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.
How To Plan A Successful Meeting in Kansas City
Some meetings are easily planned while others, such as conferences, seminars and training days, require more time and effort. When planning a large meeting or conference in Kansas City, it’s important to control as many factors as you can through planning. Fortunately, it is much easier to structure a meeting for success in advance.
1. Identify the purpose
Before you start planning your meeting in Kansas City, it’s important to identify the purpose and type of meeting that is necessary. Then can you plan a meeting that achieves your objective or goal. These are a few of the categories of meetings that yours might fall under:
- Information sharing.
- Team building.
- Status update.
Introducing a theme for your conference or large meeting is important as it unifies all parties involved. It could be relatively broad and high level or much narrower. Themes help to connect ideas, get appropriate speakers and include the right people.
When preparing for a large meeting or conference at the KCI Expo Center, it is imperative to have an agenda and be clear about expectations. For meetings, develop an agenda entailing what will be discussed and distribute it to attendees. Be sure to include times and topics. Creating an agenda will allow you to stay on topic during meetings. Mission statements are more helpful for conferences as they help events and sessions stay on track. When setting expectations and writing agendas, it’s a good idea to also send any and all required reading materials to participants. Preparation is key.
3. Technology and Equipment
As time has progressed, technology has become an integral part of our world. Use it. People are accustomed to seeing graphics or other visuals to accompany speeches or reports. Be sure to appeal to that mindset and incorporate those visuals when planning your meeting or conference in Kansas City. One thing that many tradeshows or large meeting space venues should offer is charging stations for your attendees to make sure their cellphones and laptops stay full charged on meeting days.
Decide if you’ll be using collaborative tools during your event and confirm with your meeting space that any equipment you need can be supported or provided. Testing the equipment and running through your visuals before the big day is another important step that is often overlooked, but can save you from running into technology-related issues during the event.
4. Venue and Accommodations
The KCI Expo Center is the perfect venue for your large meetings and conference room needs. Attendees are going to be enjoying each minute at your event when you pick the leading spot in Kansas City. Many vendors and meeting planners enjoy hosting their meeting at KCI Expo Center because the Holiday Inn is connected to it by exterior walkway and has a delicious on-site restaurant, Burger Theory. Meeting planners also choose the KCI Expo Center in Kansas City because of its central location, close distance to the airport, and many amazing choices for restaurants and things to do in the city.
5. Attendee Participation
While having the group as a whole is the primary goal of a conference or large meeting, splitting up participants into subgroups based on specialties, experience, and other criteria, can be surprisingly helpful. Subgroups can:
- Create differentiated perspectives.
- Give sides a chance to clarify their positions.
- Organize complex plans into manageable projects.
There needs to be enough time allotted for these small groups to discuss their opinions and thoughts and then allow them to each have the chance to share their findings with the large group.
Running a conference or large meeting is hard and takes a lot of work, but the rewards are massive. When you have the help KCI Expo Center is able to offer in your quest for greatness, there is no need to worry. Contact us today to fulfill your meeting needs!