Thursday, March 28, 2013

Planning Abroad

International meetings have an indisputable allure, as the thought of taking a meeting abroad immediately heightens its prestige and appeal. After all, nobody is going to complain about attending a meeting in Paris. However, for a meeting planner there is much more than meets the eye when putting together a successful international meeting. As globalization increases, understanding the caveats and additional logistics of planning a meeting abroad is crucial. If you have never done so, read on for a few tried-and-true tips to get you started.

Establish trusted vendors. Utilize your relationships with reputable hotels that have global reach.  Although there are differences in each country, hotel companies have certain principles and standards across the globe. It becomes much easier to manage vendors abroad when you have contacts both here and elsewhere that you can rely on.

Trim your budget accordingly. To justify the expense of international travel, corners must be cut where they may not be otherwise. Hosted events are the easiest thing to budget less for in these cases. There is so much to see and do in a new place, that giving attendees time to explore and try places for themselves can easily take the place of hosted dinners or teambuilding.

Invest in emergency medical insurance.  It is something no meeting planner wants to think about, but should the worst happen emergency insurance will secure healthcare at a top facility, or provide evacuation back to a hospital in the United States. At the very least, it will provide significant peace of mind for the program and its attendees.

Attend industry events in the US. As the international meetings market continues to expand, there are more and more resources available in the States to learn about international destinations. Be proactive and seek these opportunities to educate yourself about the pros and cons of different locations. When the discussion arises, you will be ready with ideas and knowledge.

Bon voyage!

Sources: Meeting Sites Pro, Inc.; Smart Meetings Magazine

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