by Lisa Grimaldi | September 01, 2007

The following is based on pre-convention meeting criteria created by Financial & Insurance Conference Planners (www.ficpnet.com). The association is headquartered in Chicago.

Initial Steps

  • Determine what will be covered. Plan to discuss important information about the meeting, including the sponsoring firm’s expectations.
  • Set a date and time. A pre-con typically takes place 24 to 48 hours prior to the event.
  • Pick a place. Most pre-cons are held at the facility where the meeting or event will take place. At this time, planners also should be able to conduct a final walk-through of all facilities being used.
  • Include all relevant parties: key members of the planning team, managers from each department servicing the meeting (such as housekeeping, catering, security and A/V) and any suppliers instrumental to the success of the meeting.
  • Be prepared. Have on hand:

  • Business cards
  • An organizational chart of the company’s attendees and/or pictures of VIPs, if available
  • Sample signatures of persons authorized to approve charges for the master account
  • An updated reservation list
  • A contact list for key members of the planning team
  • Talking Points

  • Overall company profile/mission statement
  • Group demographics (age, gender breakdown, etc.)
  • Guest attendance (including children)
  • Rooming list and arrival times
  • Requests for early arrivals
  • Likes and dislikes of the group in general
  • Special needs of individual participants, including VIPs
  • Security issues that pertain specifically to the group
  • Parking
  • Equipment-loading issues
  • Coach-loading areas
  • Distribution of room amenities and welcome packets
  • Room upgrades
  • Boxes/packages (and their air bill numbers) sent to the property for the meeting
  • Banquet event orders
  • Restaurant/bar hours
  • Communications between hotel staff and planners
  • Anticipated peak activity times for bell-desk, valet or front-desk personnel
  • Daily time for the meeting planner and billing department to review bills and discuss any specific billing issues
  • Protocol

  • Start with who’s who. Typically, the conference services manager introduces the planner, who introduces the others on the planning staff. Hotel staff introduce themselves. They should provide business cards, contact numbers and backups, as well as indicate their hours of operation and responsibilities of their departments.
  • Brief the crowd. Planners should present a synopsis of the organization, VIPs, purpose of the meeting, expectations and special needs of the group.
  • Drill down to the details. The planner and top hotel executive present should summarize expectations and key points. Usually a member of the planning staff stays after the pre-con to discuss specific issues with the catering or F&B manager.
  • What to take away

  • Keys to meeting space
  • Contact list of key facility staff
  • Map of facility
  • Notes: