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Publisher's Letter

By Michele Nichols


The best is yet to come. It’s a phrase we hear quite often, whether casually in popular song lyrics or more personally in greeting cards. Yet, in our industry the phrase has taken on new professional meaning the past couple of years. It was especially apparent with the launch of the Unique Venue Best Of Awards, or as we like to call them, the UVY’s (U-Vee’s) in 2014.

Not only did our inaugural year make quite the impression on planners, venues and onlookers as one of the first ever to recognize the best contenders in non-traditional meeting and event spaces, but this year we were happily surprised when we saw the numbers pour in. More than three times the amount of nominations were submitted and planner voting also tripled. Yes the best is yet to come as our industry grows stronger, bigger, better.

It was a feeling that was palpable at our Annual Marketing Conference in Washington, D.C. this past October as our members gathered waiting anxiously for the announcement of the Best Of winners at our finale luncheon. Like the Grammys, the ESPYs or the Emmys, this was our industry’s night to shine as we awarded the best reunion spot, the best place to hold an LGBTQ-friendly event, the best venue on a per diem and everything in between in 25 categories. We also feted five winners of our annual marketing awards for best social media profiles, websites, collateral and print ads.

Though spread out across the States and Canada and different in scope, all of these venues had this in common—they set themselves apart as the trendsetters, the ones to watch, the leaders of our pack. They’re pushing the envelope, challenging peers in new, innovative ways and providing services and benefits that are new and haven’t been done before. They too know the best is yet to come.

You can find each of the Best Of winners in this latest issue (and supplementary member index) as well as on our website. Each bears a blue ribbon of honor and will be easily identifiable for both interested planners and venues that want to know where the competition lies. While that word is often given a bad wrap, competition truly makes all of us better. When we recognize the best in the business, it sets a standard we can all strive to reach and keep raising. Our venues are all independent, unlike hotel chains that have corporations, support and multiple properties to collaborate with, so our network relies on always being the best of the best and so far we’re all doing a pretty good job.

Michele Nichols, Founder
Unique Venues