As meeting planners, we are conditioned to constantly think ahead. We’ve been trained to envision all possible scenarios (we’ve seen it all) and react accordingly. Ask me what my plan is for my next event, and I'll respond, “Do you want to see plan A, B, or C?” It’s all about planning ahead and being ready to predict the unpredictable.
Though no event goes exactly as planned, there are always strategies to diffuse the stress of the unexpected. I wanted to share some ways my team and I get ahead of the planning process to ensure our events can weather any storm.
Get in Touch with Your Venue POC
After securing your event’s location, get the contact information for your point of contact during the planning process. This individual will be your go-to for anything you need onsite. It’s important to create a relationship with him or her early on, so you have a direct line of communication between you and the venue. Plus, your POC will ensure all your questions and special requests are directed to the appropriate source.
Have a Badge Solution
Are you printing your badges before or during the event? We prefer onsite badge printing. Here are four quick reasons why we found this to be the most realiable solution: (1) It allows us to consolidate, so we don't have to travel with hundreds of printed badges, (2) Attendees are able to make changes onsite in real time (i.e. many times people's titles have changed from the time they register to the time they arrive onsite), (3), It's the new cool way to do thing (pre-printed badges have gone extinct with the dinosaurs), and (4) it creats an overall convenience for staff and attendees.
Organize Shipping and Packing
This is especially critical for destination meetings. Starting the conference off knowing that all of your boxes have arrived, what was supposed to be waiting for you is waiting for you, or at least knowing the status will help decrease the gray hair. Make sure the boxes are clearly labeled and organized – this is an easy way to dodge chaos.
Don't Leave Your BEOs Until Last Minute
Banquet Event Orders can cause a lot of stress for planners and venues, so don’t wait until last minute to focus on them. Make sure to keep your own running document of needs and requests that you've sent to the venue. When it comes time to focus on your BEOs. you can quickly identify anything that is missing or needs to be modified. We start this list as early as the pre-planning process
Have a Master Document
Create an event document that outlines specific roles and responsibilities. Include room names, room sets, room capacities, who is responsible for what, etc. This will be a perfect guy for anyone that needs to be pulled into the process last minute.
Written by Ashley Stewart.