Why challenge venue meeting capacity charts?

Has this happened to you?

Hotel rep: “We can easily fit 400 people in that room. So many others have done so successfully.”

In a recent example one client signed a contract based on the hotel rep statement backed up by the hotel published capacity chart.

The handy-dandy MeetingMatrix® software spit out this plan. No way is this comfortable or safe for 400 people.

No Fire Marshal would approve this setup

No Fire Marshal would approve this setup

Of course, there was no room for requested rear screen AV, AV tech table or ANY ISLES for access or successful food service. Also, no mention of the size of the tables (60”, 66” or 72”).

Why do venues continue to falsely promote room capacity specs? The answer is in why does a car dealer steer you to one particular car that does not represent what you asked for.


Here is a clip from the venue’s marketing materials, printed and on line. There is no way 400 people can comfortably and safely be seated in these two ballroom sections.

Selected space capacity 400

Selected space capacity 400

We have 40 years’ experience with unrealistic space holds. They are often not adequate for the anticipated audience or production needs. As a result, we have developed the #HonestHotelCapacityChart.

Test this calculator before arranging a site inspection.

Venues want to squeeze your meeting into the smallest space possible. Your results with the Stage America calculator will demonstrate a space requirement that will consider practical space considerations, stages, AV (front or rear screen), aisles, serving stations and typical Fire Marshall requirements.

Introducing the 2017 practical #HonestHotelCapacityChart  

Chose to enter square footage or audience s

Chose to enter square footage or audience s

These results may be adjusted by unusual room layout, pillars and other safety considerations.  This is a guideline only. We suggest asking us for our take on your space needs before signing a contract.


I welcome any tests of our calculator in your real-world venues. Share examples of similar space issues.

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The next topic: Why is true ceiling height important to meeting planners?