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Much Ado About Marketing

By Selena Fragassi


At Unique Venues Annual Marketing Conference in Nashville in October, four venues got a big surprise when they were called to the stage to accept one of the first-ever Best Of Awards. Whereas the readers voted for their favorite venues for special services, these four were chosen for another reason—how well they marketed what they had to offer. Here are the winners for best website, best printed collateral, best Unique Venues member profile and best social media campaign.

Best Website

Winner: Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA

Easy navigation is key for a venue website. Meeting and event planners need to effectively and efficiently find the information they need to fully consider the location and submit a proposal. Mount Holyoke College and the Willits-Hallowell Conference Center were chosen because the campus best offered a simple, comprehensive and easy-to-maneuver website. Visitors to the page (OR SITE?) can enjoy a multi-faceted experience with a comprehensive selection of media including rich images, compelling video, easy calls to action (or calls-to-action?) and a clean and crisp design that is not only welcoming but also informative. // (413) 538.2051
Runners Up: COSI Columbus (, University of Delaware (

Best Printed Collateral

Winner: University of California, Davis

Direct mail and printed materials are still vital in today’s plugged-in world. University of California, Davis understands this need and assembled a visually appealing brochure that has a clean aesthetic LOOK?, large photo displays and superior quality of content to better reflect their meeting spaces for potential clients. // (530) 747.3851
Runners Up: Vancouver Art Gallery (, Simon Fraser University (

Best Unique Venues Member Profile

Winner: The Carter Hall Conference Center, Millwood, VA

The Unique Venues website allows members to have their own portals with various sections that can be filled in to provide more information on event spaces, catering, accommodations, dining, services and technology, among other categories. The team at Carter Hall Conference Center is this year’s winner for the best venue profile for expertly completing all pages of their expanded profile with comprehensive information, fantastic imagery and updated information that is highly relevant for the targeted audience. The profile in total emulates the breadth of knowledge that meeting and event planners need to KNOW TO ??make the decision to pursue a proposal all from one spot. // (540) 837.9482

Best Social Media Campaign

Winner: Brenau University, Gainesville, GA

In January 2014, the Office of University Events at Brenau University was tasked with putting together a large-scale event to signal the end of the first phase of the university’s Capital Campaign. It was a black tie event with an expected attendance of 500 people.
To create buzz before the event, the department utilized a #BrenauGala hashtag, which helped with ticket sales. They also engaged attendees, students and staff to use the hashtag during the night to allow those who were not in attendance to see the fun activities taking place and also generate interest in the silent auction. As well, Brenau put together their first “Tweet Wall” that featured real time posts and a prize for the person who posted the most Tweets using the official hashtag for the event. The campaign in total allowed the university to reach its goals and prove how effective this modern tool is for interactivity and promotion. // (770) 531.3122