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Meeting Planning

by Editorial Staff--South Jersey Biz

Each year, South Jersey Biz readers host trade shows, conventions, company picnics, holiday parties and staff meetings large and small for their board members, stockholders or employees. But what’s the best way to gather resources and find inspiration to make these meetings effective and memorable? Local experts share their tips.

QUESTION: What is the one most important thing to consider to always make guests feel welcome at a company event that would apply to all types of meetings or events?

ANSWER: It is crucial to choose the appropriate venue. Not only is the look of the site important, guests should feel welcome and comfortable. The venue should be in a convenient location. Attendees may arrive frustrated if they had difficulty locating the meeting. The venue should offer flexibility. Meeting clients will be relaxed knowing last minute requests can be handled. The lack of a good Internet connection could make or break your meeting. Make sure the event site has state of the art technology and IT support. Attendees can relax knowing they can stay “connected.” And, of course, the event staff should provide stellar customer service. When it’s the right meeting space and the details are taken care of, guests will feel welcome and relaxed so they can focus on the meeting.
Lynn Corsa, Meeting Coordinator
Atrium Executive Center
3000 Atrium Way, Suite 200
Mount Laurel, NJ 08054

QUESTION: My CEO asked me to plan an event but gave me a limited budget. How can I plan an event that has great impact without going over budget?

ANSWER: Hold an event at an off time of year for hotels or conference centers. In most cases, pricing will be more attractive. Depending upon location, different areas of the country will have different slow times. Take advantage of social media to market and advertise your event as that will save money. When working with a limited budget for a full day of meals, provide a total dollar amount to the chef or caterer and request that they customize menus for you in that price range. They can often use seasonal specials that are lower cost or use menus similar to those already booked for that day with other events. Seek sponsorships. Someone in your local business community may be willing to contribute cash or in-kind donations in exchange for you showcasing their businesses at the event. Use these to offset some of the costs that arise after you've set your original budget. Finally, you should always negotiate with the venue.
Jeff Marshall, Director of Sales and Marketing,
The Hotel ML

Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Biz, Volume 2, Issue 8 (August, 2012).
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