Site Selection Guide
Maryland Municipal League Conference and Event Selection Guidelines
The following items are of primary concern for MML when considering an event site. If these are not satisfied, MML cannot select that site.
The site must be deemed reasonably safe for all attendees irrespective of their gender, beliefs, race, age or any other attribute. This mainly includes physical security at the event venue(s), transport to and from the venue(s) that will be used for MML organized or sponsored activities (e.g. dinner if held at a different location).
The MML security assessment does not include areas outside of the confines of a venue nor any other activities organized by attendees.
The selected site will not expose attendees to life threatening illnesses and diseases.
Event Space Requirements
The event site must have one or more venues able to physically and safely accommodate the expected number of attendees in the planned format (e.g. one or more concurrent sessions).
In practice this means positive answers for the following questions:
- Can we accommodate the estimated number of attendees on the premise without breaching maximum occupancy limit?
- Do we have sufficient rooms of a sufficient seating capacity for the intended purpose of the meeting?
- Presence of one or more nearby hotels that can accept the estimated number of attendees?
- Does the meeting space meet minimum square footage?
The venue must provide food and beverage suitable for attendees with varied dietary requirements. This includes, but not limited to vegetarian, vegan, food allergies and religious restrictions.
Both hotel and the meeting venue must be accessible to people with disabilities.
The site and venues must be in line with the prior and budgeted costs for the event. Guestrooms must be affordable for most attendees to stay overnight during the event in a minimum AAA three-star-rated facility.
Meeting and public space must be clean, well-lighted, ideally carpeted with lobby-style furnishings. Venue must provide or have access to MML’s requirements for chairs, tables, risers with steps, easels, and other standard event furniture at no additional or standard industry charges to MML. Equipment such as a/v, sound system, internet and wireless, electricity and other basic event equipment must be available in amounts needed by MML and at standard reasonable rates.
The following items are significant but not mandatory. During the selection process MML tries to satisfy as many of them as possible, but a simple number of satisfied criteria is not a guarantee of the site being selected. For example, site A would not automatically be selected only because it satisfies three criteria and site B only two.
MML is a fiscally responsible organization and aware that our members have varied financial situations. Hotel rates must be deemed acceptable cost-wise to the majority of attendees. Ideally, if a proposed venue is priced in the higher range, where and when possible, MML will ensure that lower-cost options are nearby.
The site must also meet budget for MML event-related expenses such as space rental, catering, a/v and other direct and indirect costs. Additionally, site contracts for the event must be negotiable to minimize MML’s financial risk in holding the event.
Hosting an event at the cheapest possible venue will have an equally large impact on the event as it would have if the event is hosted at the very expensive venue. MML recognizes that both impacts would be negative.
Some locations have a reputation as vacation, gaming or remote destinations. While there are perfectly legitimate reasons to meet at these locations, some attendees may have difficulties justifying such travel destination to their municipality. Certain destinations should undergo additional scrutiny before being accepted as an event venue.
The presence of a strong local host that can support the event with site selection, sponsorships and onsite support to staff is desirable. MML site selection gives preference to sites with municipal host support. Local hosts are also asked to accept fiscal responsibility for a social event, typically the Welcome Reception. If a local host proposes a site requiring transportation to and from multiple venues for the event and accommodations, the host may be also asked to assume responsibility for added costs like transportation and other services which MML would not normally incur if the event were held under one roof at a single property.
MML events have certain technical requirements including unfettered Internet connectivity. This includes free or low-cost WiFi within the meeting venue/hotel with adequate bandwidth.
Additional requirements are audio-visual projectors, screens and other equipment, microphones with a working sound system and such. The exact requirements vary based on the event sessions.
The site must be in the state of Maryland. It is preferred that the venue selected be a relatively easy drive from areas from most member municipalities if possible and rotated regionally annually as is possible.