Top 10 Posts – 3rd Quarter 2012

Fall is here and I for one can’t wait for the changing leaves and cooler temperatures.   This means the 3rd quarter is behind us and it’s time to share our 10 most read posts over the past 3 months. Hopefully this will help you find a great post you might have missed…

  1. What’s A Hollow Square – As in any industry, hotels and conference centers sometimes have a language all their own. Here’s a little help in translating…
  2. Ridgecrest Recipe:  Rutland Chicken – Have you been looking for something new to do with chicken?  Enjoy and then let us know what you think!
  3. 5 Things To Do AFTER Your Meeting Is Over – Everyone has gone home and you want to relax but here are a few things that still need to be done and will definitely help you in planning future meetings and/or retreats.
  4. 8 Ideas For Promoting Your Church Retreat –  If you don’t also spend time on strategically promoting your retreat, you may end up with a great retreat that no one attends. With that in mind, here are 8 ideas for helping to promote your upcoming church retreat.
  5. 3 Steps To More Productive Brainstorming – Brainstorming with your planning team is a great way to ensure you provide an event your attendees will find engaging and worthwhile.  Here are 3 steps to take that will go a long way to making your next session more productive.
  6. 3 Tips To Creating An Unforgettable Event – Here are 3 tips on how to turn your event into an unforgettable experience.
  7. Creating A Standout Womens Retreat – A podcast interview with Chris Adams and Betsy Langmade, 2 of LifeWay’s long-time women’s leaders sharing what they’ve learned about planning women’s events.
  8. 5 Tips For Programming Effective Youth Camps – Brian Mills serves as student pastor Long Hollow Baptist Church and is passionate about reaching young people for Christ. Here are his thoughts on how to program your youth camp for maximum spiritual impact.
  9. 7 Tips For Getting The Most From A Site Visit – Once you decide to make a site visit, here are 7 tips to help you maximize your time.
  10. Meeting Planner Survival Kit – Many planners need to be prepared to address last minute needs and emergencies. Here is a starter list of items you need to have in your meeting planner survival kit to be prepared at your next event.

Which post have you found most helpful?

 

Are You Considering The 3 “What’s” When Planning Your Event?

Hopefully you read our last blog about planning a great event, entitled, “Are You Considering The 3 “Who’s” When Planning Your Event?” If you didn’t, I suggest you do that ASAP here.

Now, we’re going to focus on the 3 “what’s” of planning. They are:

  • What is the conference going to be about? Obviously, when you’re thinking of who is speaking and who you’re inviting, you’re simultaneously thinking about what the speakers will be talking about. Having some sort of continuity is important at an event, and having the exact idea in your mind at all times will help you stay on target. You won’t know how to advertise or, well, plan the whole event if you don’t know what it’s going to be about!
  • What kind of “vibe” do you want to create? Knowing the overall “feel” or “vibe” of the event will help things run smoothly. For example, if you’re having a serious event, then party balloons, juice boxes, and a cake with sprinkles might not be the best ideas, right? You want this event to be memorable, and you want the attendees to have fun and learn something, so plan accordingly!
  • What important aspects might I be forgetting? Is your event going to have lectures, speaker panels, group work, and/or workshops? Is half of the event outside, with team-building strategies and networking built into the schedule? Will the conference center provide food, or do you need to get the event catered? How many days and how many hours per day are you going to have meetings? Are there enough snacks? Is each presenter going to have a PowerPoint presentation and need a microphone? Is there going to be a dress code? Are you going to allow laptops in the conference room for note taking purposes? Seriously, are there enough snacks? This list may seem overwhelming, and none of these are actually “what” questions, but these are just a few of the vital questions you should ask yourself when you’re thinking, “What?”

Once you know exactly what the conference is about, who is speaking and attending (which we talked about last week), what topics will be covered, what kind of “vibe” you’re aiming for, and the “little” things like if you’re providing notebooks for attendees or not, you’ll be even closer to having a great event!

Can you think of other “what” questions I may be missing?

7 Post Event Tips

I read a great article by Ashely Muntan, in the Rejuvenate Magazine this week titled “The Post-Event Syndrome”, you can read the full article here.  I have just finished several events at Ridgecrest Conference Center so I found the following items particularly helpful in getting back to the office and getting back to business as usual.  I hope you will find these helpful as you are getting back from your events too.

1. Anticipate re-entry. A roller coaster feeling is inevitable in the event industry and post-program blues can be avoided with proactive disciplines. Mentally prepare yourself for your return, prioritize your to-do list and do not force yourself to tackle all of it in one day. Pace yourself back into a normal routine.

2. Look to your friends and family to facilitate the transition back to daily life. Often family and friends are neglected when planner schedules get busy, and it is important to devote some time to them upon a large event’s completion.

