All summer long, it seems as if craft and decor stores are already stocked full with holiday supplies — a season that seems so far away. But now that summer is almost over, the holidays are right around the corner and we want you to be as prepared as possible.
Hosting a holiday party in Kansas City for coworkers, friends, or family is a great way to connect with people and create lasting memories. It will take careful planning and preparation to make your party a success, which can be stressful. At KCI Expo Center, we’re here with helpful preparation tips so that you can enjoy the party with everyone else this season.
Where to Host
For Small- To Medium-Sized Family Gatherings
As the planner, one of the first things you will need to decide is where to host the party. For a small- to medium-sized party for extended family or friends, a community center or meeting space will work great. Finding a space with ample room to let kids run around and play games while the adults can converse is important to remember. This setting also gives your guests the ease of coming and going as needed, and it gives you more flexibility in planning the party you want.
For Medium To Large Business Parties
For larger business parties, a meeting or banquet room would work best. The KCI Expo Center gives you a great space for a corporate holiday party in Kansas City with easy parking, technology-savvy rooms, proximity to the airport, and its adjacent location to the Holiday Inn KCI Airport Hotel. Many businesses choose the KCI Expo Center for their corporate holiday party because of the wide range of space options and decorating services.
If you choose to use a venue outside of your business or home, be sure to book ahead to ensure you can reserve the space. Holiday party spaces book quickly, with many reserved years in advance. We would recommend booking your holiday party space by September or October at the latest.
Celebrate the holiday season with a fun theme idea. Corporate holiday parties should feel anything but “corporate.” Having a theme for your holiday party will help employees enjoy the night and experience camaraderie between their coworkers. Think outside of the box with a pet holiday party, holiday movie-themed party, a ski/winter wonderland party theme, etc. Themes can unite a large group and make for a festive and memorable day your guests will never forget. Themes also help to inspire every other aspect of your party from creative decor, food, and activities for your guests at the celebration.
Casual or formal? Whatever you decide, be sure to communicate the attire expectations when inviting your guests and send out RSVPs so they do not feel out of place. Encourage your guests to get creative with their casual or formal wear. If you are hosting a more laid back social, consider making it an ugly sweater attire theme. Masquerade parties make for a fun twist to a formal setting. With either setting, a fun way to get people involved is nominating the best-dressed person at the event.
An easy way to set the mood for the party is with music. Choose between live music or set up your own music to play. Live music is a great option for a more formal and involved gathering. Research local bands that fit the style and theme of your party and make sure to contact them before the season gets busy and they are booked.
With today’s technology, there are more opportunities to discover the perfect music for the occasion outside of bringing in live musicians. Music streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, and Pandora have unique and pre-made playlists that fit any occasion. These holiday playlists range in categories from pop favorites to jazzy instrumentals. Ensure before the big day arrives that you check to make sure the proper technology is available to support playing your music over the speakers for all to hear.
Food and Beverage
Providing your guests all of the food and beverages for the day can be a big responsibility if taken on alone. You need to make sure there is enough food for everyone that also fits special dietary needs and allergy restrictions. To make things easier for you, consider a catering service for your party. If you decide to go with a theme, figure out a way to make your theme fit your meal and delicious holiday treats.
Make sure to include drink options that are both non-alcoholic and alcoholic so there are options that fit everyone’s preferences. When it comes to alcohol, you want everyone to be merry but also respectful of other guests. This is especially important for corporate and workplace holiday events. Controlling the amount of alcohol served at these parties will make for a healthier party budget and environment. To stay budget-conscious, many businesses opt for wine and beer.
You might need to break the ice a little at your holiday party, especially if many of the guests are new to the group (i.e. significant others, new co-workers, outside friends, etc.) The opportunities are endless to liven up the party with competitive activities, get to know you games or brain teasers that everyone will enjoy.
Ideas for your corporate holiday party include holiday movie trivia, gift exchanges, holiday-themed awards, and more. Give classic games a holiday twist, like playing the card game “spoons” with candy canes rather than the traditional utensils. If supplies are needed that require guests to bring their own materials, let them know well ahead of time so they aren’t scrambling and show up stressed to your festive party.
Planning a holiday party in Kansas City for your business or extended family can be daunting. It is important to ask for help when delegation is needed and start thinking about your plans now to organize a successful get together. Follow our tips to land on the nice list with your guests this upcoming holiday season.
So, you’re planning your organization’s next trade show or convention. Look for a stress-free solution for your event and reserve a space at KCI Expo Center. With our convenience, amenities, and proximity to the vibrant Kansas City area, you will be sure to host a successful event for your attendees. Read more to see what makes us stand out among other convention centers in Kansas City and take full advantage of all that Kansas City and the KCI Expo Center have to offer.
