5 ​Ws to Consider When Planning Your Next Meeting

When planning an event starts to feel overwhelming, seasoned pros say going back to the 5 Ws can help get you back on track.

No matter how seasoned an association professional you may be, planning an event can be overwhelming.

From sponsors, budgets, itineraries, AV, F&B and all the acronyms in between, it’s enough to make your head spin.

When all the plans and details feel overwhelming, the meeting planning pros at Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority (RSCVA) have some advice to help you center yourself and get back to basics – the five basic Ws.


When you’re not sure where to go next, or even where to start, Charles Harris, president and CEO of the RSCVA, advises that you start by getting super specific about what you need from a destination.

“When thinking about your “what”, it’s important to consider the budget you’re looking to meet,” Harris says. “Once that’s established, you can look for offers and incentives in prospective destinations that will help you stay under that cost.”

Make sure the destination you’re considering will be able to accommodate the size and style of meeting you’re planning. For instance, in Reno Tahoe, meeting venues range from medium-sized locations to the Reno-Sparks Convention Center, an expansive, single-level 600,000 sq. ft. facility, to the versatile Reno-Sparks Livestock Events Center and the unique National Bowling Stadium, accommodating any size and type of event.


“When considering where to host your event, a destination that can work with your needs and has a variety of attractions to appeal to additional attendees is ideal,” Harris said.

“When it comes to spots to entertain attendees in their off time, ideal locations include hot spots within easy travel distance of meeting venues and lodging,” Harris added. For example, in Reno the downtown area features the Reno Riverwalk District, which is home to restaurants, bars, and shopping along the scenic Truckee River.

Also in downtown Reno, visitors will find the Truckee River Whitewater Park at Wingfield Park, which features Class 2 and 3 rapids accessible to kayaks, canoes, rafts and inner tubes, integrating nature right into the urban environment.


Do you have a certain date in mind or can you be flexible around a certain time of year?

“If you know when you’d like your meeting to take place, you may be able to either avoid peak travel times in the area that can drive up prices, or plan to take advantage of area entertainment and events that will be happening at the same time,” Harris said.

“Here in Reno Tahoe, we have several major events that happen annually,” Harris explained. “Locals look forward to events like The Great Reno Balloon Race, Reno Rodeo, and the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, and events planned around those types of local experiences can add a real wow factor to your meeting.”

Thanks to Reno’s great weather and 300 days a year of sunshine, so many activities are offered year round.


Are you planning a meeting that feels tailored to the attendees you want to attend?

Harris says it’s important to consider the needs of your potential attendees, ensuring that your event is as accessible as possible. Location and in-venue accessibility should always be considered during the planning process.

For example, venues like the National Automobile Museum, the Nevada Museum of Art and the Discovery Museum Reno are all wheelchair accessible. There is also wheelchair friendly transportation from the airport that helps to make disabled attendees feel welcomed and comfortable visiting the area.

When you’re planning events and activities during the meeting, it’s also important to think about factors like networking and the types of in-person events you may be hosting. Will the networking spaces include seating for attendees who may not be able to stand for long periods of time? Will there be more accessible options for attendees who may not be able to participate in a strenuous outdoor activity?


At the heart of meeting planning is the why. Harris suggests posing the question, “Why are you choosing one venue over another for your event?”

For planners looking at Reno as a venue Harris says considering options like the technology needed and the level of flexibility may be key. Other planners are more interested in the variety of off-site venues and area activities that provide numerous opportunities for attendees to engage with one another. Asking why can help you confirm you’ve chosen the right location to host your event.

“When attracting attendees to your meeting, the W at the heart of the planning process is the why,” Harris said. “Remind members about their ‘why’ for attending. Creating a sense of community for members will ensure a successful meeting your members will want to return to, year-after-year.”

Want help planning your next event from meeting professionals who can help you set your next event up for success? Learn more and start planning your next meeting at

(Handout photo)

Reno Tahoe

By Reno Tahoe


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