3. Don’t forget: It’s OK to feel excited and pleased with an event’s success. Take the time to reward yourself for a job well done. You have worked long hours pre-event and on-site, and it’s important to give yourself some attention to stay healthy.  Indulge in a relaxing activity, whether that’s an afternoon at the spa or movie theater or going on a long bike ride.

4. Manage the re-entry. Pre-blocking your schedule prior to your departure and managing your time post-event will allow you to find balance and tackle the to-do list at a normal pace.

5. Look forward to going through re-entry again. Managing re-entry and accepting that it’s not easy to get back into a more normal, slower routine can be difficult, but with the right self-discipline, it can be done. Think of re-entry as a reward, not a burden, for your hard work and great event success.

6.  Clean out your email inbox.  Chances are you let emails pile up in the weeks leading up to the event, only responding to the most crucial and time-sensitive messages.

7.  Send thank-you notes.  Since we don’t do it alone, hand-written notes to everyone on your team are necessary and greatly appreciated.

What other tips do you have for getting back into the swing of things?

Are You Considering The 3 "Who's" When Planning Your Event?

Whether it’s your first time to plan an event, or you’ve been event planning for many years, there are 5 W’s that need to be well defined in order to put together a quality event. The 5 W’s to be defined are Who, What, Where, When and Why and it’s critical to address all of them during your planning process. Shortchanging even one can leave you with an event that is less than what it could have been. Over the next several weeks we are going to address each one of these W’s individually and hopefully provide you with a very helpful roadmap to use when planning any future event.

The first W we’ll cover is Who. When it comes to the Who, here are the 3 Who’s you need to consider when planning:

  • Who will be attending? Answering this question really sets the stage for everything else when it comes to planning an event. Many times it may seem like a no-brainer. After all, it’s a women’s retreat Byron. Who do you think’s going to attend? True enough, but don’t stop there. Give serious thought to exactly which women will be there. Single women, single mom’s, mom’s with young children, empty nesters…women from all these groups could be attending and they all have different needs. Going deeper on exactly who will be attending makes it easier to plan everything else.
  • Who will be speaking? Once you know who your audience will be, you can then focus on who will be speaking and/or teaching at your event. It could be multiple professional speakers teaching your attendees about a certain topic… maybe a youth retreat with a main speaker, worship band and a bunch of volunteers teaching the Bible studies…or anywhere in between. A key item to also consider when answering this “who” is cost. Selecting a “famous name” speaker could help boost attendance, but it can also drive up your cost and make it more difficult to not lose money on your event.
  • Who will be working/volunteering? The final “who” to consider is who will be working at the event? When it comes to event workers/volunteers, all I want to say is do not understaff! Much better to have too many workers or volunteers than realize you need four more hands the first day of the conference. Think about all the tasks that need to happen. Tasks such as taking up tickets, helping the speakers, coordinating food, passing out programs and maybe even be a liaison with the host facility. Save yourself a lot of stress during the event and make sure you have enough help.

Any other “who’s” you consider when planning your events?

What's New In Hotel Trends?

As with most industries today, the hotel industry is undergoing constant change. These changes are driven primarily by two factors, an ever increasing need to lower costs/increase effeciency and evolving guest preferences. As a result of these factors, here are 5 new hotel trends I see emerging over the next couple of years:

  • Bathroom – More and more hotels are doing away with tubs and instead creating walk-in showers. An aging population, combined with the fact fewer and fewer people actually use the tub to take a bath, are driving this trend.
  • Workspace – The key here is creating more flexibility. As tablets and smartphones are becoming more the norm, hotels are utilizing smaller desks. Some, such as Hampton Inn, are even placing trays in the room. This allows the guest to choose where and how they want to work in their room.
  • Bedding – Let’s face it, the primary reason people rent a hotel room is to have a place to sleep. It only makes sense for hotels to try and make a great impression with the bedding in their rooms. Now that all the major chains have raised the bar with the quality of their beds and pillows, their next focus is on the bedding itself. The new trend is to go with all white as a symbol of clean. They’re also looking for new fabrics that are more hygenic and stain-repellant.
  • Lighting – Again, with an aging population, there is a trend emerging of more and better lighting access. This makes it easier for older guests to read. I recently stayed in a Marriott where there was a small reading light installed on the headboard, opposite the traditional lights between the beds. Very convenient!
  • Electrical outlets – Gone are the days when you had to move the bed or nightstand in order to charge your cell phone. Hotels are recognizing the typical guest may have 2 or more devices that need to be charged overnight. This has created a need for easier access to more electrical outlets.

Have you noticed any of these trends in your recent travels? What other new hotel trends you’re seeing?