If as you’re reading through my Core Competency Must-have posts and there seems to be a resounding emphasis (or theme) centered on words or phrases such as: “goals and objectives”; “meeting purpose”; “intended audience”; “expected outcomes”; and “messaging”, there’s good reason and you’ve read me right.
Developing a relevant meeting requires a complete understanding of these and other elements and how they play to the success of any meeting or event – along with the good, rock solid, talents and expertise of the Design/Planning Team to properly execute the PLAN.
A comprehensive and well-thought-out marketing strategy must raise awareness, generate interest and help drive registration (especially, if your meetings are externally driven). Corporate meetings are different in that their focus is mainly internally driven and attendance is quite normally mandatory.)
Your overall methods of communication and the vehicles you use to get your message out (social media, video, print, online registration, etc. or any combination thereof) to meeting participants is paramount to getting them to understand what the meeting is all about; the benefits to them for attending; securing in some cases, their buy-in, and how and by when they need to go about making their travel plans. In the case of eternal participants, how, when and what you communicate may mean the difference between attending or not attending, making revenue projections or not.
Communication should be clear, concise and timely throughout the planning process. All marketing materials should carry the same tag line/headline/graphics throughout to keep the theme/brand/objectives foremost in everyone’s mind.
Clear, concise and timely communication before a meeting will help alleviate questions or concerns participants have on logistics, meeting flow and expectations. Follow-up communication prior to departure confirming final details (hotel confirmation, airport transfers, anticipated weather, proper attire, check-in and check-out times, etc.) and what to expect on arrival will enhance their travel confidence and set the stage for a successful experience as they arrive and throughout the meeting or event.
Having a well thought out Communication Plan in place in the event of medical or other emergencies is paramount to the health and safety of all concerned and is separate to the Communication/Marketing Plan discussed above and requires a great deal of pre-work and due diligence of internal and external sources.
It is imperative you have both a Crisis Management Plan and a Medical Risk Management Plan in place BEFORE a meeting starts and that everyone on your team is aware of the proper protocols that will need to be followed per each possibility should an unplanned disturbance (weather, disease outbreak, fire, active shooter, for instance) present itself, such as: who notifies who of a situation; how will it be communicated to guests; where does the team position itself during evacuations, who gives the “all clear” to return back to business, and so forth.
You’ll find information on questions to ask your hoteliers on emergency protocols from both a Crisis Management and Medical Risk Management perspective in my book that should give you a good starting point of some of what to look for, but I encourage you seek the help of experts as you draw up your specific plans moving forward. There’s too much at stake to not do this.
I encourage you to check out my book, "The Meeting Planning Process: A Guide to Planning Successful Meetings" to learn in more detail my thoughts on communication and marketing and the overall planning process.