by By Lisa Grimaldi | October 01, 2009
The following is based on pre-convention meeting criteria created by Chicago-based Financial & Insurance Conference Planners ( and Keri Dool, meeting manager for Dallas-based Meeting Professionals International (

First Steps
• Outline 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 occur. At this time, planners also should be able to conduct a final walk-through of all facilities being used.
• Involve all relevant parties, including key members of the planning team, convention services manager, managers from each department servicing the meeting (such as housekeeping, catering, security and A/V) and any suppliers instrumental to the meeting's success.

What to Bring
• 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 (including early arrivals)
• Likes and dislikes of the group in general
• Service expectations
• Inclusion of green/sustainable practices
• Special needs of individual participants, including VIPs
• Security/labor issues
• Equipment-loading issues
• Parking and coach-loading
• Distribution of room amenities and welcome packets
• Room upgrades
• Banquet event orders
• Packages (and air bill numbers) sent to the property
• Communications between hotel staff and planners
• Other groups in house, and the nature of their events
• City events, traffic or weather that might affect the group
• Emergency drills/medical numbers
• 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

• Begin with who's who. Typically, the conference services manager introduces the planner, who introduces the others on the planning staff. Venue 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.
• Planners should present a synopsis of the organization, VIPs, purpose of the meeting, expectations, special needs of the group and expected emergency/security procedures.
• The planner and convention services manager 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