June 01, 2003


 AVMA Answers

Posted May 15, 2003

How are convention sites selected?

David Little,
director of the AVMA
Convention and Meeting
Planning Division

It's a relatively long process. Basically, cities are nominated by a myriad of sources—city convention and visitors bureaus, state VMAs, allied groups, AVMA members, and AVMA Convention and Meeting Planning Division staff.

We have a three-year regional rotation—East, Central, West—and we select sites eight years prior to the date of the convention.

In fall 2003, we'll send requests for proposals to cities that have been nominated for 2012 and that meet the AVMA's minimum requirements to host the annual convention. Once we receive the bids, we will narrow them down again on the basis of our minimum requirements and other factors. Then we conduct site inspections of cities that look like they may be a fit.

We submit the information gathered to the Convention Management and Program Committee and the House Advisory Committee; each body then forwards a recommendation to the Executive Board. The board will approve or disapprove the recommendation and send it on to the House of Delegates for final approval.

What are the criteria you use to narrow down the site nominees?

Our convention has really grown over the past four or five years. Since 1997, it has just exploded. We think we're going to continue to grow, so we need to be able to grow into the convention center we select.

A great example is with the interactive labs. In 1995, when Denver was chosen, for 2003, we didn't have interactive labs, so we weren't looking for that when we inspected the site. Now, we have 22 and have to be creative in fitting them into the convention center.

Our main focus for the convention is continuing education. We need a convention center with 150,000 square feet of exhibit space, 60 meeting rooms, and a ballroom capable of seating 3,500 people, theater style.

Hotels are the second priority. We need 3,000 to 3,500 rooms on Saturday, when most of our attendees are there. We want them in close proximity to the convention center when possible, because it reduces the need for shuttle busing.

Third is marketability of the city itself as a destination. What plays into that is accessibility, affordability, entertainment, and dining.

We want a family-friendly location where there are lots of things for the kids and spouses to do.

What are the advantages of having rotating sites?

The advantage is that we have a national membership. If you're a member who lives in Philadelphia, you may have a tough time getting to San Diego. By moving it every year, hopefully at some point, we're going to be close enough that you can get there.