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Jill Stone

Your Meeting Matchmaker Fairy Godmother

Navigating Travel Delays: Tips for Meeting Managers

in: Travel and Hospitality

As meeting managers, one of our biggest challenges is to ensure that all participants arrive at our events smoothly and on time. However, with travel delays becoming increasingly common, navigating through these obstacles has become a crucial aspect of our roles. Whether it’s due to weather disruptions, transportation strikes, or unexpected incidents, these delays can cause frustration and potentially disrupt the entire schedule of our events. Let’s explore strategies and tips to help minimize travel delays and ensure a successful and stress-free event for all involved.

The Planner that Plans Ahead

The key to managing travel delays starts with early and meticulous planning. Begin by researching the most common causes of delays at the potential event locations. This could include weather patterns, peak travel times, or any ongoing transportation issues. Other items to explore are:

  • Is the airport a major hub, or will everyone need to book a connecting flight?
  • What are the numerous transportation options for attendees getting from the airport to the host venue.
  • Ask the venue if there are any other challenges to be aware of.

By knowing as much as possible in advance, contingency plans can be developed and communicated effectively to participants.

Dole Out the Details

Clear and comprehensive travel information is essential for participants to navigate potential delays effectively.

  • Provide detailed instructions on the best routes to the event venue, including alternative transportation options in case of disruptions.
  • Share information about local transportation services, such as shuttle buses or taxi companies, to help participants reach their destinations efficiently.

The Early Attendee Gets the Incentive

Encourage participants to arrive at the event destination a day earlier if possible.

  • This buffer time allows for any unexpected delays encountered during travel, ensuring that everyone arrives on time for the start of the event.
  • Keep in mind that the ability to work remotely makes it easier than ever for people to arrive early.
  • Consider offering incentives – discounted hotel rates, exclusive networking opportunities, additional swag – to motivate participants to adjust their travel schedules.

Harness the Power of Technology

Keep participants informed about travel updates in real-time.

  • Create a dedicated webpage or mobile app as a way to keep attendees up-to-date with travel information; flight statuses, traffic alerts, and alternative routes.
  • Consider implementing automated notifications via email or text message to alert participants of any changes or disruptions to their travel plans.

Seamless Communication Channels

Establish clear communication channels for participants to report travel delays and seek assistance.

  • Designate a dedicated contact person or team as the go-to for travel-related inquiries and to provide support as needed.
  • Ensure that contact information is readily available and easily accessible to all participants, including emergency contact numbers for immediate assistance.

Flex Your Meeting Muscles

Build flexibility into the event schedule to accommodate potential travel delays.

  • Avoid scheduling critical sessions or presentations during peak travel times when delays are more likely to occur.
  • Consider incorporating buffer periods between sessions to allow for adjustments in the event of unexpected delays.
  • Record key sessions or presentations for participants who may experience significant travel disruptions and are unable to attend in person.

Travel delays are an unavoidable reality for meeting managers, but with careful planning and proactive measures, we can minimize their impact on our events. By implementing the strategies outlined above, participants can navigate through travel disruptions more effectively. Remember, effective communication, flexibility, and preparedness are the keys to overcoming travel delays and delivering a seamless experience for all involved.

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