5 Thoughts On The Growth Of Meeting Planners

A recent article on salary.com, listed Meeting/Event Planner as one of the top 5 fastest growing jobs in America. Matter of fact, it’s number 4 on the list behind Physical Therapy Assistant, Biomedical Engineer and Home Care Aide.

That got me thinking “what is behind this growth?” Here are 5 aspects that that I thought might be behind people becoming Meeting/Event Planners.

  1. Social aspect. If you’re like me, you’re very outgoing. This leads you to want to host events, get to know others and connect them to things you think they might enjoy.
  2. Ministry aspect. Since you’re reading this blog and its focus is on Christian events, the ministry aspect is probably a huge factor in your decision to be a meeting/event planner. God has gifted you with the talent to be an organizer, and you’re using that gift to be a meeting/event planner. As Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians this is your part of being the body of Christ.
  3. Servant aspect. This goes hand and hand with ministry, but I believe it involves a higher calling.  These are the types of people that want to be behind the scenes.  They don’t care if their name is called or not, they’ll be there to do the planning.
  4. Popular aspect. We seen a lot of growth in Pinterest. Watching these boards has given you several ideas to plan a meeting or event, and you’ve decided to give planning a try.
  5. Startup aspects. The startup costs to being a meeting/event planner are small. If you got a good laptop and smartphone, you’re ready to go. Some businesses require you to have a store front (rent) or inventory (cash flow). Those might be areas you get into down the road, but there not necessary to get your business up and running. The costs to start websites has decreased as well with the emergence of WordPress and similar platforms.

What do you think has lead to this growth?

Meeting Planner Survival Kit

My son has been learning a lot of lessons lately about being prepared.  His teachers at school, his coaches at soccer and his leader at scouts all saying the same thing…be prepared. It got me thinking how much being prepared applies to Meeting Planners as well.

Many planners need to be prepared to address last minute needs and emergencies.   These can vary depending on the event so be sure to think ahead about your specific event and what last minute needs and emergencies might arise.  Here is a starter list of items you need to have in your meeting planner survival kit to be prepared at your next event.

  • Smartphone – You need to be accessible and be able to access others at a moments notice.
  • Phone Charger – No battery can last as long as your meetings can.
  • Mints
  • Pens – They always disappear and someone will need to borrow one.
  • Band-aids
  • Flash Drive with all conference documents – Just in case.
  • Tide to Go Stick or Shout Wipes – You won’t always have time to change and you just can’t walk around with a stain.
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Wet Wipes
  • Kleenex
  • Granola Bars – You may not get a chance to eat lunch
  • Water – You need to stay well hydrated
  • Comfortable Shoes – This is something that I know a lot about, shoes are one of my favorite things.  I always keep a pair of heels (comfortable ones like Sofft* or Soft Walk**) for when I am in front of people and a pair of flats (Walking Cradles*** or Taryn Rose****) for walking around.  If you haven’t shopped these brands, Zappos has a great selection and usually you can find them on sale with free shipping and no sales tax.  They really are extremely comfortable when you are on your feet all day.

What about you, is there something I missed in your survival kit?  Please let us know.

*Sofft – Has a great arch support.
**Soft Walk – Has an eggs shell type foot bed for great cushioning
***Walking Cradles – Has an arch support and heel cushioning
****Taryn Rose – Has a temperpedic foot bed for extra support and cushion

7 Questions To Ask Your Event Coordinator

Every group that brings a meeting, conference or retreat to Glorieta or Ridgecrest is assigned an event coordinator from our staff. The same is true for pretty much any other meeting venue as well. This person’s responsibility is to work closely with the group leader or meeting planner to ensure the best possible experience for their group.

If you’re the group leader or meeting planner, please be sure to take full advantage of all your meeting coordinator has to offer. This individual is typically someone who works with dozens, if not hundreds, of groups each year and can be a great source of knowledge and information for you. It would be major mistake not to take advantage of that experience. After all, that’s why they’re there!

With that in mind, here are 7 questions you definitely want to ask your event coordinator during the planning process:

  • How long does it take to get from one location to another on campus? – Depending on the size of the facility you’re using, this could be a significant time factor. When planning out your schedule, be sure to allow time for participants to get from location to another.
  • Where do my people go upon arrival on campus? – Telling your folks where to go once they arrive will help to eliminate a good deal of potential confusion and frustration.
  • What is there to do for free time activities, both on campus and in the surrounding area? Excellent info to share with attendees before they leave for the meeting/retreat. Allows them to plan and pack accordingly.
  • What other groups will be on campus the same time as us? – Not that you would have any say, but just knowing can help head off any potential issues before they happen.
  • What do we do in case of emergency? – At Ridgecrest and Glorieta we want people to contact us so that we know where to direct emergency personnel when they arrive on campus.
  • Can we bring in our own food for snacks/meals? – Most hotels/conference centers will not allow you to bring in your own food. If this is something you’d like to do, it never hurts to ask.
  • Can we reserve a section in the dining room for our group? – If you’re the only group on campus this is not really an issue. However, if yours is one of several groups, this is definitely something to ask about.

What about you? What are some other questions you’ve learned to ask ahead of time?

5 Tips For Planning A Golf Retreat

I recently read a good post for planning a golf retreat from a friend, Scott Lehman. Scott is the founder and president of In His Grip Golf and we have partnered with Scott on several Pastors Masters golf events at Ridgecrest and Glorieta. In fact, if you’re going to be attending the Southern Baptist Convention in Orlando this June, be sure to stop by our booth as Scott will be there giving a series of putting lessons.

Anyway, if you’re considering planning a golf retreat, here are some great tips from a golf pro!

I have been playing this great game of golf for over 40 years and have been on my share of golf retreats.  In fact, I am just returning from our In His Grip Golf Retreat that I hosted at Limestone Springs in Oneonta, AL.  A great course with a golf cottage on site.   Experience has revealed a few “best practices” and I would love to share them with you.

1.  Define your Purpose: You may want to talk to your guys first to see what would be their ultimate golf retreat experience.  I am starting to learn that guys want to play A LOT of golf, BUT, they also want some DOWN TIME.   We always try to use our In His Grip retreats to have a message in the evening or make it available for certain prayer requests.  This past weekend we spent time praying over our Senior Pastor who is battling cancer.

2.  Date and Location: Most of the golf retreats I have been on are either in the spring or in the fall.  When booking your date and location remember to stay away from course maintenance weeks and you may want to consider daylight savings time.

3.  Determine Your Budget: Hey, we are in challenging economic times and that means that our personal budgets are more sensitive than ever.  Searching the Internet for deals is still a great resource and most golf facilities need the business so don’t be afraid to ASK.

4.  Define your Formats Upfront: I like to send out the formats and teams ahead of time.  I also like to switch it up.  For example, we started out with a two-man scramble, then we had a two-man best ball and finished with a four-man scramble.  It’s a great way to build new relationships and allows for all playing ability levels to have a good time.

5.  Caravan to Build Camaraderie: We always try to have a central meeting point, like our church, and then load up the vehicles so we don’t have anyone driving solo.  It is amazing how many memories are also on the ride to or from the course.

I hope one or two of these keys will help make your next golf retreat experience more memorable.  You may even want to consider a survey from the guys to get their input.  Let me know what some of  your golf retreat experiences have been and what is your favorite golf retreat location and why?

I hope to see you on the course.  Scott