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Little details lead to meeting excellence

February 9, 2017

Meeting planners are adept at the overall planning and logistics that go into group meetings and events. From securing rooms, to ordering F&B, to scheduling speakers, there is a tremendous amount of time, effort and resources to make a meeting come together.  When you’re a pro, you don’t overlook the major components. But what about those little details that lead to meeting excellence? The ones that may slip through the cracks when you’re dealing with last minute changes and requests. To help ease the planning process and get that, “Wow, that was fantastic” reaction from your next group meeting, we’ve complied the following five tips:

5 details for meeting excellence

1.) Set the tone

Staff members set the tone for an event. First impressions do matter, and when it comes to events there are no exceptions. Guests can easily sense the tension when there are last minute hiccups or an unprepared staff.  Taking the time to walk through the event theme, objectives and expectations with staff can lead to an exceptional experience, even if something does go awry. More than a creative theme or extraordinary meal, people will remember how they were treated.  A friendly smile, eye contact, or a simple handshake can be a game changer. People are often watching, even when you least expect it. Make certain your staff knows how to fill the ‘white space’, that in-between time, when everyone is seated inside and nothing seems to be happening – guests will notice an inattentive staff much quicker than an attentive staff.

2.) Stick to the agenda

Create a user-friendly experience. Going through a couple of A/V test runs is crucial. Plan on having your key presenters arrive early for dry run throughs. They’ll want to feel comfortable whether reading a prompter or clicking through slides. Avoid having stand-ins; you may have seen the Mariah Carey fiasco New Year’s Eve when she had a stand-in handle her sound check. Not that your event will be playing to millions of people but, having time on the stage prior to going live can help a presenter make quick adjustments and roll with the issues should any arise. In addition to rehearsals, event flow and schedule should be well planned with both internal and external staff, (hotel, A/V partners) well in advance. Abiding by the schedule will help the event run smoothly and ensure an enjoyable attendee experience.

3.) Flow with purpose

Pay attention to event flow.  Hosting back-to-back meetings on opposite sides of the hotel or planning 10-minute breaks when the closest restrooms are three corridors away will disrupt your entire schedule. Consider how attendees will naturally move in between sessions and during events. A purposeful layout will have a beneficial and significant impact on your event.

4.) Appeal to the senses

Delivering a vibrant participant experience to a meeting or event is one of those details that can mean the difference between good and over-the-top great! One of the most effective ways is to achieve this is by appealing to the senses.  Consider all the elements that go into the planning process and how these can appeal to the senses to encourage greater engagement:

➢ Invitations

➢ Décor

➢ Food and Beverage

➢ A/V

➢ Entertainment

Next think about how each sense can be incorporated into the meeting experience.

Taste: Choosing food and beverage that draws from either the destination or the meeting theme will incorporate the vibe of an area.

Hearing: Relying on either the natural sounds of the environment, (think ocean waves crashing on the beach, or the relaxing coo of doves) or choosing entertainment indicative of the destination engages our sense of hearing.

Touch: Using a variety of textures in décor elements such as rustic wood farm tables or elegant satin linens appeal to our sense of touch and help create the ambiance of an event.

Sight: The type of lighting used will naturally affect the sense of sight. Bright lighting creates a high-energy vibe; subtle lighting evokes a calm, relaxed mood, while colorful lighting is indicative of upbeat fun!

Smell: Perhaps the sense that carries the most impact is that of smell. Just think about how a certain scent can flood your mind with memories. Hotels know the power of appealing to our sense of smell. Most resorts infuse their lobbies with various aromas to inspire our moods.  Scientists and health experts have determined that certain scents strengthen memory and attention, aid in relaxation and even increase appetites. Incorporating scent into meetings and events can be the perfect way to please the senses, capture the destination’s ambiance, and boost attendee experience.

5.) Power up

A nice amenity to include in welcome packets is a map that identifies outlets and charging stations, along with the wireless access details.  If your venue doesn’t have easily accessible outlets, considering bringing in charging stations.  These designated stations can also be a great investment for potential sponsors. Or, perhaps you can take it up a notch by providing mobile chargers as a gift amenity.

Organization, support and details lead to meeting excellence

Creating an unforgettable experience for meeting attendees is no easy feat. It requires organization, patience, support, and all those little details that lead to meeting excellence. When you’re ready to begin planning your next group meeting, contact the Conference Sales Team at Visit Newport Beach, the destination marketing organization for Newport Beach, CA. Visit Newport Beach opens the doors to this coastal community with destination expertise, customized site visits, strong partnerships and resources that ease the planning process.

For more information on how you can leverage CVB partnerships for maximum benefit during the planning process, register for the upcoming webinar featuring the President and CEO of Visit Newport Beach, Inc. and the current Board Chair of DMAI, Gary Sherwin.

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Written by Visit Newport Beach Meetings

As a not-for-profit Destination Marketing Organization (DMO), Visit Newport Beach provides destination expertise, customized site visits, strong partnerships and resources tailored specifically to the needs of meeting planners and their clients.

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