Successful Meetings - February 2008 - (Page 36)

Planner’s Workshop > Pre-Event It All Starts With Negotiation By Leslie Schultz Attendees going to a meeting look forward to a learning experience and a good time. But a planner has to do a lot of hard work before to make it happen, and it all starts with the negotiation. Here are some tips to ensure you create a program that will entertain and educate. Make sure there is a desired budget for the meeting. Ask for added-value perks. Often times, the facility will give you a complimentary guest room or hospitality room based on the total number of rooms you book. If your facility is not able to negotiate room rates, it may be able to arrange for other services at a reduced rate, or even free—such as airport transportation, an upgraded menu, better rooms, gifts for each attendee, or even cocktail parties (usually the food, not the liquor). As a part of your negotiations, make sure you have an accurate list of all extra charges, such as your meeting room, audiovisual, bellstaff, housekeepers, service charges, taxes, parking, and so on. Ask what the final dates are for guarantees of rooms and meal functions. Also ask about billing procedures: Can you pay by check or credit card? Will they bill you later? How much later? What goes on the master account? Can they give you copies of the daily charges for each event? Give them a written list of those authorized to charge on the master account. If at all possible, have all the attendees’ rooms of the same quality and with the same amenities. When you receive the contract, make sure all arrangements match what you have planned. Leslie Schultz was a meeting planner before designing the Garrett Creek Ranch Conference Center in Paradise, TX. Learn more at or call (972) 680-8679. Five Questions About Trade Shows & Training By Julia O’Connor These are the FAQs about why training is important for exhibitors. Q. We’ve been going to shows for years. We always send the same crew. Why do we need training? A. Because if you’ve been going to the same shows, sending the same staff, and selling the same products to the same people, you’re in a rut. The business world is changing quickly, and you need to adapt. Trade show marketing is unique for each show, because there’s a change of exhibitors, attendees—and most important—your reason for attending. Q. Why does everybody involved in the show need training? A. Trade shows are a company-wide marketing event, not a trip for the sales staff. Statistics show that 80 percent of leads are not followed up after a show. When more people are responsible for a show’s success—from the executive office to the loading dock, from the telemarketing staff to the out-of-town reps— your odds are greater for making sales and keeping customers. Q. We have had sessions on how to sell and follow up. What’s so different about trade shows? A. The time is compressed, the expectations are high, and you’re constantly on stage meeting strangers. The more you know about this unique marketing opportunity, the more comfortable and successful you will be. Q. We’re just going to a show to walk the aisles. Why do we need training? A. What are you looking for? Do you know trade shows are the best source of market intelligence about your industry? Training can help you be more aware of your surroundings, focus on your targets, and be open to new opportunities. Q. Can we substitute training for a new display? A. Sorry, no. A sad-looking display is a reflection on how important you think your company is. Training can make you more effective, but it can’t overcome a neglected image. Conversely, a new and expensive exhibit cannot overcome the image projected by an inexperienced staff, pushy salespeople, a lack of purpose, or an I-don’t-care attitude. Don’t put all your exhibit money into the exhibit. A sharp exhibit is important to get people to your space, but it’s people who make the contact—and the contract. FEBRUARY 2008 SUCCESSFUL MEETINGS > Pre-Event 36

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Successful Meetings - February 2008

Successful Meetings - February 2008
Editor's Note
Trade Shows
On the Record
Planner's Spotlight
Websites of the Month
Technology Talk
Personal Success
Food & Beverage
On Site
Tools of the Trade
The Rainbow Connection
The CVB in Your Backyard
Welcome to the Webolution
The Rail Deal
Spas with a Sense of Place
Places & Spaces
Mystic, CT.
Hong Kong
Florida’s East Coast
Atlantic City
Maui, Kauai, & Lanai

Successful Meetings - February 2008