What is a Convention Center?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

A convention center is a building or group of buildings designed, in most cases, for the purpose of conducting meetings, rallies, or seminars. It may also be adapted for specific events, such as appearances by well-known speakers or musicians. In some cases, meetings or other events take place in centers or buildings not specifically designed for conventions, but large enough to accommodate attendees.

Convention centers may offer the option of renting presentation equipment, like slide projectors.
Convention centers may offer the option of renting presentation equipment, like slide projectors.

Business conventions and seminars may take place at a convention center that is conveniently located to the attendees. This may still be a distance from the attendee’s hometown, but event planners aim to find a location that involves the least amount of travel for all attending. If conventions take place over a few days, or offer multiple seminars, the center may be attached to lodgings, so that people attending do not have to consider additional travel expenses. Sometimes, those attending a convention must pay a fee that includes lodging fees.

Convention planners may work for popular convention sites, offering assistance to people who book those sites.
Convention planners may work for popular convention sites, offering assistance to people who book those sites.

A convention center may be chosen because of its location to other attractions. In the US, there are many of these centers in popular tourist areas, including Anaheim, San Francisco, New York, and Florida. There are also many out of country convention centers located on beautiful islands in the Caribbean which attract a high number of attendees. Conventions for groups of businessmen, scientists, or others may be located at an attractive locale as a way to get away from the job and relax for a few days.

The convention center may also be connected to a university, particularly if the convention is scholarly in nature. Universities are generally close to lodgings, or may provide on-campus lodging for overnight conventions. Universities often use their large buildings for conventions because they make a little profit by doing so. This can help reduce school costs to students. Conventions at universities often give students a chance for weekend work, or opportunities to attend the convention at much lower costs.

Because conventions or rallies may last for an entire day or longer, some provide food and need access to kitchens. A convention center may provide kitchen or at least refrigerator access for caterers so food can be prepared or served. Other centers do not provide such amenities, so if one is booking a convention center, it is wise to inquire about cooking facilities.

Newer convention centers may also provide wireless Internet access, either for seminars or for those away from home to stay in touch with their loved ones. If the center is attached to a hotel, Internet access may also be available in the hotel. Phone Internet access may be expensive, depending on hotel policies. The center may also offer a variety of equipment for various types of business meetings. Overhead projectors, slide machines, standard projectors, large “boardroom” style tables, and access to sound system equipment may all be rented for the convention, or may be offered as part of a standard package when booking the center.

A convention center may provide food for guests.
A convention center may provide food for guests.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments

RoyalSpyder

@Chmander - I don't think that's the case. On the other hand, it's true that there are quite a few similarities. For example, most (if not all) college campuses have wireless internet access and boardroom tables during class discussion.

On another note, college campuses also have seminars. However, generally speaking, they're taken as classes and are normally known as Senior Seminar.

On a final note, as Viranty said, there are actually some convention centers on campuses. Chmander, while they definitely aren't the same thing, they're quite similar.

Chmander

After reading the last paragraph in this article, it kind of has me wondering if convention centers can also be considered college campuses. I find that the article discusses a lot of things I have seen on my campus. Some of these include wireless internet access, seminars, and boardroom tables, among other things.

Viranty

I don't know about anyone else, but I've actually been to several convention centers on my college campus. Granted, they weren't exactly "traditional" in a sense, but they fit the descriptions of this article pretty well.

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