How to Choose A Meeting And Event Planner
You probably have sales people calling you with solicitation to “help you!?” How do you know who is the best fit and can they really help you with your meeting and event planning needs? Do you just need to find a hotel or do you need help with managing the logistical details as well? These include setting up a website to promote the meeting and capture the registration, creating a budget, adhering to a budget, managing the vendors as well as the daily changes?
The Three Rules For Choosing A Professional Meeting and Event Planner
When choosing a professional planner, three rules come to mind:
Look For An Experienced Meeting and Event Planner
How much experience does the planner have in terms of years as well as variety of projects and locations? We have encountered numerous “planners” who have managed all the details of their wedding so they consider themselves a pro. Come on… A good meeting planning company has staged various sized events, with different clientele in many different locations. Can you picture your top clients showing up for a meeting overseas and the planner has no experience working with other languages, currencies or customs!? Prior to and during the event phase, there are many twists, turns and changes. A real pro knows how to handle these with grace and stamina while managing the budget and players involved. If your meeting is industry specific, it is also a good idea to ask if the planner has experience with your industry. When we started planning pharmaceutical meetings, there was a huge difference from other meetings involving numerous breakouts and government specifications. We immediately learned the patterns and needs and we will often train the hotel meeting staffs on how to handle these groups.
Talk To Your Meeting Planner References
Referrals are a key component in the decision process. When you talk to the clients of a particular meeting planner, do they rave about the company or hesitate to answer when you ask? Besides clients, check their reputation with the vendors. Are they fair, timely and clearly communicate your needs? At Corporate Global Events, we have built a solid reputation so our customers and vendors speak for us. Taking the time to discuss how the planner is able to manage the details, budget and everyone involved (including various personalities,) will give you a good insight. You can ask for referrals as well as check their professional online presence which usually has written referrals from clients and vendors.
Consider The Meeting Planner’s Personality
Meet with the planner in person or on the phone to see how you interact. A lot of time is spent back and forth gathering and sharing information. Your personalities and expectations should be inline. Discussions about budget, timelines, responsibilities, and response times should be outlined. If the planner has several other projects going on and your needs are immediate, it may not be a good fit. If you need a response right away at all hours of the day (because that is what your boss expects), that should be discussed. The planner may only work 9am-5pm so that would be tough and hinder your ability to perform. Find out what the planner’s specialties are as well. If they love parties but not meetings (which require a lot of detail), then they may not be a good fit for your event.
The Meeting Planner Can Be Your Partner In Planning
Looking at the future with the planner as your partner is also very helpful. First time meetings and events require a little extra time as you are both getting to know each other and the various expectations and personalities. It is our goal at CGE to foster a long term relationship with our clients so we know what our clients need and like often before they do. Having a professional helping you to plan your event is essential to the success of your meeting. Hours of time are saved because we have the profiles, likes and dislikes of our clients and can target exactly what they need. Planners like to build long term relationships with their clients to really become an extension of your team.
Questions to ask when hiring a potential planner
How long have you been in the business
What types of meetings and events have you managed
What types of clients do you work with
Where have the events taken place (domestic or international)
How do you charge for your work?