Sourcing a meeting is challenging enough. Planning international meetings takes on an entirely new set of challenges. Below are six tips to help you keep planning like a rock star—abroad!
Do Your Research
Every planner knows that a successful meeting or event begins with thorough research. But this is especially true for meetings abroad. Minor inconveniences can quickly become major when you’re overseas, unfamiliar with the customs, don’t speak the language, can’t catch a cab and, well, you get the point. Start by asking for recommendations from colleagues and go from there. Anything from potential properties, seasonality, local activities and transportation. Take a little extra time in this step and you’ll definitely set yourself up for success.
Adapt to Local Customs
Try to blend in with the locals. That means eat when they eat, work when they work. If they break for a mid-day snooze, you should give your attendees the same allowance. Adhering to the hosting country’s customary meal times, work schedule and even mirroring their social queues and itineraries is all part of creating a full and authentic experience for your group.
Stay up to Speed on Travel Restrictions
It’s especially important to stay up to date on the ever-changing travel forecast. Make sure you’re familiar with current passport laws, travel bans, flight allowances, etc. Also be sure to keep in mind how each of these ordinances will affect your attendees.
Coordinate with a DMO
When sourcing international meetings, a DMO can be your best friend. Since you’re likely unfamiliar with the area, a DMO can guide you and offer recommendations on hotel choices, transportation, which neighborhoods to consider and even which to avoid, local activities for your attendees, and offer continuous support for your long list of impending questions.
“Now You’e Speaking My Language”
As exciting as visiting a foreign country can be, language barriers can sometimes be a challenge. Hopefully someone on your team speaks the native language, but if not, there are ways to ensure communication. There are myriad translation apps available for both writing and speaking. And for those who are English speaking, you’ll enjoy the convenience of having many parts of the world and the majority of Europe, speak English right along with you.
Beware Jet Lag
All planners, even those who don’t plan internationally, experience jet lag. You don’t need to fly overseas or be stuck on a plane for 10 hours to feel it, however it’s safe to say that jet lag of international proportion is more mentally and physically draining. Be sure to take this into account when you’re planning your group’s itinerary. You’ll want to factor in a little extra down time when arriving and maybe sprinkle in a couple more mid-day breaks if you can afford it. Even consider your group’s schedule when arriving home. How many days will they have before returning to the office? What time will you arrive stateside?
And there it is. A few helpful tips to ensure your upcoming international meetings will be smooth sailing. Happy travels!