Great news, you’ve just gotten the go ahead to hold a meeting in a different city! Not so great news, you are in charge of planning it. All of a sudden, you find yourself responsible for everyone’s travel and accommodations, and that’s all on top of planning the meeting itself. What can you do to minimize the burden? Check out our tips below!
Clearly establish the purpose and goals
Set yourself up for success. What are the goals of the meeting? Coordinating a trip to discuss results and celebrate the success of the team may look different than coordinating one to talk numbers and strategically plan for the year ahead. Know your objectives up front and keep them in mind throughout the entire planning process.
Don’t forget about the time change
Maybe you’re traveling a long distance, or perhaps you have co-workers coming from all over the country. Regardless, you’ll want to be mindful of different time zones when it comes to travel and meeting times.
Choose the right destination and venue
Especially if you have co-workers in multiple locations, make sure to choose a convenient destination that works for everyone on your guest list. Check out our list of the best cities for conferences and annual meetings to get the ball rolling.
When it comes time to pick a venue, revisit your goals. Look for a space that caters to your group’s needs and reflects the overall feel you are trying to create for your attendees. If the goals center strictly around conducting business, consider hotel meeting rooms, auditoriums or conference centers. If the meeting is more relaxed, consider restaurants, museums or outdoor venues.
Use a TMC
Use your company’s dedicated travel management company to your advantage. Not only can a TMC help you with travel and accommodations, they can assist with site selection, finding suppliers, last minute changes or cancellations, technology support, meeting content, registration and more. If your company doesn’t have a dedicated travel management company, we know a great one (wink, wink) that provides group travel and meeting services for groups of any size.
Take a pre-trip trip
Have you ever been to the destination? If not, see if you can travel there prior to the meeting to scope things out. It’s always easier, and more fun, to check out meeting spaces, restaurants and hotels in person rather than on the internet.
Contact the local visitor’s bureau or tourism company
Most major cities have a local visitor’s bureau or tourism company. They are there to help and will be eager to help you show off their city! Contact them and inquire about local vendors, things to see and do, and other general tips about the city you’ll be traveling to.
Work hard, play hard
Have a little fun on your trip! Especially if you’re staying for more than a day, research the “must dos” in your destination city and plan at least one off-site activity for your guests. Maybe it’s a guided tour of the city, an upscale dinner, a trip to a local museum, a sunset cruise or a spa service.
Send a survey to meeting attendees after the trip is over to collect feedback. Ask about the venue, location, activities, what guests liked and what they didn’t like. The feedback will be helpful when you’re tasked with planning your next destination meeting!
Do you have any tips for planning out of town meetings? Share them with us below!
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