Logistics generally entails getting something or someone from point A to point B. Strategy on the other hand, refers to a plan to achieve an overall objective in a timely and effective manner. It’s hard to find a business publication today without a mention of being more strategic. In order to be successful in today’s challenging meetings environment, meeting professionals are challenged to meet their ROI, satisfy internal stakeholders, and engage and retain attendees, all of which require a commitment to a sound strategy from the onset of the planning process.
We thought it would be interesting to ask some experts how planners who are expected to manage all the details of their event at a micro level, can also look more broadly and bring a broader strategic lens to their planning efforts.
Jeff Hurt, Executive Vice President, Education and Engagement from Velvet Chainsaw Consulting offers these Five Perspectives on Becoming a More Strategic Meeting Professional adopted from his original article, “Want to Be a More Strategic Meeting Professional? Adopt These Perspectives”. And then we asked Mike Tarr, Vice President, Association Sales at Choose Chicago to offer his insight into how CVBs are the perfect strategic partners. After all, everyone needs the right partners to get the job done!
Jeff Hurt’s View of Meeting Strategy:
How can those charged with managing the details begin thinking differently without overlooking the logistics? Adopt these five perspectives to transition from logistics to strategic thinking.
- Transition from details to relationships.
Transition from just thinking about the details, to considering how those details enhance or hamper relationship building.
The conference is ultimately about and for the people. It’s not about room sets, coffee cups and plates. It’s about people connecting with each other and sharing experiences about the content. Don’t become so focused on the minutia that you miss the main objective for the conference – helping people connect.
- Transition from function to value.
Move from thinking about the function of the meeting space to the value and ROI that attendees seek. Don’t let the meeting space define the use. It should be the other way around; the use should define the meeting space.
What are the registrant’s goals for coming to this conference? How does the meeting space help you reach those goals? Do the room assignments hinder people from reaching those goals?
- Transition from efficiency to effectiveness.
Stop just assigning meetings and speakers to schedules and instead start thinking about the effectiveness of those speaker’s presentations. Do the assigned schedule topics create a narrative? Are they threaded and connected to the conference’s main theme? How effective is taking valuable session time to pass a gavel to the next year’s board chair?
- Transition from formulas to outcomes.
Don’t just put all your emphasis on the food and beverage formulas you’ve used for years. Focus on the overarching goals of the conference and how you are going to help achieve them. Yes the formulas work but how do they help you reach the goal? Don’t focus on the math, focus on the outcome.
- Transition from a series of education sessions to a community of learning spaces.
For years conference organizers have ignored the hallway conversations. We’ve intentionally moved informal seating out of pre-convene areas so we can corral people into large ballrooms. We’ve missed the opportunity for our participants to create a community of learning spaces.
Mike Tarr’s Destination Solutions:
With Jeff’s perspectives and the right help in the destination, you are positioned well to meet your objectives. As business demands planners to move from logistics to strategic thinking, savvy CVBs have also sharpened their approach to better serve you.
- Don’t just get information; seek consultative advice from your destination sales professional.
Don’t limit your requests to airlift information and city maps. CVB destination experts can act as your meeting consultant, connecting you to the best and newest resources, and helping you to filter down your internet research and simplify connecting to the right person for the task at hand. It’s not just about our relationship with you, but your ability to leverage the relationships we have spent years cultivating with the destination’s best providers.
- Getting the best value depends a lot on what you know about destination demand factors.
Historical occupancy trends, value periods, citywide and special events, transient demand, and compression all affect your ability to negotiate. Let us help you understand the lay of the land before your start your search.
- There’s nothing more effective than one call verses many
In the initial search phase, effectiveness can be enhanced with aggregated responses and letting us chase down responses. During the site inspection, let us make the arrangements and put together a seamless itinerary. After your decision, our services department keeps on delivering.
- Share more! If we understand your goals, we can help you find the right fit.
Knowledge is power. Tell us everything about your meeting’s goals and objectives. We will help you connect the dots in the destination and give you insider information about the best solutions and offerings that are specific to your needs, not generic search results.
- Creativity in spaces depends on knowing what’s off the beaten path, and sometimes outside your hotel.
Parks, museums, industrial spaces, even parking garages can create unique and viable places to meet and work. CVB sales professionals work with every meeting hotel and venue in the destination and know the latest spaces and meeting trends to help you create unique meeting experiences for attendees.
Connect with CVBs
Developing strategic partnerships in the destination(s) where you hold meetings starts with a Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) sales professional. The CVB sales professionals are destination experts who work with planners to learn about the goals and objectives of the meeting and organization and then advocate for your meeting and ensure the hotels understand your meeting and the organization’s value. CVB sales professionals are great strategic partners and will save planners time and hassle in trying to navigate the current challenging marketplace.
Your local CVB sales professional and applying these five strategic meeting planning tips can be a planner’s secret weapon. Whether you are planning a meeting in the same destination year after year, or you are considering a new destination, your CVB sales professional is the best first point of contact to help you find the right fit for any size meeting.
To research destinations, find out what’s new, and connect to CVB experts at more than 145 top meeting destinations, visit empowermint.com.