Posts Tagged ‘meeting planner’

Membership – Do you BELONG or just carry the card?

May 15th, 2010
Meeting Professionals International (MPI) helps over 24,000 worldwide members thrive by providing connections to knowledge, relationships, and marketplaces. People do business with people they know, like and trust. Lifelong friendships are born in membership organizations were you meet people with common professions, interests and goals. Meeting planning is my business so it makes sense that this organization is my primary membership commitment but I also belong to several others as networking is such an important aspect of building business contacts and meaningful relationships.
We all have the same 24 hours in a day and it seems like it just doesn’t last long enough so we are faced with choices as to what we value most in our lives. There are times when our friends, family and selves forget what we look like and who we are because our priorities get juggled so make sure you put your BIG ROCKS in the schedule FIRST. As you consider memberships to professional, civic or social groups think about the time you will need to devote to that organization or cause to really BELONG.collaboration
Many of us join a group with good intentions and the passion dies or conflicts arise that pull us away. That makes a statement to other group members. You don’t get what you want out of the group because you are not involved and others see it as a lack of commitment so it can be very damaging to sign up and not belong. So what does it mean to belong? Is it enough to just attend the meeting and or social events? I would say that makes a statement too. It says I am in this for ME and I will take those things I like and leave the rest behind. Personally, this type of member does not offend me as long as they are not critical about other members or group leaders but I may not do business with them.
When you think about joining a group for professional or social reasons, know what you want to get out of the group and more importantly, what you are willing to give both financially and of your time and talent.
• Contribute to discussions in a way that moves the group to a higher level
• Participate in surveys that offer a form of constructive feedback
• Don’t just say you didn’t like the speaker, format or topic. (SWAMP talk) Suggest speakers, format or topics that will engage you as there is a good chance it will engage others.
• Provide leads and referrals to active group members
• Show up ON TIME with cell phone on vibrate
• Volunteer your time and talent at least once per quarter for personal growth as well as growth of the group and its members
• Be an ambassador and connect others that may benefit by belonging to the group
I am extremely proud to be a member of the Tampa Bay chapter of Meeting Professionals International and even more proud to be the incoming Vice President of Education within my first year of membership. Assuming a leadership role is a commitment and it is my goal to engage current, past and new members. I am not asking you to join, I am asking you to belong.
P.S. JOIN US for an exciting dinner meeting on May 19, 2010 at TPepin Hospitality Center where we are cooking up a great time Building a Better Menu: Understanding Food and Beverage Issues with Chef Marco Ferraro and several local celebrity chefs.

Meeting Supplier Relationships Make You Look GREAT!

April 22nd, 2010

AVISPLlogoThe job of a meeting planning professional is to plan and execute a successful meeting or event. We are not audio visual, website or catering experts. We utilize preferred vendors and trusted suppliers to put the pieces of our events together. Hotels will usually have a one stop shop approach and keep as much as possible in house but you can never assume that they will be able to do it all. Relationships with trusted suppliers will streamline the process and increase the professional polish to your meeting or event.

It is so critical to treat these relationships like family and be sure to communicate the goals and outcome as it relates to their performance so the end result is well orchestrated. If the venue treats your suppliers like they are “second rate” it WILL have an impact on your guests. Meet with your suppliers to see what special needs they have and how they will be able to perform best for you.

I have to extend a special THANK YOU to my friends at AVI-SPL Twice they have comAVISPL_recyclelogo_MPCe to my aid in very difficult situations and the outcome was seamless to the audience. Steve, Jim and Ivy are incredible ambassadors and seasoned professionals. AVI-SPL has several locations throughout the country and they are involved in taking the meeting profession to a higher level.  The audience EXPECTS a seamless production and that doesn’t always happen with the wave of the magic wand. Be sure to treat your suppliers right and say thank you for a job well done.

I have a related article about an incredible public speaker that you can access through my blog on my Linked In site http://www.linkedin.com/profile?viewProfile=&key=22499504&trk=tab_pro listed in the website area under My Blog. Please take the time to view this to hear the miracle of how far reaching random acts of kindness to suppliers can be. Treat each other right!

 

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

http://polls.linkedin.com/p/72088/aogyv

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!