International Business Meeting Planning: 101

IMG_8028

While there are many challenges when planning any meeting or event, there is something particularly unique and intricate when it comes to planning international business travel.  From difficulties involving language barriers to changes in time zones and let’s not forget the cultural/business differences — there is much to be done. Here are a few tips to help make your international business trip planning a little less complicated:

Prepared and prepaid:
International business travelers will tell you that some of their best and least stressful experiences abroad have occurred because they did not have to sweat the small stuff.  Having prepaid transportation (car service and airfare) and lodging allows guests to focus solely on the business aspect of their trip.

Host/Translator:
It is important to assign a host to guest during their stay. The host can act as the main point of contact. Doing so will make it easier for guests to meet as well as have an accessible means to communicate with all parties. As a meeting/event planner you know first hand how hard it is to try contact and find people you have never met before.
Language barriers may or may not be a concern depending on the travel destination. In any case, it would be most beneficial if the host details the business culture and customs of the location to the guest.

Agenda:
Be sure to have an agenda provided to guests before  or upon arrival. Should the schedule change, the host should alert guests and find new times to meet.

Food:
For many travelers, it will be there first time in that specific location. It would be helpful if the meeting venue provides meals including breakfast and lunch and the host can provide a diverse list of restaurant options where the guest can enjoy dinner.

 

Thanks for reading!!

Sherry Romello

Holiday Event Planning Tips

new years party

 

 

We’ve all heard the phrase, “behind every successful holiday event is a dedicated event planner” before, right? Okay, maybe you haven’t heard it, nonetheless, it still rings true. Planning an engaging and memorable holiday event is no easy task. However, if the planning is done properly the results will prove to be rewarding.  

Holiday events provide companies the opportunity to express gratitude to employees for their hard-work, support, and accomplishments over the past year. On top of that, it’s a great way for for everyone in the organization to get to know each other better and form a sense of community. The overall contributions holiday events have on employee morale are innumerable.

Here are a few tips on how to organize a holiday event:

Establish budget

Your budget plays a significant role in planning any event. It determines how much money is allocated to the venue, cost of food and drinks, decor, and much more.

Save the date

Remember, the date you select must correspond with the availability of your chosen venue.  The final decision on a date should also be adjusted according to the company holiday schedule. You want to ensure you get the best possible guest attendance.

Theme

A theme is not a necessity, however, unforgettable events most often than not possess a unique and consistent theme. Using a theme can assist with designing your invitations decorations, drink ideas, and even food.

Menu

It is always best to offer a menu that all guests can enjoy. Food is one of the key factors of a successful event. If the menuchoices are pooror not diverse enough, this could lead to disaster. Try to refrainfrom serving heavy meals. Instead, stick with foodsguests can easily pick up and travel around the venue with.

Support

We get so caught up in planning our events that we often neglect how we’re going to support the event once it begins. Help relieve some of the “during event” stress and run around by ensuring there will be an adequate amount of support staff. Support staff can handle any number of functions including valet, serving food, coat check, and bartending. Be sure to inquire whether or not the venue will provide  you with support staff before booking.

 

A Brief Q & A with Sherry Romello, a Professional in the Hospitality Industry

Sherry Romello is the Senior Director of Hilton Meetings and Product Management.  With roughly 20 years of experience in the event and meeting planning industry, Romello was at the forefront of the inception of the birth of the industry.  Romello offers some insight on her career to date in a brief Q and A.

You mention the industry of career event planning did not really exist coming out of college and that you kind of fell into it, was there a defining moment in life where you thought this could be something special and something I could do for a career?

In my various administrative roles early-on, I planned a lot of holiday parties and picnics and really discovered I loved to plan things and create events. It wasn’t until the early 90’s when I took my first association job that I got the bug for meeting planner and saw that it could become a career path for me. I was the Administrative Assistant for the President of the American Waterways Operators and was promoted to the Event Planning and Membership Coordinator. As far as a defining moment, that probably occurred in my next job at the National Association of Chemical Distributors. I didn’t know if I had what it took to actually get hired as a meeting planner vs. being an administrative assistant that planned meetings, but this job was my first step down the career path.

What was the process to getting your CMP certification?

The Certified Meeting Professional designation that is administered by the Convention Industry Council. I think the guidelines have evolved since I received by designation back in 2002, but when I applied, you had to apply and have a certain number of points that were earned by experience, memberships, publications to even be eligible to sit for the exam, then you had to take an exam that was a 2 hour exam with an extensive list of questions regarding different aspects of the industry – food & beverage, audio visual, contracts, international meetings – to test your knowledge.

Check back soon for more with Sherry Romello or check out her homepage at sherryromello.com.