Meeting Planning Tips

So you're in charge of setting up your company meeting or conference this year. You've got people traveling from all parts of the country, top executives and guests coming. You want this to be a feather in your cap, not a disaster. Don't worry! Just follow some of our meeting planning tips below. These tips will help you set up the perfect businesss meeting or conference.

So, where do you start?

The very first thing to do is to establish your meeting budget. This is essential because it will drive all aspects of meeting planning including: accommodations, food and beverage, meeting rooms and equipment rental, along with transportation and possibly entertainment. Once you set your budget, consider padding it a bit. There are always unforseen circumstances or issues that come up even with the best plan in place.

Choosing a date for your meeting or conference
It's best to have at least two dates in mind. You'll want a preferred date and a back up date in case the conference rooms or meeting venue is already booked. Run the dates by your attendees to establish which date is more convenient and will get you better participation. Having alternate dates may help you in negotiating a venue and contracting a hotel. Pick an off-season time for the hotel to get the very best rates.

One money saving tip is to hold your meeting over a weekend. Many companies take advantage of discounted travel fares available with a Saturday-night stay over. Some 'business' hotels have higher rates during the week and they love getting weekend business and are willing to negotiate steep discounts. If you have a limited budget for your meeting, you can significantly reduce costs by planning your meeting or conference around a weekend.

Picking a Location
The first question is do we hold the meeting off site or on site? This is a very important consideration.. An on site meeting will certainly help you contain costs but the downside is the meeting will be filled with distractions caused by proximity to nearby offices and co workers. When you hold your meeting on site your participants are likely to run back to their offices to check e-mail, voice mail and check on critical projects. Holding the meeting on site can also stifle the creative flow of the meeting as many participants hold back because of office politics.

Get the attendees off site to help them relax and blow off steam and frustrations. Your participants will be energized by being off site at an interesting, fun location.

If you decide on an off-site location, the choices can be truly overwhelming. Based on your budget, determine if you will stay in-state or travel to another or even out of the country. To save costs, try to pick a city with a 'hub' airport and pick an off-season or shoulder-season time..

Meeting Room Set Up and Equipment
Gone are the days of meetings with just flip charts and a few tables and chairs. Today's meetings require state of the art audio visual equipment designed to present power point presentations and video. You'll also need to consider Internet and wifi. Make sure you check on the upload and download speeds at your venue. One of the most frustrating things for participants or meeting attendees is a sloooooooooooow internet connection. Often times the success of a presentation hinges on the Internet speeds.

Our best tip of all is to – Hire a Meeting Planner
Outsourcing event planning will save you time, not to mention all the headaches associated with setting up a meeting and negotiating for accommdations. Meeting planners are trained to cover all aspects of planning and executing a professional meeting. Fill out our meeting request form and we'd be glad to help you.


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