If you or your attendees are expecting to travel from out of town, you will find that transportation is convenient with only a five-minute drive from the KCI Airport. Even if you or your guests are not traveling by air, our Expo Center is located right off of I-29. A quality stay for visitors can be found adjacent to the KCI Expo Center at the Holiday Inn KCI Airport. Not only is everything you need centrally located with our convention center, but you will also find that it is more cost-efficient in comparison to facilities in the nearby downtown area.
Utilize a Full-Service Conference Space and Convention Center
With the KCI Expo center, you are given the tools and assistance needed to host your trade show or conference event. Our facilities are flexible and equipped with amenities to ensure that events run smoothly. We house 70,000 square feet of exhibit space, decorative services, full-service catering, and technology-supported rooms.
If this is your first event, have no fear. Our team partners with Liberty Exposition Services Inc. to give you a professional and experienced team at your service. This full-service team will provide creative and affordable solutions to meet the goals of your trade show or convention. Liberty Exposition Services Inc. will be readily available and assist in any questions or concerns throughout planning the entire process.
Dine at Our On-Site Restaurant
Located next door to the KCI Expo Center, you can enjoy delicious cuisine at Burger Theory. This local restaurant serves signature menu items, craft beer, and endless opportunities with specialty burgers and a “Create-Your-Own” menu. Burger Theory offers carry-out and casual dine-in experiences to fit the busy schedules of guests. With the vision of building genuine relationships and meaningful experiences, Burger Theory is a great place to further network and connect after your trade show or convention event.
Explore Beyond Your Trade Show or Convention
Whether you are visiting for a short time or you are looking for ways to be a tourist in your own city, Kansas City is the perfect place for you. Celebrate your successful event and encourage attendees to explore the downtown Kansas City area. In almost 20 minutes, you can transport yourself to a diverse spread of citywide events, local restaurants, rooftop bars, museums, sporting events, and more!
Take advantage of free transportation with Kansas City’s Streetcar, hitting local attractions like the Power and Light District, Crossroads Art District, and Crown Center, just to name a few. No matter what age or interests your group might have, you will find something for everyone in the growing Kansas City area.
What are you waiting for? With a convenient location, support in planning, and nearby Kansas City attractions, the KCI Expo Center will WOW your guests and allow your organization to shine. Check out our calendar of upcoming events and secure a spot for your next convention, tradeshow, or meeting space with KCI Expo today.
Planning board meetings for your organization can seem customary when you have been leading and arranging events for an extended amount of time. However, it is important that you never lose sight of the basic elements of creating a meeting space that is helpful toward achieving your goals and keeping your team engaged with key topics. Here is our list for the top 5 things for you to remember when planning your next board meeting:
1. Secure a Top Notch Location
The first thing to consider when you are planning an event or meeting is the environment in which you will be hosting your board of directors. It is important that you secure a space that is convenient, promotes good communication, and fits any specific needs of your organization.
You should keep in mind the travel time of your board members for their convenience. Pick a location that will be central to where the board members currently work/live so that they feel refreshed for the day of the meeting. When you book your next event at KCI Expo Center you will find that there is not only ease with the airport centrally located to your space, but also many hotels and restaurants. The Kansas City International airport proudly services all major U.S. air carriers with an average of 400 flights daily and free shuttle services. This makes it easy for directors and teams to get exactly where they need to be.
Size Of The Space
With any event space, you also need to make sure that the size of the space matches the size of your group well. Taking into thought size will show board members that you are organized and professional on the day of the meeting. This will also allow for successful communication on the day of your board meeting. When looking at events and meeting spaces it may be possible for you to tour the facilities ahead of time. This may be a good option for you if it is done in advance.
Another specific need to consider when reserving your meeting space might include available catering options for the meeting. KCI event and meeting services take pride in their “Best in the Industry” food and beverage services provided by Heart of America catering. With this partnership, event and meeting directors will find a wide selection of catering packages and options. Take note of the food preferences and any dietary restrictions that your board members might have while ordering with any catering service, especially new board members that were just added.
2. Inform Board Members of Details and Nearby Attractions
Nobody likes feeling like they are left in the dark. Failing to update members as needed will only create frustration and confusion before the meeting. Once you have secured your date, time and location invite your board members and give them all of the necessary details in order to get to the meeting successfully and on time. This includes parking/transportation information, building information, room specifics, and more. If they are new to the area where the meeting is being held, take the extra step in making them feel welcome and introduce them to what attractions the city has to offer. For Kansas City attractions, you can visit the KCI list of local hot spots and attractions within the Kansas City area.
