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Why does local knowledge matter when organizing events



19 May, 2023

The primary task of a sourcing specialist is to find the right venue for our clients’ meetings and events anywhere in the world. Sourcing specialists dig deep to understand the needs of the client, and present feasible options that best fit the brief. Similarly important is having local knowledge and resources to better understand any local and regional factors that may influence a particular event.

These skills can be learned and honed over time but it would be impossible for anyone to claim knowledge of every city, country or venue a client might be interested in. That’s why a global network of specialists with local knowledge are an incredible asset to have at your disposal. Here are just a handful of some of the talents they bring to the (meeting) table.

Alleviate language barriers

Words have many meanings. Did you know that a “marquee” in the US represents the canopy sign over the theatre entrance and in the UK it represents a large tent for social or commercial functions? This type of misunderstanding can cost time and money even when teams working on the same project speak the same language.

The clock is ticking: In a global market, time is essential

Destinations around the globe have changed what is acceptable during the contracting process. Due to the constraints of the market, they are less likely to hold onto rates and space for long periods of time while internal executives make decisions. The market moves quickly and so does space.

Seasonal deals may not be the greeting you first thought

The rates in many Caribbean destinations during the summer months are usually good value, but did you know that hurricane season begins in June? Understanding why a destination has a value season provides insight into the probability of it impacting your event. If it’s mud-season in the mountains your group will not be able to do a horseback riding activity for example.

Special event date conflicts

Being familiar with events already taking place in your chosen location that will impact yours is essential. If you are interested in going to the famous golf resort of Pebble Beach in California, and you select dates that run during the PGA (Professional Golfers Association of America), we know that if you are able to find space it will be at premium pricing. Also take into account local or religious festivities, such as Ramadan or Lunar New Year – these may not be your first thought, but events in locations where these are celebrated or with attendees who observe them need to be taken into account.

Unique venues & new openings

Knowing what is new and unique is easy to figure out in your own town. What if you want something new or unique in a location that you have never been to? Sometimes Google is not enough and our teams around the world come to the rescue with their local knowledge.

Knowledge of destination trends

When a destination becomes a trend, it’s key to understand why that is. For example, what looks like a great destination in the hottest new Netflix show may not translate into an easily accessible or interesting destination for your group (thanks to the power of CGI and TV trickery). Knowledge from our industry conferences and forums such as IMEX helps us learn about new and upcoming destinations so we can get the lowdown early and get ahead of the trends.

Understanding the logistics of traveling to and from the destination

Being aware of the logistics involved in getting people to and from your venue is crucial. If, for instance, your group is flying into Denver for an afternoon meeting, booking a hotel in downtown Denver will mean your attendees incur a long transfer from the airport – booking something closer will maximize the meeting time with your attendees. Our local teams are familiar with the distances and make recommendations based on group needs and expectations.

Force majeure and mitigating factors

The safety of attendees is paramount. The pandemic brought about varied turmoil, and events organizers, venues and logistics providers pivoted to ensure measures were in place for the safe return of in-person meetings and events, and tools like CWT travel essentials helped people plan for travel in challenging circumstances. The pandemic was also the catalyst for the shortage in people working in hospitality which is still impacting some places today.

Other force majeure challenges include seasonal weather (remember, hurricane season in the Caribbean) and even conflicts like the war in Ukraine, public riots in France and striking workforces. It is therefore important to review and monitor travel warnings and, if a destination has any issues, the question becomes: are they the right fit for your event?

Liz Pritchard, Operation Manager CWT M&E

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