Meeting planners often feel overwhelmed because they frequently face a steady stream of challenging tasks that must be successfully accomplished in a brief period of time.
There are no easy solutions to addressing the situation, but here are some helpful tips to address three main challenges, adapted from eventinterface.com.
A Sellers’ Market: The demand for meeting space keeps increasing, and hotel inventory can’t keep up with it, creating a sellers’ market. Most hotels now welcome only groups with the highest profit potential, which means 75 percent are unable to book. It’s important for meeting planners to realize the reality of the situation, and adapt.
Planners need to convince hotels that they are worthwhile clients by being flexible about dates and arrangements, as well as by offering additional revenue opportunities for the hotel before, during and after the meeting.
Unrealistic and ever-changing expectations: The staging of meetings and events rarely is a smooth, uncomplicated process. Planners can get frustrated by unrealistic, fluctuating requests—and sometimes, even demands—of clients. In many cases, this has little to do with clients being inconsiderate and rude: Rather, it has more to do with them not understanding the situation.
The first necessary step is for a planner to understand the event’s history and help create the RFP. Then, the planner needs to convey to the client what is and isn’t possible, given the facility’s capabilities and the client’s budget.
Data Accuracy: Attendees typically are asked to supply a fair amount of information when registering for a meeting or an event. Sometimes, they misspell names and titles for their name badge, and submit choices for meals and activities that they later want to change. It takes precious staff time to resolve these matters, so planners need to find ways to effectively address the situation.
In one instance, a planner informed attendees in advance the consequences of providing erroneous information. Attendees were told that they could review their registration information until 72 hours before the event. If misspellings were submitted on badges, attendees need an additional full registration fee. If incorrect airport information was provided, they were responsible for paying any additional transportation fees. As a result, attendee errors dropped from 15 percent to just a handful, freeing up staff time for other matters. This specific approach might be too severe for some planners—after all, attendees are guests at meetings and events—but a modified version could also be effective.
Of course, staff members make mistakes in the registration process, too. Sometimes, more diligent training and oversight can help to rectify the situation.