How This Veterinary Conference Solved Its Unique Venue Needs

Simultaneous tracks required flexibility and ingenuity to solve this meeting puzzle.

Like many events, Fetch dvm360 has highly specific venue needs. The veterinary conference, which provides continuing education for veterinarians, technicians, and practice managers, hosts multiple regional programs annually around the country: one that’s centrally located, one in the west, one in the east, as well as smaller regional events as well.

It’s not uncommon for the eastern regional event to move around to various destinations. But when circumstances related to civil unrest caused organizers to scramble for a new location to accommodate their group of 3,000 at the last minute, organizers faced a challenge.

They needed a venue that could accommodate not just its size and scale—and on a tight timeline—but also its specific needs for meeting space. “Not only did we need a place that could fit us, but we have lots of tracks with our programs,” explains Tom Brown, the director of expo services for MJH Life Sciences, which produces the event.

“We use many simultaneous meeting rooms so we needed a venue that could take on all of our meeting needs and then also take on all of our exhibit needs—and that really narrows it down.”

After hours of research and numerous site visits, the group ended up selecting Virginia Beach, which offered not just the dates and the venue specs—but also the flexibility and the ingenuity to make it all happen.

“To accommodate our needs for finding additional space, the staff went above and beyond—even going so far as to clean out some other storage space so we could use it for our event,” Brown explains. “They even let us use their own conference room for function space. We always felt that the people at the CVB and at the convention center were part of our team, that they were there to help find solutions to challenges that we had.”

Another logistical challenge Fetch faced was the need for shuttle service to accommodate spread-out hotel accommodations. “The convention and visitors bureau did a fantastic job with setting up all the shuttles for us to be able to get everyone in and out of their hotels, and get to the convention center seamlessly. The shuttle matrix of all the different places, and the frequent number of stops were important to us. It was really an undertaking, but they were able to pull it off — and pull it off very well.”

In the end, the window-packed convention center facility and its environs pleased both attendees and exhibitors—both on the clock and off—in addition to satisfying the event’s requirements for function space.

“The attractive venue amped up the look of our own signage, and it’s just beautiful when you walk in and see it complement all of our graphics,” Brown said. “Exhibitors loved it. It’s very labor-friendly, the space is very functional, it has plenty of free parking, plenty of docks, and ease of access.”

For Brown’s part, he spent his limited free time at the Virginia Beach boardwalk or enjoying local seafood. And while the complex needs of event organizers played out in behind-the-scenes efforts, he acknowledged, “obviously the beach can be the biggest attraction for our attendees and we use it as our biggest marketing point.”

For more ideas on how Virginia Beach can boost your attendance and simplify your next meeting or event, visit


(Visit Virginia Beach)