Behind every successful meeting is the perfect
preconvention meeting, better known as the precon.
There never is an excuse not to hold a precon. No meeting is too
small or unimportant to eliminate this gathering. Even events that
have been held for years at the same property with many of the same
players benefit from a precon, because an element or two always
The precon allows all the people who will be handling the meeting
to get to know each other and to go over the details
The precon should not take more than 40 minutes even for a long
event. Exceptions include preparing for times when something out of
your hands might disrupt the event, such as a monsoon.
Generally, the precon is held the night before the program
starts. For a complex and long meeting, hold two: one several
months out and one the night prior. Hold it when the most critical
personnel can attend.
A DO AND A DON’T
Do your homework. Bring all your documents, business
cards, and photos and bios of your VIPs to hand out.
Do not arrive late, disheveled or in jeans. You
and your staff should present yourselves as organized
professionals. Not only is it disrespectful to show up unprepared
broadcasting to your colleagues they might be embarking on a
stressful event but your group’s value diminishes
WHO RUNS IT?
The precon is your meeting. You run it. Let your
convention services manager know which people from the venue you
want to attend. You should invite outside vendors who need to be
The hotel should order refreshments for the precon. You should
not be charged for these. If the venue indicates you will be
charged, decline the refreshments and/or ask for water pitchers
WHO SHOULD ATTEND?
Your team, your CSM and your designated banquet captain(s) are
critical. (Too often, another banquet captain will be present.)
Also important are A/V technicians and someone from accounting, the
front desk and reservations.
Will you have complex food and beverage? The chef should be
present. Are VIPs attending? The head of security should be there.
Planning activities? The spa director and associated activity
directors should be present. Will you have gift deliveries or
complex bag or vehicle staging? The bell captain should be present.
Will attendees have a lot of down time? The concierge should be
Taking the reins of the precon, introduce yourself and
your team; give a brief description of the event, your company, the
goals and objectives (that are not proprietary), and the VIPs
involved (share photos and bios at this time). Indicate special
areas of concern.
At this point, all the hotel people should be introduced,
starting with the general manager and working around the table.
Then discuss elements of the meeting with the busiest participant
and/or the person with whom you have the least to communicate, then
allow him to leave.
Eventually you should be left with your CSM and banquet captain,
to go over the banquet event orders and the group’s résumé.
Double-check location, space, timing, F&B guarantees and
choices, load-in and -out expectations, and designated pre-function
space. Insist that new BEOs be distributed if there are major
Above all, be gracious and appreciative of the participants’
time and efforts, and be upbeat about your event your excitement
and passion will be infectious.