics Olympiad and the WILD9 Wilderness Congress.

If you are looking for everything to be on site for corporate retreats or meetings you should consider the Fiesta Americana Merida which can hold up to 1,100 attendees, has 13 event and meetings rooms and also provides 337 guest rooms, catering services for your event and a gym, spa and a few bars for evening events.

  1. Los Angeles, USA

There are plenty of fantastic venues in Los Angeles if you are looking to give your attendees something special. Home of the Universal Studios Hollywood, you can hire some of their rooms for private corporate events or even use their landscaped, watery outdoor setting that comes with their own backdrops. For high tech events, the studios offer special discounts to provide visual and special lighting effects to add an extra wow factor.

For sports fans or themed events you can host meetings or even festivals (up to 56,000) in Dodger stadium. You can also hire former Dodger Legends as guest speakers and the stadium club also provide catering too with a package deal which can save you time, effort and money when organizing.

If you have a small corporate event or meeting, a quirky place to hold these is the Air Force One pavilion which is suitable for 1,400 seated dinner guests or 1,600 attendees and includes tours of the plane as well as some its history. Things to add to your itinerary while you are there include visiting Venice beach, the Hollywood walk of fame or shopping (or window shopping) on Rodeo Drive.

  1. Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town has a range of interesting conference centers, such as the Two Oceans Aquarium, which would be particularly popular for environmental fundraisers or conservation events and you can combine fun and education with predator tours and guided aquarium extras. For fantastic views, the Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa offers accommodation and several room options with banquet style packages, plus it’s only 5-15 minutes from the main beaches and waterpark.

If you’re in need of a combination of accommodation and event hosting or catering facilities, the Rockwell Hotel in Cape Town is particularly useful for retreats, meetings, conferences or even hosting larger events for up to 350 people. It would make a great headquarters for hosting an event.

You can also fill the itinerary with fun experiences such as a cable car up Table Mountain, or visiting The Old Biscuit Mill market on a Saturday which offers organic foods, luxury beer, hand-made cheeses and a range of stalls, culture and dining for an all-round day trip to incorporate into corporate weekends or offer a break from meetings.

  1. Bordeaux, France

With a range of Museums, historic sites and tours, Bordeaux in France is a beloved travel and wedding destination. There are plenty of hotel options in and around Bordeaux with free WiFi as standard. A favorite venue for meetings or conferences and accommodation is the “Mercure Bordeaux Cite Mondiale Centre Ville Hotel” which has 97 rooms and 5 meeting areas and can cater for around 280 attendees as well as offering specific business package programs.

You will be looking at averages of around $90 (£70) per night (although group rates are available) and it is also within walking (or tram distance) to the city center where you can enjoy walking city sightseeing tours, river cruises and visit famous monuments. You could always incorporate sites such as “The Water Mirror” or “Place de la Bourse (Palace Royale) or even group activities for corporate events or teambuilding such as wine tasting.

In Conclusion

These 10 must visit travel cities around the globe are also great locations for events, with lots to offer your attendees. We have highlighted some of the venues and local sights which are worth considering if you are looking to work in any of these locations.