How to Reinvent Your Next Meeting Venue

“There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”
– Bruce Lee

Being involved with the meetings and events industry for some years now, I’m always surprised at the limitations venues will self-impose upon their facilities. With some creative thinking, you can offer great new twists on non-meeting space.

Ri Ra Pub, Las Vegas, Photo: Design Wagen

Recently, I was talking to a friend who asked me to be in his wedding. He and his fiance wanted a destination wedding in Vegas for their closest 100 friends and family members. After looking at conference centers along The Strip and resorts with large outdoor gardens, they ended up resting in the Ri Ra Irish Pub and immediately realized they could turn it into the reception hall of their dreams. After conversing with the employees, manager and eventually the owner, they secured the unexpected venue.

This reminded me of when I was working with Team San Jose, whose stellar marketing team thinks outside the box. When their convention center was booked with events and they needed a place to promote the launch of their new site, the team pulled together and came up with the idea to turn the main lobby of the convention center into a temporary dance and exhibit hall. The feat was done using a series of heavy black curtains, well-positioned lighting and a clever floor-plan layout for the booths.

I have some personal experience with room reinventions as well; when I got married, my wife and I turned the stone hallway (cave) at Testarosa Vineyards into a room that fit 80 guests.

No matter the size or shape of the venue you’re considering, it’s worth taking a second look and thinking outside the box—or even better, thinking inside the lobby.

—Michael G. Hurston