Posts Tagged ‘event planning tips’

Fam Trip, Group Site Tour, Hosted Buyer Program … When can YOU go!

March 7th, 2010

DSC_6698Regardless of what you call it, be sure you really are a qualified attendee. Don’t go if there is no chance you will book the venue in the foreseeable future. No one wants to be part of a trip where an unqualified buyer is taking advantage of the venue. In my last hotel we did 6 group site tours or familiarization trips in one year and each group was comprised of 10 – 12 planners.

It is a lot of work to organize flights, ground transportation, special dietary needs, gifts, a theme and an agenda where everyone gets to know new people and it is still educational and fun. We created the format once and duplicated it 4 times for just captive meeting professionals and twice for independent meeting professionals with their client. We did not invite significant others to keep it very business focused and found a Thursday – Saturday program worked best in that it did not cut into too much personal time.

To get 12 attendees, you need to invite at least 50 planners. Having several dates to offer helped to get qualified planners in at a time that best suits their schedule. We made it casual, interactive and left an afternoon for optional activities to show the variety of what your attendees can do in their spare time. Spa appointments were always a huge hit but city tours, attractions or special events can also be worthwhile. We kept it personal and focused so each guest felt like we recognized the most important person in the world. The cost is usually over $1,000 per planner so expect a well orchestrated follow up plan to track the success.

It is also wonderful if the local Convention & Visitors Bureau attends to talk about the destination, partner opportunities and the type of services they provide. Any preferred vendors should also participate to showcase their offering.

Depending on the ratio of business from the local market, it is fun to attend a “Show the Love” event that is a single meal with educational content or a dinner and overnight event. If you are doing a fair amount of business with a local venue, you should occasionally “shop” the venue to experience the service when the sales team is not around. That is the service that your guests receive.

No matter what you call these types of events, they can be an extremely effective use of your time in planning a meeting or event and build an amA2Zing lifetime relationship bond between the venue team and the professional meeting planner.

How much of your time is spent planning meetings or events?

December 30th, 2009

I bestow upon you the gift of time.

December 29th, 2009

HAPPY New Year!!! What a glorious time of year this has been! I was able to help 2 new clients and still spend time with my loved ones. I started the month of November with things I was thankful for and they just multiplied as each gift was announced. I was determined to sprinkle positive energy on every person I was able to interact with and the more I gave away, the more it multiplied. I intend to continue to sprinkle positive energy throughout 2010 and I look forward to helping more friends and clients save time by planning and executing successful meetings on their behalf. I have so much fun doing this and YOU get the gift of time. Take a peek at the new expansions to my website. Sound has been added for 30 seconds and video clips are next! A newsletter will also be coming out in 2010 and your tips and tricks may be included if you write to me.

In my journey this year I have met some amA2Zing people and one of them has given me the gift of overflowing gratitude. Thank you, Terre! This was her latest gift. It is so awesome … please enrich yourself by taking the time to read this inspiring note and you will understand the gift that has been bestowed on you. Take advantage of this gift and bestow gifts on those you love and respect.

Thanks to Victoria Esther Ben-Toviya

This Thursday evening, Dec. 31st, will be the end of the first decade of the century. It will herald in the second decade, and begin the first “double digits” of the century 2010. (Remember when you went from 9 to 10 years old – double digits?!) It will also be the second full moon of the month of December, making it a BLUE MOON (in Cancer)! There will also be a partial eclipse of the moon in North America. At this season of short daylight, we have the double gift of the silvery reflected Light from the moon again to shimmer on our New Year’s Eve at this auspicious moment in history.

Some say that Moon Light is filled with feminine energy. Some say it is a time of fullness of vision (more light available at night) and therefore a good time for meditation upon our Inner Vision. Some say it is a time to look to our own feminine side and see how we most fully utilize our potentials for life giving – to ourselves and overflowing to others from our own “fullness”.

What is this New Year bringing to your Pathway? What have you been conscious of lately? I hope you will take time to write it down and take one (first) step in whatever that is. What has been on the edge of your consciousness – hovering and hidden (partial eclipse) in your unconsciousness? Take some time to sit with those unconscious shadows and allow them to emerge, be recognized, integrated, and acted upon in a positive way for your personal growth and development.

What is your “theme” for this year? (Check with your Inner Self). It might be your “Year of Peace”, so you seek Peace throughout your days this year. It might be your year of “Joy”. Where will you find joy this year?

What gift do you bestow upon others this Year? “I bestow upon you the gift of ____”. Let your own inner wisdom fill in the blank for each person you love; bestowing this “wish” for them to receive in the coming year. I received the gift of “fun” from my sister. In the coming year I will look for ways to experience fun in my life.

I bestow upon you for this coming year, in the words of Julia Child, “Bon Appetit!” In Hebrew, “B’tai Avone” and may you have a wonderful appetite – for LIFE! (Send me this phrase in languages you know! I want to hear them!)

If we are to help our patients live fully – it begins with us!

Let us celebrate life this year, 2010, with gusto, appetite, and eagerness for each juicy moment of Life to be rich, bold, bodacious and succulent!

