How to Choose the Perfect Venue for Your Annual Association Meeting

where to host an annual association meeting

For association meeting planners, the thought of organizing the annual meeting may evoke a sense of routine or formality. However, these meetings can be valuable opportunities for growth and collaboration. 

As an essential aspect of member engagement and retention, annual association meetings, educational meetings, and others provide opportunities to learn from experts, network with peers, and create a sense of community among members. Furthermore, some associations even enshrine these important gatherings in their bylaws, scheduling them on a consistent annual basis. 

Embracing these meetings can lead to positive outcomes and more robust connections within the organization.

So, who says these meetings can’t be both productive and fun? Diligence and attention to detail are crucial when organizing this kind of event, which is why your chosen venue matters.

4 Steps for Association Meeting Planners to Select the Perfect Virginia Venue

So, who says these meetings can’t be both productive and fun? Diligence and attention to detail are crucial when organizing this kind of event, which is why your chosen venue matters.

association meeting planners perfect va venue
The Inn at Virginia Tech | Photography by Mark Skalny

1. Get the Venue Right

The right venue makes meeting planning so much easier. You want guests to be delighted and leave with a favorable view of their experience. There are a few factors that go into choosing the right location:

Prioritize accessibility at the venue

Choose a venue that provides ADA-compliant facilities to ensure the meeting is accessible to all people. While most event spaces provide adequate facilities, not all give enough. No matter how seemingly perfect, a venue is not suitable if it doesn’t provide facilities to make all attendees feel comfortable and welcome.

Ask about venue staffing

The attendee-to-venue staff ratio is an element of event planning that often gets overlooked. 

Ensure the event location has enough wait staff and concierge support on board. Ask about tech support and other event venue features, such as audio-visual equipment and charging stations.


For an annual meeting, select a location that is a destination unto itself. The idea is to ease some of the boredom that can be associated with such meetings by always traveling to the same destinations. Most importantly, the venue should be convenient for all attendees and attract members from various locations.

INNSider Tip: Will your association meeting be longer than a day? Consider nearby attractions so your attendees can tack on extra time for exploration and connection.

2. Savor the Flavors: Explore Your Catering Options

Photography by Mark Skalny

Attendees will remember and talk about an excellent meal for a while, but lousy food will linger on their minds forever. You don’t want your event to carry such a reputation. First, determine if the venue offers catering services or if you’ll need to bring in outside catering.

The next step is determining what food and beverage options to provide. Consider dietary restrictions, variety of offerings, and local specialties to ensure everyone is catered to and has a memorable experience. Knowing your attendee’s preferences and special needs is important in more intimate gatherings.

Remember, food helps manage the minds and moods of the participants and plays a crucial role in people’s experiences of an event. The catering options enable social interactions and provide a necessary break from the monotony of discussions. So make sure the venue can meet these standards.

3. Let’s Talk Numbers: Budgeting

Let’s talk about money. It’s a constraint, which is the first thing to consider when planning an annual association meeting. 

Harmonizing your budget means considering all expenses related to facility rental costs, meeting organization, and other associated expenses. It’s vital to leave a little wiggle room in the budget for contingencies.

The venue will likely be the most significant expense, yet another reason to get it right. 

Choose a Virginia venue that meets your expectations while staying within budget. An experienced conference planner can assist you by providing options and resources for the venue. A cheaper venue might mean you’re getting the venue but not the quality you expect, and no add-ons. Consider the amenities that come with the venue to ensure your organization’s and delegates’ needs are met throughout the event.

4. Tackle Technology

meeting at the inn at virginia tech

Speaking of facilities and services, every meeting space nowadays must be built to handle hybrid meetings

There’s nothing that can ruin a meeting’s atmosphere quite like malfunctioning tech. Ensure the event space is equipped to handle your meeting’s unique needs.

Keep audio-visual quality high, and the equipment installed should be easy to handle and troubleshoot.

Technology is an essential tool that can make or break your event. It streamlines communication and is the backbone of a successful event.

RELATED: Technology, Meeting Safety, and Innovation – Trends for Corporate Meetings

The Inn at Virginia Tech – Your Perfect Meeting Place

Experience a rich blend of history, culture, and nature. We have it all, plus the ability to morph our event spaces to suit the unique needs of your meeting.

Contact us to help plan the perfect annual meeting.

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