by Lisa Grimaldi | September 01, 2004

The following checklist was compiled with the help of the sales and marketing department of the San Diego Convention Center; (619) 525-5210;

For your initial meeting with representatives of the facility, be sure to bring along as much of the following information as possible.

  • Attendance history
  • Gross and net square footage of exhibit space of past events or trade shows 
  • Number of meeting rooms used 
  • Number and type of food and beverage functions from previous years’ events 
  • A/V and other technological needs

  • What other groups will be in the center during the event dates, including those that are moving in or out?
  • Will any renovations or construction be taking place during the event?
  • Is the center ADA-compliant? 
  • What is the emergency evacuation plan? 
  • How many miles is the center from the airport? 
  • How many hotels are within walking distance of the center? 
  • Is on-site parking available? How many spaces are there, and what is the rate? 
  • Is a sample contract available for perusal? 
  • Ask for references of groups similar in size and nature.

  • How do service contractors access the exhibit space, particularly if it is on multiple levels?
  • Where are the elevators, and what is their weight capacity? 
  • How early can the exhibit and meeting space be accessed? 
  • When can registration begin moving in? Where is the best placement for registration? 
  • If exhibits grow in size, is space available to accommodate larger setups? 
  • Does the center provide heating, air conditioning and full lighting during exhibitor move-in and move-out days? 
  • Does the center have adequate equipment inventory (i.e., tables, chairs, staging)? 
  • What is the total number of meeting rooms? 
  • How many meeting rooms can be comped, based on the amount of exhibit space your organization is renting? 
  • What is included with the meeting room (i.e., tables, chairs, water service)? 
  • How soundproof are the dividers between meeting rooms? 
  • How many room sets will the center arrange per event? 
  • Is space available outdoors for functions, and is there a rental fee for using it? Is there a backup area in the event of inclement weather? 

  • What are the center’s exclusive services?
  • Who are all of the on-site service providers (both exclusive and nonexclusive)? Request price lists for all vendors. 
  • Are there guidelines or requirements for using other, nonexclusive service providers? 
  • Is a business center on site? What are its hours? 
  • What are the telecommunication capabilities? Are computer hookups available in the meeting rooms and exhibit halls? 
  • Who handles trash removal from the exhibit hall, and what is the fee? 
  • What is the current rate per square foot, and what is the minimum daily rental? How is the minimum calculated? 
  • Are show management offices included in the rental price? 
  • What is the fee for additional meeting space? 
  • If a meeting room set needs to be changed, is there a fee? 
  • Are linens provided for the tables? If not, what is the cost? 
  • What is the deposit schedule for rental? 
  • What are the cancellation penalties?
  • Notes: