When it comes to planning a conference or event, there’s one secret that event planners know all too well—the event venue matters as much as the message.
When you put time, money and effort into great content for your conference, the venue makes it seem more official. And a less-than-optimal conference venue can make your event seem half-baked.
They’ve worked hard all year—and now it’s time to mingle, work and play at your next meeting or event. Your team deserves the best.
That’s why we picked out these 10 excellent conference venues, perfect for events of all sizes.
Covering nearly 40 square miles, the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida offers virtually unlimited opportunities for meetings, conventions and incentive events. As part of Disney’s commitment to creating exceptional meetings and events, they are providing meeting planners and event organizers with even more resources to deliver on their goals by expanding the convention center and renovating the guest rooms. The convention center expansion will add an additional 28,000 square feet of flexible meeting and event space, bringing the total flexible meeting space available at this premier Walt Disney World Resort facility to nearly 100,000 square feet. The new convention area will boast a 16,000 square-foot ballroom that can be divided into eight dynamic breakout spaces. The expansion will also include three pre-function areas and two distinct gathering rotundas providing unique networking spaces for attendees to relax and reconnect.
The Gaylord Opryland, located just outside of Nashville, Tennessee, is the 28th-largest hotel in the world and boasts more than 600,000 total square feet of event space. Outside of Las Vegas, it’s the largest in the country—there’s plenty of room for even the most immense conference.
With 2,882 rooms, there’s not much need for overflow, but if the need arises, downtown Nashville has several options for accommodations, as well as some great large entertainment venues, including Wildhorse Saloon and Tequila Cowboy.
Nassau, The Bahamas
Located on Cable Beach, Grand Hyatt Baha Mar offers you a piece of paradise in The Bahamas. Explore the city of Nassau, dive into pristine waters, and soak up the sun. Complete with beautiful ocean views, Grand Hyatt Baha Mar boasts 200,000 square feet of indoor-outdoor event space. Plan an event in the 82,000-square-foot Baha Mar Convention, Arts & Entertainment Center, and surround your attendees with a stunning collection of Bahamian art. The Baha Mar Convention, Arts, & Entertainment Center is one of the largest facilities in the Caribbean. The venue features three nautical-inspired ballrooms, 16 breakout rooms, and a 2,000-seat entertainment venue, all decorated in island-inspired décor. A unique feature of the space is an art gallery featuring authentic Bahamian art. It will provide a rare insight into some of the most talented artists in the Bahamas.
Palm Springs, California
Built in 1926, La Quinta Resort originally served as a desert hideaway for the rich and famous looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of Hollywood.
La Quinta has grown immensely since its inception but has kept the same air of luxury. With nearly 200,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space, La Quinta has the ability to host up to 2,000 event attendees and offers an experience they won’t soon forget. With 45 acres of lawn space, tree-shaded courtyards and a historic backdrop, this resort will make attendees feel like they’re part of something special and spark creativity in a natural setting.
The tagline for the historic, five-star Hay-Adams is "Where nothing is overlooked but the White House"—and they mean it.
Aside from its breathtaking view of Lafayette Square and The White House, this pre-Depression-era hotel is one of the District’s most prestigious conference venues and is the pinnacle of 1920s glamor, coupled with all the modern amenities your conference needs to succeed. And, in 2015, the Hay-Adams was named one of the top 100 hotels in the world by Travel + Leisure magazine—the only hotel in Washington, D.C. on the list.
The premier conference or meeting space at the hotel, "Top of the Hay," offers floor-to-ceiling windows and 360-degree views of the nation’s capital with plenty of space for more than 300 guests. While it can’t accommodate events on the larger end of the spectrum, there’s nowhere more regal to host an event.
Chicago's legendary skyline has just become even more breathtaking. The newly open Marriott Marquis Chicago soars 40 stories over the city's lakefront and South Loop, with 1,205 stylish guest rooms and over 90,000 square feet of meeting space. The hotels meeting space features 63 event rooms, 48 breakout rooms, and the largest event space consists of 2,700 sqaure feet. Directly connected to McCormick Place, with over 2.6 million square feet of meeting space, the Marriott Marquis provides a nearly infinite combination of flexible event spaces. Located near the lakefront and two blocks from the Green Line 'L' stop, guests can experience Chicago's many attractions, such as Millennium Park, Navy Pier and Soldier Field. With both of Chicago's major airports accessible through public transportation, the Marriott Marquis' prime location makes it easy for meeting attendees across the globe to gather in one place.
Built in 2014, the Four Seasons boasts nearly 40,000 square feet of event space—including a 14,000 square-foot ballroom—that can easily accommodate groups of up to 900.
But what’s the fun in a conference near Disney without a visit to the Magic Kingdom? Because Four Seasons is located on the 40-square-mile Disney grounds, guests staying at this event venue receive the coveted Disney perks, such as early access into theme parks, character breakfasts and access to the Disney Event Group.
With the flight accessibility into Orlando International Airport—one of the busiest in the country—coupled with 12 months of sunshine, the Four Seasons would make a great spot for your next conference.
It’s on the other side of the country from the Four Seasons Orlando, but the Anaheim Convention Center shares much of the same Disney magic, as it’s located in the shadow of Disneyland. But, rest assured, the Anaheim Convention Center is all business.
This convention center is currently undergoing a facelift, set to add 200,000 square feet of flexible event space that can be used for exhibits, meetings and banquets, and will be completed in 2017. Despite the construction, there is plenty of room for your next event.
The campus is conveniently arranged, with over 7,500 hotel rooms within a half-mile of the center. The Hilton Anaheim itself offers 1,572 rooms.
Was your last conference bursting at the seams? Are you worried there won’t be enough space for your attendees at your conference? Look no further than the Georgia World Congress Center as the venue for your next event.
Featuring a whopping total of 3.9 million square feet of meeting space spread over 12 exhibit halls and 106 meeting rooms, the Georgia World Congress Center is the largest convention center in the country. While it does not have hotel rooms on site, its convenient location in the heart of Atlanta gives easy access to more than six large hotels.
Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport consistently ranks as one of the busiest in the country, with more than 46 million passengers each year, so it’s a convenient place to travel to, no matter where you’re flying from.
Amelia Island, Florida
As a luxury resort with more than 1,350 acres (and 3.5 miles of pristine private beaches) and 80,000 square feet of indoor/outdoor event space, the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort is a great place to host your next conference. Located just 29 miles north of Jacksonville International Airport, this resort offers a state-of-the-art conference center with breathtaking Atlantic Ocean views, as well as a spacious outdoor event venue, Walker’s Landing.
An octagonal-shaped facility not far from the hotel itself, Walker’s Landing boasts hardwood floors, a fieldstone fireplace and windows surrounding the perimeter, providing the perfect natural backdrop for your conference.
If the logistics of planning the perfect meeting or event are getting overwhelming, don’t be afraid to ask for help. ITA Group has over 50 years of experience in the incentive and event industry, and, with SHIFT, our strategic event solutions, we know just what it takes to turn your conference from boring to soaring.
Mandy has spent the last 11 years in the event management and industry relations field. She leads a purchasing team who is responsible for conceptualizing events, building program budgets, negotiating contracts and maintaining client and supplier relationships. In her spare time, Mandy enjoys traveling and cheering on her beloved Iowa Hawkeyes.