Ideally, what's going to happen and when
Although meetings vary by type and size, they typically go through the same general steps in order to make sure everything goes as planned. Of course, the more time you have to prepare for your meeting, the better. However, we know that sometimes having a short planning time frame is a reality. If you are in a time crunch, Custom Meeting Planners is skilled and available to work on short notice and under pressure.
Custom Meeting Planners understands the importance of communication. We will create a timeline that clearly identifies what will happen, when it will happen, and who will be responsible for each task. Count on our experience and services to turn your event – whether it is on a short or long timeline – into one that everyone excitedly talks about.
The following is a suggested guideline in the planning process. We can certainly adjust these timelines to fit your circumstances.
• Set Goals and Objectives (48 months - 36 months prior)
Determining the purpose of your meeting and writing clear goals and measurable objectives is the first step in planning any meeting. The key is to research your attendees’ needs and interests and allow the results to guide you in determining your goals and objectives.
• Site and Facility Selection (36 months – 12 months prior)
A meeting’s location sets the tone by providing an atmosphere that complements the meeting goals and objectives. Defining your meeting requirements allows you to search for sites that can provide the services you need and exclude those that do not fit basic criteria in order to select the best site for your meeting. Once a site is selected, yearly site visits are recommended to ensure the property is maintained to the same level as when the contract is signed.
• Contact and Communicate with the Convention Services Manager (36 months to completion)
The relationship established with the Convention and Visitors Bureau and/or hotel Convention Services Manager is essential. The key to a successful working relationship with the Convention Services Manager is communication – early, often and written.
• Develop the Budget (15 months prior)
A well-administered budget is an important meeting management tool that enables you to accurately project income and expenses, track cash flow and determine where cost controls may be needed. The budget will provide the necessary information needed for analyzing major decisions and forecasting the return on investment of your meeting.
• Development of Marketing Plan/Implementation of Promotion Plan (15 months prior – 2 months prior)
A marketing plan will help you define the market for your meeting as well as outline a strategy for attracting and keeping participants. It is important to develop an integrated marketing plan that uses all the various media channels.
• Plan Program Content (12 months – 10 months prior)
Your educational objectives will serve as the basis for planning program content.
Each educational objective should include the following:
• What attendees will learn or what skills they will master as a result of participating
• A brief description of the presentation
• The measurable outcome of participating in the session
• Design Registration Forms, On-site Set Up and Services (6 months prior to on-site)
For most attendees, the registration process is the first and sometimes the most lasting impression of your meeting. Custom Meeting Planners can outline procedures and technologies that can eliminate potential problems and enhance registration services.
• Creation of a Detailed Specifications Guide (6 months – 30 days prior)
The specifications guidebook will organize and consolidate all of the meeting details in one place. This guidebook is your "meeting bible" and will become the final authority for the meeting.
• Pre-Conference Briefing (2 days prior)
The pre-conference meeting is held to reconfirm and review meeting logistics and discuss last minute adjustments. Custom Meeting Planners uses this briefing as a final checkpoint for information already communicated, as well as an opportunity to establish rapport with individual staff members of the meeting and/or convention facility.
• On-site Conference Management (day of event)
As the meeting unfolds, successful management of the conference requires confirming all prior arrangements, anticipating potential problems, and staying in constant communication with facility and service staffs.
• Post-Conference Briefing (1 day post-meeting/event)
The post-conference meeting is held on-site and can serve as a vital source of feedback to use in planning for future meetings. The end of the meeting is the time to reflect on how well things went, as well as what did not work. The post-conference meeting involves the meeting team and the key managers of the facility, including the convention services manager.
• Evaluations (On-site to two weeks post-meeting/event)
An evaluation is a vital tool to help you record both your meeting successes and challenges and is an ongoing process. Once we determine who will use the evaluation and what the objectives are, we can help create an evaluation to fit the needs of the people who will use them.
• Post-meeting Reports (30 days post-meeting/event)
Accurate statistics from your meeting are crucial to future planning. Therefore, it is imperative that information is gathered and compiled as quickly after the meeting as possible. Custom Meeting Planners can generate the final reports needed, as well as provide an overview of the entire event for our clients.
Our goal, regardless of the services needed, is to minimize the time commitment needed from you, your committee members, and your staff.
The involvement of you and your staff is really up to you. Our process suggests that certain information be shared with us in order to execute your meeting to your specifications. The information that is helpful to us includes:
• Your meeting goals and objectives
• Overall specifications and demographics of your group
• Services you would like us to handle
• Any historical information about your group’s meeting
As you have shared your goals and expectations with us, please know ultimately all of the decisions are up to you and your company or organization. However, Custom Meeting Planners will always be available to make recommendations and offer input based on our experience and expertise. We will use our past experience in the hotel industry to help you make the best decisions for your group and your budget.
Custom Meeting Planners has worked with committees ranging from 2-25 people. We understand the intricacies of working with a committee and welcome the opportunity to work with them. By utilizing our services, organizations have found they can actually reduce their committee size and time commitment of their volunteers, thus making it easier to recruit volunteers.
As committee members often change each year, Custom Meeting Planners can provide that base of knowledge to avoid re-inventing the wheel each and every year. We can provide the consistency needed to make the transition from year-to-year a smooth one.
Request a proposal by filling out the form below. If you’re unsure of exactly what you need, no problem. Fill out the form and we’ll work with you to determine the best solution for your objectives.
If you would prefer to call us, please contact our office at (573) 445-2965.