Planning a conference for the first time is no easy task! Choosing the right venue for our first International Crisis Management Conference was my main focus when organizing this event. The location can make or break the experience! When I was searching for the perfect venue for ICMC Boston, there were three main details I needed to consider:
- I wanted our event space to be a bit different from the standard Conference Hotel. I chose the Aloft Boston Seaport after a hardhat tour in December 2015, nearly a month and a half before it opened its doors on February 4, 2016. While still very much under construction, I could tell that this hotel had a fresh modern feel to it. For a crisis conference, where the topics are generally cutting edge, I wanted the space to reflect the same. Clean lines, bright spaces, good sound and attention to detail. Choosing an event space that was still under construction was a risk, but one I’m glad I took.
- Having previously worked in the Boston area for 3 years, I knew an easily accessible location was key. I felt the upcoming Boston Seaport area and it’s vicinity to the Convention Center would be convenient for locals and travelers alike, instead of a busier (and pricier) downtown location. The parking area located at the adjacent Element Hotel was ample and less expensive than in other areas of the city, and the traffic was never an issue. The only issue that did arise, because the Aloft was so new, many taxi drivers didn’t know it existed!
- Lastly, the all-important food! With a limited budget, I wanted a menu that offered a variety of healthy choices, along with some local favorites. We offered a continental “sunrise” breakfast, consisting of whole grain toasts, fresh baked muffins, brioche & croissants, sliced fruit, charcuterie and artisanal cheeses. We also offered a buffet lunch consisting of three sandwich choices; roast beef with caramelized onions and boursin cheese on a brioche roll, roasted eggplant with goat cheese and roasted tomatoes on focaccia, and smoked turkey club, with apple wood smoked bacon on multi-grain bread, as well as chips, tomato and quinoa salad, and pickle spears. All meals and breaks included fresh coffee and tea along with sodas and assorted sweet treats. Choosing the menu was also a bit of a gamble considering there were no previous reviews or options for tasting prior to the event. However, the many compliments on the food helped confirm I made the right menu choices.
I will be taking what I learned in planning ICMC Boston 2016, and will be making 2017 even better! Any suggestions on the next ICMC Boston location? We would love to hear your ideas!