Love and blessings to the Earth Angels with whom I am privileged to work,

Victoria Esther Ben-Toviya, MA, BCC

Tips for Designing a Great Meeting Request for Proposal

December 5th, 2009

Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood!DBU011

We are all so busy these days and one missing piece in the puzzle could be the weak spot that makes the rest of your meeting sag. Great communication is easy if all parties start with a complete understanding of the goals. So what kinds of things do the bidding parties need to know about your group? Have you communicated everything?

What is the objective and profile of the meeting?
o Is it a training meeting, board meeting, sales, continuing education, incentive?
o If you wanted to accomplish 3 – 5 key things, what would those be?
Who are your competitors?
o Include a clause stating that competing groups will not occupy the hotel over your meeting dates
Describe the profile of the audience.
o Are individuals encouraged to bring family members?
o What is the percentage of males/females? Age range?
o Are there special needs unique to your audience?
? Specific products, cuisine, smoking
? Disabilities that require special accommodations
o What is the geographic mix? (If your audience is international, will translators be needed?)
o What is important to the attendees? (past successful themes, events or venues)
Describe specific meeting and guest room needs.
o Desired meeting flow and meeting room set ups (diagrams are helpful)
o Include days, dates and times
o Include set up and tear down times and 24 hour hold when necessary
Give room rate range sought after and parameters of flexibility
o Patterns of arrival and departure could impact rates greatly
o Be specific on room types desired
List specific inclusions you would like in the proposal
o Complimentary room ratio, staff rooms, upgrades, etc.
Provide at least 2 years of group history by night (rooms blocked versus rooms utilized)
What is the decision process?
o Who decides?
o When will the decision be made?
Site inspection request
o What is the policy for site inspection and detail meetings?

o Taxes, service charges, additional fees and inclusions
o Ground transportation & parking fees
o Internet access in guest rooms and meeting space
? Fees
? Technical support
o Business center services and pricing
o Labor conditions
o Ownership and management of the hotel and for how long
o Ancillary & support services
o Risk assessment /management
o Events at the hotel or in the city during your dates

Not everything on this list will pertain to every group. Save yourself some stress by communicating items on this list that will impact the outcome of your meeting.
For other helpful meeting tips visit

Tips to delegate tasks and keep control of what really matters

November 11th, 2009

I spoke with a corporate meeting planner recently and she said “I’m happy to have a job but I lost my assistant in the downsizing and now I am doing the work of two people. I feel as though I was demoted. There is not enough time to do it all and do it well.”

Did you know you can hire a professional meeting planner to do all the research, negotiate all components of the meeting, ensure the best rates at no cost to you or your company?

Regardless of whether your meeting is an intimate board meeting, an intense sales training meeting or a multi-day trade show, what you want and expect as your end result is the same…. a successful and well received event. As all professional meeting planners know, the key to a successful event is dependent upon the seamless execution of your details.
If you have experience in the meeting planning industry, you may be quite capable of managing the event yourself. Assistance with advance research may be all that you need to get the process started. If you do not have background in meeting and event planning, allow a professional consultant to lead you on the path to securing the right site with the right terms.
A professional meeting planner will save on your budget expense and add some cost effective enhancement ideas. They will partner with you and become an extension of your team. They can yield a more detailed site selection process along with a better contract, all the while insuring the needs of your event are considered.

Why isn’t there a fee for this service?
Independent meeting professionals do not charge any fees to our clients for hotel site selection services because we are compensated by the hotel you choose on each room they sell to your group. Hotels give us a placement fee, this does not inflate your room rate what so ever. Your buying power is increased because we book thousands of rooms per year, at multiple properties. Hotels compete for your business, benefiting you with the lowest room rates available. It is in the best interest of the hotel to offer great rates to our clients, so we may in turn book their hotel or their brand again for other business.

Will hotels raise their rates to compensate your placement fee?
No. The hotel rates that A2Z Meetings & Events receives are at least as competitive as those you might find on your own – with the placement fee already built in. A2Z is able to negotiate these great rates due to the large quantity of business we direct to the hotel industry. The added bonus is that we know the rates and seasonality of properties throughout the country so we can make recommendations of how and where you will get the best value for your dollar.

Are meeting planners biased when choosing a venue?
An independent meeting professional will have your best interest and needs as their first priority. You are the decision maker as to where the meeting goes. Our job is to negotiate the best overall value package so you can make the best decision. The placement fee is fairly standard within the industry, so the meeting planner’s “pay-out” is comparable wherever the meeting is booked. Professional meeting planners rely heavily on their reputations and the referrals they acquire so you can be confident they are going to work hard to earn both your business and your respect.
Enlist a planner that is honest about receiving a placement fee. We have over 27 years of experience in the meeting and event planning industry. We have earned a reputation by providing quality services based on an honest and ethical relationship with our clients and the properties you select. We work hard to gain and maintain your trust.

Are there other services available besides site selection and contract negotiation?We are experienced in all avenues of professional meeting and event planning and have a team of service providers that assist us when a group chooses to have us work the meeting. The fee based services available are listed on our A2Z Meetings & Events website. Many independent meeting planners only provide the complimentary site selection and contract negotiation services while we will see you through from A2Z!