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?

Four Things To Help You Get The Most From Attending A Conference

Over the course of my lengthy hospitality career, I have attended and/or exhibited at more conferences than I can remember. Whether they were big or small, long or short, intense or relaxed, they all pretty much had one thing in common. A group of people, with common interests, coming together in one place to learn and to network.

Thinking back over all of the conferences I’ve attended got me thinking. Why were some better than others? Why did some seem to fly by, while others felt like I was on that proverbial slow boat to China? Certainly the quality of the speakers and program had something to do with it, but it’s really more than that. I’ve learned the hard way that getting the most out of a conference is really more up to me than anything else. The more I put into the conference or trade show, the more I get out of it.

With that in mind, here are four things you can do to help you get the most out of the next conference you attend.

  • Have an objective. Why are you attending the event? Is it to learn new methods? To get new business leads? To make a certain number of new contacts? To relax and work on your golf game? Whatever it may be, make sure your objective is clear in your head before you go. This will help you to focus on the real reason you’re there. Otherwise it can be way too easy to get distracted by the busyness of the conference. Before you know it, it’s over and you feel like you’ve just wasted a few days of your life.
  • Intentionally and consistently talk to strangers. For some people this is very easy, for others it’s pure torture, but it’s critical if you want to get the most out of the conference. I find I usually learn as much, or more, from the individuals I meet as from the general sessions and breakouts.
  • Arrive early, stay late and be outgoing at any and all networking opportunities. This one is especially important if you are an exhibitor at the conference. This is your opportunity to meet potential clients away from the “sales” atmosphere of a traditional trade show booth. People are usually more open and willing to talk when in a casual, social environment. When meeting new people, try to make it more than exchanging a business card. Take the time to qualify the potential value you each could bring to the other’s network.
  • Stay in touch. After returning from the conference, be sure to stay in contact with the people you met and want to add to your network. To develop a good network you must invest time in building the relationship. Whether it be through Facebook, Twitter, email or phone, take the time to get to know each other. Remember, the great thing about building a solid network is that you not only benefit from the knowledge and experience of that person, but also of those they are connected to.

What about you? What do you do to get the most from attending a conference or convention?