3. Set Goals and Create a Meeting Agenda
Now that you have reserved and informed your board members of the details for the event, it is time to plan your agenda to have for yourself and the members. The purpose of this agenda should be to keep the meeting focused on the most important topics and to make sure that you are being respectful of time for all who are present. Organize and prioritize what you wish to accomplish on a document that can be distributed prior to and on the day of the meeting. When planning this agenda, keep in mind which topics may need more time to review. Points should be discussed fully, but not exhausted. As the leader of your organization, you are the moderator and must make sure that the meeting is an efficient and good use of the company time. Set goals before the meeting and ask your team if they have any additional points that they feel are vital to discuss while everyone is present. Lastly, it is important, especially for longer meetings, to also set aside break times (restroom, lunchtimes, necessary email responses, etc.). This will ensure that everyone in the room is fully engaged and without distractions.
4. Plan Ahead for Technology Usage
Including technology is a necessary component of being efficient and thorough with your meeting. While planning it is important that you are aware of the technological tools given by the meeting space. On the day of the meeting, it is important that you test all technology items prior to your board arriving. That way, if there are any issues you can consult the event and meeting services and adjust as needed. Being unfamiliar with the technology that you plan to use will result in headaches at the last minute. KCI Expo Center provides quality sound systems, LCD projectors, microphones, in each of their meeting rooms for the convenience of users.
5. Make Your Board Members Feel Welcome
When you make meetings interactive and begin with introducing new board members everyone involved will feel welcome and heard. One way that you can engage in a more interactive board meeting is by breaking up into smaller groups to discuss topics, possible scenarios, and values that are important to each person. Following small group settings, it is important to re-group and discuss the interactions at large. This interactive exercise will foster stronger relationships and allow you to see in a different light what goals the board members see for the future.
When you reserve an optimal location, keep individuals informed, follow a planned agenda, prepare for technology usage, and make your board members feel welcome, you will be sure to win the hearts and minds of those present. Follow these 5 tips in planning your next board meeting and find ease in reserving your space with KCI Expo Center today!
If you’re looking for an event space in Kansas City to hold your next convention, conference, or tradeshow, it’s important to do your research of all the convention options in Kansas City before making your final decision. To help you with the comparison process, we decided to do it for you. Below is a comparison between the top convention and meeting space locations in Kansas City: Kansas City Convention Center, Overland Park Convention Center, and the KCI Expo Center.
The Kansas City Convention Center:
The Kansas City Convention Center is known for offering different options for space for events, all located in downtown Kansas City, MO. The convention center has multiple venues including Bartle Exhibit Hall for large events, the Grand Ballroom, Music Hall, small meeting rooms, Municipal arena, and the outdoor Barney Allis Plaza, among others.
Pros for using the Kansas City Convention Center:
- Versatile space options
- Downtown location, close to restaurants and hotels
- 388,800 square feet of exhibit space
- Preferred service providers
- Outside catering
- Positive reviewers usually note the ample room, clean space, and friendly staff
“I’ve been to multiple events at this convention center, both at the exhibit hall and across the street at the Municipal Auditorium. Both great venues with plenty of room for any convention. The main Convention Center & exhibitor Halls are clean, contemporary and easy-to-navigate, while the Municipal Auditorium is a gorgeous Art Deco building that has different venues within itself from a beautiful main stage to space below in the belly for sporting events.” -Delayna Adams, Local Guide.
Cons for using the Kansas City Convention Center:
- Downtown location can make space feel crowded
- Higher priced
- Difficult parking, traffic
- Negative reviewers usually note the expensive parking, slow Wi-Fi, and higher-priced food.
“I was a vendor there the place was constantly in disarray price excessively expensive parking horrible and Wi-Fi is ridiculous.” – Jim Cummins, Local Guide.
Overland Park Convention Center
The Overland Park Convention Center has an array of options for planners looking for a meeting space or convention space. The Overland Park Convention Center offers ballrooms, exhibit halls, courtyard rooms, and an outdoor courtyard. The convention center has ample parking space and on-site coffee, concession stands, and concession carts. Located in Overland Park, this convention center is convenient for attendees that live on the south side of downtown.
Pros for using the Overland Park Convention Center:
- On-site coffee shop
- Hotels within walking distance
- Customizable spaces
- 60,000 square feet of exhibition space
- Positive reviewers typically note the clean bathrooms and friendly staff
“Great venue and excellent location. We’ve been here for a couple of events and they are always well done. The area is kept very clean and the staff is friendly. The space available is very large. The events I’ve been to have had several hundred people in attendance and it is never crowded.”– Matt McDonald
Cons for using the Overland Park Convention Center:
- Higher price
- Location in a high-traffic area of Overland Park
- 45-minute drive from the airport
- Negative reviewers typically complain about not enough parking space and it being too cold or too hot inside.
- Over-priced concessions
“Was there for a health expo. It was super hot inside which I know can be difficult when Kansas weather is like it is. When you cram a ton of people into an area even though pretty open need to lower the heat. Also, every time I have been to any event the parking is awful. There is just not enough parking so always see people parking on the landscape/curb areas.”
