Crucial Tips for Planning Successful Corporate Group Meetings
Summer is coming to an end and for most meeting planners that means the start of a new conference season! If you’re responsible for organizing a conference or corporate meeting, consider the following tips for planning a successful corporate group meeting:
According to Issa Jouaneh, Senior Vice President and General Manager for American Express Meetings & Events, the improving economy means more meetings, which means less negotiating power. Hotels are expected to have the upper hand. In fact, the Global Travel Price Outlook, notes that room “demand continues to grow at up to quadruple the rate of supply.” While corporate meetings typically have a shorter booking window than association and incentive meetings, more room demand and less lead time kill negotiating power. Cindy Fisher, Vice President of Carlson Wagonlit Travel Meetings & Events recommends planners increase their lead time and be flexible in their ask. It’s important to identify locations and book your property well in advance in order to get the most out of your meeting budget.
Flexible Meeting Space
Ease and convenience top the list when it comes to meeting space. Think, rooms opening to patios, moveable ‘garden walls’ and furniture that can create private breakouts. Is there inclement weather back up close by? Are there any unique stand-alone features? Are there any characteristics that call upon the history of the destination? Options such as these speak volumes to meeting planners.
While there’s been a growing trend towards healthy menu alternatives, groups are now taking it up a few notches to gluten-free, organic and farm fresh. Despite this rise in health conscious fare, F&B price is still an overriding factor when choosing a meeting location. According to Destination Hotels’ “Fourth Annual State of the Meetings Industry” survey, food and beverage pricing was the third most important element in site selection. But, with healthy selections being much more expensive than traditional fare, how do you stay within budget? Jason Kordes of Jason’s Catered Events suggests opting for locally sourced items, plenty of fresh salads since they tend to be filling and portioning items closer to what will actually be eaten.
Although green meetings may not be a main concern when choosing a meeting location, selecting a green property can help lower the overall cost of your meeting. Consider these points: meeting space equipped with technology such as, large reader boards, built in screens or monitors, strong WiFi connections can reduce or possibly eliminate the need for printed materials. Properties and conference centers with water filling stations greatly reduce your bottom line and your carbon footprint. Hotels with either on-site gardens or in partnership with local farms can reduce the costs and pollutants inherent with transporting fresh fare.
In a world that is both social and mobile creating a personalized yet connected meeting experience can be a bit of a challenge but apparently quite necessary. According to a poll by Successful Meetings the “need to create a compelling meeting experience” for attendees was one of the most important trends to follow in order to create effective meetings. Delivering an impactful event experience, one that touches multiple senses, can lead to greater emotional connection. According to researchers at Yale University, all learning enters through the senses. When all five senses are touched at some level, our entire being becomes engaged, and from this complete part of ourselves, our emotions are heightened, thoughts fire more rapidly and creativity begins to flow. Meetings that deliberately touch all five senses: taste, hearing, touch, sight and smell have the ability to grasp attention, increase recall, and inspire conversation creating a truly memorable experience. Thus triggering greater brand recognition and loyalty, higher sales and client retention.
Need help taking your meetings to a higher level? Locating a destination that has all the offerings to deliver an impressive meeting experience is just half the process. The other half is finding the best fit for your group and determining the experiences that will create a memorable program. Who better to assist than your local DMO! Visit Newport Beach, the DMO for Newport Beach, CA opens the doors to this iconic destination with the knowledge and resources to simplify the planning process and help extend the meeting budget.