When it comes to the success of your Customer Advisory Board (CAB) meeting, substance is always more important than style. What you talk about matters more than where you host your meeting. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a little fun. In my 20+ years as a CAB facilitator, I’ve had the good fortune to work in many places across the US and Europe. If you are thinking of hosting a US CAB in 2nd half 2023, here are my top 3 favorite CAB meeting venues.
Atlanta: The Porsche Experience Center
The theme of our CAB meeting was on transportation, logistics, and supply chain. So, the venue fit in nicely. Customers arrived early to enjoy test driving 3 of the tracks (alongside a Porsche instructor). This shared experience created immediate bonding; the stories echoed through our discussions.
Nashville: JW Marriott
Twenty minutes from the airport is the downtown JW Marriott. In my 20 years of CAB facilitation, Nashville has become my most popular CAB destination. The restaurant and meeting rooms are on the top floors, and on a clear day you can see all the way to Kentucky!
Nashville is an awesome location because it is very easy to get into and out of. Of course, the draw is music. Even if you are not a country music fan, the Country Music Hall of Fame is remarkable. I’ve visited multiple times, and so much Americana is nestled in our music history.
Chicago: The Kimpton Gray Hotel
CAB members enjoy a ferry ride on the Loop and hanging out at one of many of Chicago’s favorite speakeasy bars.
Other locations to consider
Regardless of the venue you choose, keep in mind this important criteria:
1) Your customers are very busy people. Your first priority is to recognize the importance of their time. So, your location must be easy for them to fly into an out of. Any location that requires more than a 45 minute taxi ride from the airport is too far away! Make is easy for them to attend and then quickly get to their next destination.
2) Your location must be in neutral terriority. Hosting a CAB at your headquarters location is considered poor etiquette because that gives you an unfair advantage. You do not need to impress your CAB members. You want to learn from them, gather advice and perspective so you can help them achieve their business goals; so, don’t let your ego get in the way. Hosting at a 5-star hotel always produces a better atmosphere for shared learning and partnership.
3) Pay attention to local politics or issues in any city that may overshadow your meeting. Unfortunately, we as business leaders need to be more sensitive these days.
What’s your favorite CAB venue?
Of course, I have other favorites in Boston, New York, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and more. What’s your favorite. Drop me a comment.
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With a specialty in CAB & Partner Advisory Board programs, Mike Gospe is a professional facilitator with more than 20 years of advisory board experience. He’s helped some of today’s most innovative companies deliver more than 250 world-class in-person & virtual customer meetings. He leads KickStart Alliance‘s Advisory Board practice.
Check out more of his CAB best practices articles and videos on his CAB Resource center.