A CEO’s Guide to Executive Meeting Venue Selection

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For off-site executive meetings, destination and venue selection is as strategic as the agenda.

Good Chemistry
Developed by Citibank in 1983, the Doral Arrowwood Hotel Conference Center in Rye Brook, New York, has a blue-chip meetings pedigree, hosting groups ranging from the Fortune 500 to U.S. presidential candidates. Set on 114 wooded acres 30 miles north of Manhattan, the amenity-rich resort offers 363 guest rooms, Executive Suite included, and the Doral Executive Center. Incorporating a former sales training facility purpose-built for a leading pharmaceutical company, the expansive venue, certified by IACC (the International Association of Conference Centers), is geared for maximum productivity.

For the past five-plus years, a major New York City-based professional services firm has selected Doral for business events, including quarterly internal training sessions and annual meetings. Anonymously, an executive planner for the firm explains Doral’s enduring appeal, starting with its convenient location.

“Access to NYC airports and highways without paying NYC hotel prices was a key criterion in our initial search of nearly a dozen hotel groups and conference centers in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut,” she recalls. “Doral’s close proximity to Westchester County Airport and complimentary shuttle service were immediate pluses.”

Sealing the deal was Doral’s core competency in conferencing. “Doral understands high-performance business event planning and how to execute programs in a corporate context,” said the planner. “Hotels can be stringent, with rigid operations and a-la-carte pricing [that adds] charges for every little item. At Doral, it’s seamless. From sales to the parking valet to the A/V technicians, the staff makes it their priority to support our business objectives while onsite, including tailoring a conference package to our needs. We continue to be corporate customers and have not looked elsewhere.”

Good chemistry with the venue’s sales team is paramount. “Being able to honestly express your meeting objectives and expectations is key to long-term relationships,” she says. “The liberty to share ideas will pay dividends, but you can only reach that utopia if both sides (client and hospitality group) have an open dialogue.”

At Your Service
For Trevor Gauthier, president of Denver-based Mortgage Cadence, an Accenture Company, “the foundation of a strong event lies in the level of service a venue can provide and how that melds with the service you provide your own customers.”

Like Tamosuinas, he sees a “pleasant experience” as the primary directive. “When a customer arrives at our event, I want them to relax, enjoy their time, and focus on the event itself.”


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