As a volunteer, local chapter member or administrative professional, you may find yourself charged with planning a meeting. It could be a big annual meeting or a smaller Board of Directors retreat. No matter the size, if you aren’t a full-time meeting planner, you may be asking yourself, “Where do I start?” and, “Who can help?”
Typically you may think of the Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) for citywide, or multiple hotel meetings, however CVBs are the best first resource for any sized meeting. They provide you with guidance, insider knowledge and destination demand information, all for free! Plus, as destination experts, they are able to connect any meeting planner to unique destination experiences that will leave your attendees with fantastic memories.
The next time you find yourself planning a meeting for 20 or more people, reach out to the experts at the CVB and ask these questions, and you’ll be on your way to a successful event!
- What questions should I answer before I begin the planning process?
To save time and ensure the CVB can help you find the right fit for your meeting, answer the 5 W’s:
- Why: Why are you having this meeting? Does it support your organization’s mission and goals?
- What: What type of event do you want to have? Will it be high-end with outside activities, or toned-down with few frills?
- Where: Where do you see your meeting taking place? Do the demographics of your membership or company lend itself to a particular city, state or region?
- When: When do you want to hold your meeting? Is there any flexibility to those dates?
- Who: Who will be attending? Is this a mandatory event or will attendee promotion be required?
- What do I need to include in my RFP?
If your organization doesn’t already have a Request for Proposal (RFP) that outlines the details of your event, then you will want to create one. Key items in an RFP include:
- History: Have at least 2-3 years of history. History is helpful when budgeting and booking for future years and provides hotels with pertinent information about your group.
- Date Flexibility: For many destinations and hotels this can be key, especially to meet the budget of your program. Every destination is a little different and working with the CVB will help to determine when the most optimum time for your group will be to come to their city.
- Hot Buttons: This includes anything that is very important for you to convey. It’s important to be detailed. For example, if guest room rates need to be low, explain. Such as, “Attendees are members of churches and are paying for their own rooms to attend this event; therefore having a good rate will help attendance.”
The destination experts at the CVB are great partners for meeting planners, and even better partners for those who need to minimize the time meeting planning takes because it isn’t their primary job responsibility. Finding the perfect venue, comparing proposals, scheduling site inspections, and other extended services after the meeting has been booked is all a part of their value proposition. They are here to help make your meeting a success.
To connect with your partner at the CVB at over 155+ of the top meeting destinations, visit www.empowerMINT.com.
For more information on RFPs, check out this informative infograph.
Or watch our recent webinar, When Meeting Planner Isn’t Your Job Title, What and Who You Need to Know.