Planning an overseas meeting can be quite a daunting task as there are several unique challenges and many unknowns. But you can do it; Meeting Planners are pretty invincible! Here are some tips to help make the most of your international meeting planning.
International Inspection: You will definitely want to check out the location before signing on the dotted line. There are ways to narrow down your choices without leaving your office. For example, you can reach out to your fellow meeting planners to find out what countries and venues they would recommend for international meetings. You can also reach out to me! HelmsBriscoe is 1200 strong with associates and connected to 120,000 hotels worldwide. I would be happy to step some feet on the street for you in any country you are considering to help you narrow your options before booking a flight, as well as provide you with a crucial connection for a successful meeting.
Take in the Local: Educate yourself about the area and what it has to offer. Familiarize yourself about the local cuisine, the best sites to take in and what to do when and where in order give your attendees an authentic and memorable experience. Keep in mind that hours of operation vary, so be sure to know the schedules of the places you hope to check out and plan accordingly.
Know the Laws: Of course, you do not want to be in violation of a law, but you could do so without even knowing it. A few good websites to be aware of are Association of Corporate Counsel and The Department of Justice. If you have a corporate lawyer, this would be the ideal time to get them involved with your meeting.
Consider Connecting: Though email and phone continue to reign, make sure you consider a few face-to-face meetings via Skype, FaceTime or Google Hangouts. These are especially helpful if you do not have the budget to travel to the destination ahead of time.
Be Prepared: Take the time to prepare a meeting profile for your group. This would include demographic information, preferences, budget guidelines, a few years of past meetings history, sponsors and anything else that can paint a fuller picture of your attendees and expectations.
Negotiate Wisely: Just as in the USA, rates are flexible elsewhere. Be sure to find out if any discounts are available, and be upfront with your budget to make sure you are “speaking the same language.” Of course, if negotiation international is not your style, I know someone who can be most helpful. (Me, just sayin’).
May your international meeting be fantastico, impresionante, ehrfurchtig, impressionant, ontzagwekkend, mengagumkam, . . . . .
Thank you to CareerRealism for the image!