The trend of using unique venues is also becoming extremely important in terms of strategic meetings management. Not only can unique venues such as historic sites, castles, ancient palaces, museums, and art galleries provide attendees with unconventional experiences, but they are also deemed to play an important role in boosting the performance of an event. This can include the role the venue plays in allowing the organizer’s intended message to be delivered more effectively, in increasing the attendee’s awareness and satisfaction, and even in affecting behavioral change.
In the past, organizers mainly considered the venue’s location and their budget, and no attention was paid to the unique characteristics of the location. Now, there is a greater interest on the part of organizers to select a unique venue that reflects the message that the event wants to convey. This is due to the profound impact that the selection of such venues have on the satisfaction of attendees and on the performance of the event itself.
As the impact of unique venues on attendee satisfaction and event performance has grown, cities like London, Brussels, and Seoul have been actively handling the rising demand for unique venues by managing and promoting such venues.
The Unique Venues of London (UVL), which was established in 1993 with a total of 18 members, has continuously expanded and currently has 87 members that consist of museums, art galleries, historic sites, palaces, and performing arts venues in London. Some of UVL’s main facilities include Kensington Palace, The National Gallery, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Royal Opera House, and Somerset House. UVL mainly carries out marketing activities for unique venues in London. They publish brochures that introduce all of their members and they help organizers find the perfect venue for their event by operating a website that allows organizers to search for facilities based on the type, size, and characteristics of their respective event.
Brussels Special Venues (BSV) was founded in 2006 with a membership of six venues. As of 2018, BSV has a total of 43 unique venues in Brussels that are members of the association. Over 5,500 events are held every year at BSV’s venues, and its facilities boast more than one million attendees in total each year. This non-profit association also actively promotes its unique venues by publishing brochures of their venues and operating a website at which organizers can easily find a unique venue that meets their event’s needs.
As of July 2018, Seoul has 57 selected unique venues categorized by six facility types, which include riverside facilities, traditional facilities, modern facilities, performance halls, museum and art centers, and experience centers. Through the Seoul Convention Bureau’s website, organizers can search for a unique venue that fits their needs while taking into consideration the size of the event and the characteristics of the facility. One of Seoul’s leading facilities is the Korea Furniture Museum, which has welcomed a number of international events such as the VIP reception and luncheon for the 2010 G20 Seoul Summit, a banquet in 2013 for the general director of the IMF, an international press event and banquet in 2014 for Chanel, and a special exhibition in 2017 for Louis Vuitton.
Beyond offering meetings attendees with a chance to experience a destination’s unique culture and atmosphere, unique venues are now playing a vital role in the successful hosting of an event by enhancing the effectiveness of the delivery of an event’s message, increasing attendee satisfaction and affecting a change in awareness, and even leading to behavioral change. Taking this point into consideration, it seems that organizers will need to think beyond just location and budget and will have to consider their event’s theme and intended message, as well as the image of the host city when selecting a venue. Furthermore, destination cities will also need to actively consider the specific needs and demands of the meetings market when selecting unique venues.