If you plan a lot of meetings or receptions for the same group, sometimes it can feel like you’re in a rut. While it may be easy to simply copy and paste, your clients will surely thank you for trying something different. Utilize your resources, and find out what your conference services manager can do to maximize the meeting planning experience!
Take a Tour
When possible, always take the time to tour your chosen venue with the conference services manager in advance. Pictures can only convey so much. Consider if the location is conducive to a productive event. Does the meeting room have natural lighting or a great view? Is the venue easy to navigate? Can the lighting be adjusted according to your needs?
Even if you’ve used the same venue many times, a tour can give you a fresh perspective especially if you usually plan remotely. A tour also gives you the opportunity to make a personal connection with your conference services manager and create a good relationship as you work together on planning a great event!
Get Interactive with Diagrams
Remember there is more than one way to set a room! Many venues have diagram programs that can show you how specific floor plans will look in your meeting space. Ask your conference services manager to show you options that you may not have considered. Instead of classroom tables, rounds could create more and better use of space in the room. For trade shows or job fairs, you can see how different set ups would allow for more exhibits.
Some diagram programs, such as the popular Social Table interface, enable you to interact with a live version of the floor plan. While discussing with your meeting planner on a conference call, you might actively rearrange the layout to show what works best for you, or even see a 3-D representation of the room, rather than go back and forth via email before settling on a certain detail.
Explore Extra Activities
Ask your conference services manager for suggestions about what the venue or local area can offer for something fun to do! All-day meetings can be exhausting - take a break in the middle of the day or finish with a team building activity.
Discover a local brewery or arts center. Enjoy the outdoors with a Segway tour. If you don’t want to travel off-property, have painting class set up on-site and discover your colleagues’ talents over dessert and a glass of wine (or hot chocolate!).
Find out what your venue has to offer as well. If your meeting is in a resort conference center, they may have equipment to rent for mini-golf or bocce ball. Perhaps add a lakeside bonfire with s’mores to an evening reception, or see if their chef can conduct a cooking class or tasting.
Consider Creative Menus
Sandwich platters, vegetable crudité, and dozens of cookies are all well and good, but it’s worthwhile to mix it up some or all of time! Whether it’s a new venue or one you’ve been working with regularly, take a closer look at the catering menu for something fresh.
Perhaps enjoy a fun popcorn or ice cream station with different mixes and toppings. Invent a signature cocktail that fits the theme of your fundraiser or reception. Many times, chefs are able and willing to customize meals to fit specific dietary needs or cultural specialties. Use your conference service manager’s expertise to find out a popular favorite or custom items that have been created for other groups they’ve worked with.