KCI Expo Center
The KCI Expo Center is known for holding conventions, business meetings, and weddings in the Kansas City Northland. Located just five minutes from the airport, its ideal location is great for those traveling out-of-state and want to avoid the hustle and bustle of downtown Kansas City or Overland Park.
- 70,000 square feet of exhibit hall space
- Free parking
- On-site catering
- On-site restaurant and hotel
- Five minutes from KCI Airport
- Positive reviewers usually note the easy access to highways and the airport and the cleanliness.
“Great place to have an event. We went to a regional dance competition. Great space & easy access by major highways & Kansas City Inter. Airport.” Lee Skywalker, Local Guide.
“It was a beautiful place our company held some training here, the staff was friendly and helpful. The food was really good served in a buffet style in our own banquet room.”
- No outside catering
- Farther distance from Overland Park
- Negative reviewers usually note the crowded parking lot and lack of food choices in the area.
“Not enough food choices around. Felt stuck until the end of the event.”
Overall, as you do your research and need to make a decision on a location, just know that you can’t go wrong with any of these convention and meeting spaces in Kansas City. Each location has its own positive features that will attract attendees from all over the Kansas City metropolitan area and beyond. If you’re interested in learning more about hosting a convention or meeting at KCI Expo Center, fill out our request for proposal form.
KCI Expo Center Meeting Room Set-Ups and Styles
The KCI Expo Center is the perfect place for your meeting or conference. We have facilities to suit business or social events, from large celebrations, award ceremonies, family get-togethers, a wedding party, or private dining. KCI Expo Center provides a choice of catering to suit your needs, whether it’s a buffet or a sit-down meal. With the airport and hotel nearby, the location is convenient for everyone. Along with all the amenities and full-service team, KCI Expo Center provides the most hassle-free meeting experience possible.
One question many event planners ask is “how do I know which room setup style is best for our type of meeting or event?” Below is an explanation of each meeting room set-up and how it would work within the KCI Expo Center.
Meeting Room Set-Ups and Styles
This style is set up in rows of chairs without tables, arranged with all participants facing towards the front of the room, typically divided in the center and may include side aisles. These classic features make auditorium/theater style more than appropriate for a short lecture or larger groups in Kansas City that do not require extensive note-taking. Usually, this arrangement of event space is best suited for mass meetings, annual general meetings needed near the airport, and product launches to achieve maximum seated capacity.
This style has round tables arranged throughout the room attendees being seated around the entire perimeter of each table, making it appropriate for conference events entailing meals and small group discussions. The grouping of tables in this way makes meetings at the KCI Expo Center ideal as it allows the movement of participants as well as the service of food. Events where banquet style is used includes gala dinners, wedding receptions, and award nights because of their ease of interaction.
The Hollow Square Style is set up in an arrangement where tables are arranged in a square shape with chairs along the outside of the tables looking towards an empty center. This type of style is the best meeting space option when there are is a group with fewer than forty with a group leader or panel seated at the head of the setup. It is optimal for there to be encouraged interaction between participants when this set-up is used.
The Classroom Style can also be referred to as “the school style” by some and has chairs and tables arranged in rows with all participants facing towards the front of the room. This set-up can be used when you want the attendees to study handouts, use their computers, or takes notes during the meeting event. It is especially useful for training and long lectures or clinics for all types of conferences. When utilizing the space at KCI Expo Center, keep in mind the Classroom Style.
In order to attain the U-Shape Style, conference tables are arranged in a large U with open space in the middle. Attendees are seated around the outside, facing the center of the U. Another way to achieve this same set-up is to use a round table and place the seats around, leaving one opening at one end for presentation purposes. This arrangement is used best during meeting events where the focal point is in the enter and/or interaction between participants is encouraged. The opening of the U also allows presentations that are visual to be seen by everyone, which only aids the group interaction and discussion aspect. This style appropriate for small annual general meetings, conferences, and workshops.
KCI Expo Meeting Amenities
Now that you’ve chosen the ideal meeting setup, here are the following amenities you can enjoy by choosing the KCI Expo Center:
- Complete decorative services
- Full-service catering
- Custom audio visual for basic or advanced requirements
- Expo Services Manager to detail your event
- Connection to Holiday Inn by the exterior covered walkway
Book Your Meeting Space with KCI Expo Center Today
Our 10 meeting rooms range in size from 260 sq ft to 6745 sq ft and can accommodate 10 to 650, perfect for a range of conference and banquet functions held in Kansas City. The rooms can be rented individually or you can work with our Client Services Manager to tailor a setup just for you. In addition to our meeting rooms, we offer the story Grand Lobby that adds Kansas City flair for your registration needs, tabletop displays, and receptions.