Meeting MPI Toronto - May/June 2014 - (Page 13)

CROSSING BORDERS: THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN PLANNING AN INTERNATIONAL EVENT By Kiran Balladin W hether you're an experienced meeting planner or new to the profession, this checklist has something for everyone ... a refresher for some or a must-have guide for others. Keep in mind, this isn't a complete list; depending on the type of event, there will be many other challenges to consider. While there are many challenges to planning international events, it's also a lot of fun and there are always new learnings and experiences from every different location. TECHNOLOGY 10 It's almost impossible to have an event these days without some digital component at minimum: internet access, online presentations or live broadcasting of the event. From a social media standpoint, think about using a Twitter hashtag to create online buzz or create list of favourite travel apps for attendees. Don't forget charging stations. RESOURCES 9 Make sure to have lists of links to restaurants, tourist attractions, maps, and do's and don'ts, including emergency numbers. If you provide resources and an event schedule in advance, most attendees will generally plan around this because they'll know when they have "free" time. MARK YOUR CALENDAR NOTICE 8 7 Don't wait for all the event details to be finalized. Once date and location is confirmed, send out a mark your calendar notice. This takes on greater importance for international events as it gives attendees advanced notice so they can plan their schedules, apply or renew their passports, get a visas (if required), and book vacation time and hotels. SWAG You might be tempted to give out souvenirs or gifts with cultural significance, but some attendees may extend their stay for personal travelling and don't want to travel around with heavy, bulky items. 5 6 Important when local audience is your target market. Avoid jokes as some meaning can be lost in translation. TIME ZONES 4 Once you start planning time zone and daylight savings become critical to planning the event. For example, Australia is practically a full day ahead of Toronto, so it's a day before you get a response to a question. You will need to carefully monitor deadlines and delivery dates with vendors. BUDGET 3 If you're lucky and money is no object, then your only challenge is selecting a location from the more than 175 countries in the world! In most cases, a budget is always required and should include currency conversion rates and applicable taxes. Note that vendors are paid in local currency. VENUE 2 Don't get distracted by beautiful pictures on the website. Best practice is to always do a site visit before signing a contract, but this isn't always practical. Check the MPI site or LinkedIn discussion forum and ask for feedback. Also consider distance from airport and local transportation. LOCATION SHIPPING If you have an existing courier, check if they deliver internationally or at least to your host country. Ask courier to supply the appropriate customs and shipping forms and brokerage company in advance. Factor in extra time in case your shipment is delayed at customs. LANGUAGE 1 Before rushing off to book a venue in exotic Bali, it's important to understand the event. Why is this event happening? What's the goal? What are the client's expectations? Once you have a basic sense of the event do some research to match the location to the requirements then design your event accordingly. Kiran Balladin is the Manager, Events & Public Relations of Artez Interactive, a MEETING of the Minds attendee and can be reached at | MEETING * 13

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meeting MPI Toronto - May/June 2014

The Evolution of Meetings: Top 10 Changes in the Past Decade
Load ‘Em Up: Top 10 Considerations For Offsite Events
Crossing Borders: Top 10 Things to Consider When Planning an International Event
Location, Location, Location: Top 10 Reasons Why Venue Selection is Key
Student Spotlight: Top 10 Ways to Elevate the Overall Event Experience
Create a Buzz: Top 10 Event Marketing Tips
Think Outside the Meeting Room: Top 10 Ways to Create Experiential Learning
The Generational Divide: Top 10 Differences You Need to Know as a Team Leader
President’s Message
Upcoming Events
Welcome, New Members!
Industry Speaks
Blast from the Past: 35 Years of MPI Toronto
Advertisers’ Index &
The Last Word

Meeting MPI Toronto - May/June 2014