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by Lisa Grimaldi | June 01, 2005

The following is based on preconvention meeting criteria created by ICPA (www.icpanet.com), a Chicago-based association of insurance and financial services conference planners.

First steps

  • What will be covered? Plan to discuss all important information about the meeting, including the sponsoring firm’s expectations.
  • When should it be held? A pre-con typically takes place 24 to 48 hours prior to the event.
  • Where will it be held? Most pre-cons occur at the facility where the meeting/event will take place; planners also should be able to conduct a final walk-through of all facilities being used.
  • Who will attend? The parties should include key planning-team members, managers from each department servicing the meeting (such as housekeeping, catering, security and A/V) and any key suppliers instrumental to the success of the meeting.
  • 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
  • Updated reservation list
  • Contact list for key planning-team members
     
    Talking points
  • Overall company profile/mission statement
  • Group demographic (age, male/female, etc.)
  • Children/guest attendance
  • Rooming list and arrival times
  • Requests for early arrivals
  • Likes and dislikes of the group
  • 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) that have been sent to the property for the meeting
  • Banquet event orders
  • Restaurant/bar hours
  • Communications between hotel staff and planning staff
  • 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 any specific billing issues
  • Protocol

  • Who leads the meeting? 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 back-up, as well as indicate their hours of operation and what their departments are responsible for.
  • What is expected of planners? Present a brief synopsis of the organization, VIPs, purpose of the meeting, expectations and special needs of the group.
  • How should the meeting end? The planner and top hotel executive present should summarize expectations and key points. Usually a member of the planning staff stays late to go over 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