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Selecting a reunion location

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  • Selecting a reunion location

    I wanted to give a brief explanation of the criteria that we have used when planning a reunion and selecting a location. The criterion is flexible and changes to it are made as needed.

    Size of the hotels – After the fiasco with the hotels in Fort Worth, and dealing with multiple hotels in Pensacola, it became pretty obvious that having everyone in one hotel was the only way to go. Reno was a perfect example of that. It was also expressed very loudly by our membership after Fort Worth not to pick hotels that won’t hold our whole group. This requirement limits a group of our size to where we can go. Not too many cities have hotels that are willing or able to block off 800 to 900 rooms for our use.

    Meeting space – We need a function hall capable of holding anywhere from 2000 to 2500 people for our meal events, plus the needed hospitality suites and a large vendor area. The function hall at the Reno Hilton was approx. 45,000 sq. ft. I believe the function room in DC is over 20,000 sq. ft. Not too many hotels have function space that large..
    I should also add that these large function halls are very expensive if you have to pay for them. As part of the agreements that we make with the hotels, we get the meeting rooms and hospitality suites at no cost or reduced cost based on the number of rooms that we fill. I believe the Reno Hilton charged $10,000 - $12,000 per day for the main ballroom. We got it at no cost because we filled the block of rooms that we signed for.

    Hotel prices – We always try to get the lowest prices possible. To do this, you have to go in the off season. As an example, D.C. & Fort Worth in the summer, Pensacola Beach in hurricane season. If we were to choose a time during peak season, the prices would be out of sight. The location also has a lot to do with the price. A lot of the major cities have great hotels (Boston, New York, Chicago etc) and plenty of things to see and do, but their prices are $200 plus a night and up. Much too expensive. The Hilton Washington gave us a room rate of $119 per night because of the time of the year. People that signed up after the hotels cutoff date will have to pay $299 per night.

    Accessibility – We have always tried to use places with a major airport nearby. Who wants to drive a long distance from the airport to the reunion location? Also, the farther away from the airport, the more expensive the transportation would cost to get to the hotel.

    Availability of military support, preferably Marine Corps and Navy support.

    Things to do – Our reunions have become a family event for many of our members. They have also become extended vacations as well. Therefore, we try to pick a location where our spouses, kids and grandkids have a lot of things to do when the war stories start.

    These are some of the things we look at. I hope this gives everyone an idea about the reunion planning process. This is the basic criteria that we have used in the past and is what will be used in selecting the next reunion location. If anyone has any questions, please feel free to contact me and I’ll try to answer them.

    Semper Fi,

    J.D. Barber

  • #2
    The LAYOUT

    JD sure was good of you to lay it all out! Now maybe we all can be on the look out, for the right size and all the needs of our Popasmoke Family. Thanks for sharing. JJ