Questions to Ask Yourself During the Planning Process
It’s time to plan your next incentive trip, annual conference, or teambuilding program…and you want to look good to your boss. Not just look like you can cross your t’s and dot your i’s…but, like,
REALLY good. Part of our passion is designing events, whether large or small, that really nail that for you. But where do you start? Keep reading for the questions you should be asking yourself that may not have made it on your event planning checklist (though feel free to add them!)
Assessing Past Events or Programs
First things first—it’s hard to determine where you should go unless you pause to reflect on where you’ve been.
What Have You Done in the Past and How Was it Perceived by Your Attendees? What Was Their Favorite (and Least Favorite) Thing from Last Year’s Event?
Hello! Florida (Central) Account Executive Melissa Germain says, "Knowing what the group did last year and why they liked it or didn’t like it helps me to know what venues and activities, etc. to focus on for this year." You don’t want to copy what was done previously, but if an element of the event or program resonated with your guests, we can find similar venues, activities, or entertainment that they will enjoy again. This is also a major component in gauging your guests’ expectations for the future.
What Would You Have Liked to See for This Group?
There are limitations in every program—whether that’s time, money, or other resources. A good DMC tries to work around those limitations; a
great DMC generates imaginative, yet realistic, options
despite the limitations. Was there something you thought would’ve been amazing last year, but couldn’t pull it off due to some of those limitations? Our award-winning professionals have proven their ability to think outside-the-box and find options that accomplishes your objectives without going over budget.
Who Are the Decision Makers and What Are Their Demographics?
Believe it or not, demographics can often influence how we make decisions. Need help pitching an over-the-top, décor heavy welcome reception for a largely female audience to a corporate group of men? We’ve got you. There’s an intense amount of thought into what we call "purposeful design." Everything we do—from the largest spectacle to the most minute detail—matters and serves a purpose. As part of our comprehensive process, we can put that to work for you by offering the reasoning and supporting materials to help you pitch something that may be outside of your stakeholders’ comfort zone.
Planning Your Next Meeting
What are the Group’s Demographics?
Evaluate things like male to female ratio, age ranges, level within the company, whether they’re well-traveled or not, if they’re international or domestic guests, if it’s an incentive program or annual meeting, and whether children will be attending. The answers to these questions will help determine where to allocate your budget. Hello! Arizona Senior Account Executive Holly Stephens and fellow Senior Account Executive Rachel Hall agree that, "Knowing whether your group is mostly men or mostly female may dictate the direction of the décor. If it’s a family-friendly incentive trip, knowing that kids will be present can change the activities," they say. The department or business area that the group is in also matters. "I would propose different events for an IT group versus a sales team, for example," Germain says.
What Is the Purpose of Your Event? What Feeling Do You Want Your Guests to Walk Away With?
Is the purpose of your event to inspire? Reward? Educate? This sounds simple, but funds may be allocated more toward activities to reward hardworking employees versus speakers and other materials to help educate. This little question makes a big difference. Hello! Las Vegas Account Executive Amy Bollington seconds this: "While a group’s demographics certainly influence the program or event design, I feel a group’s priorities are also heavily dependent on the takeaway experience or memory. Event planners should be asking themselves questions in the first-person singular thought…guests care most about their personal journey." By asking yourself questions in this fashion, you may come up with surprising answers that simplify a nail-biting choice.
What Is the Program Agenda?
It’s more than just knowing whether you’ll have a welcome and/or final night reception. Is there a lot of free time built into the schedule? If so, perhaps you can allocate funds for an official break room with games, lounge seating, etc. where guests can network comfortably. For a packed daytime schedule, your dollars may go more toward making sure the after-hours events are extraordinary, rather than focusing on daytime activities.
What Is Your Food and Beverage Minimum at the Host Hotel?
If there’s little-to-no food and beverage minimum, we can evaluate offsite options to possibly save money compared to remaining on-site. If there’s a substantial minimum you need to meet, we’ll design on-property events that thrill your attendees and keep you on budget while ensuring you meet contractual obligations.
Wrapping It All Up
Knowing these answers is vital to developing the right style and tone for your group, and certainly helps when collaborating with your DMC. You shouldn’t bear the burden of having to look through hundreds of options to try and find the right fit and itinerary for your group. That’s what we’re passionate about, and your reputation is safe with us. Whether your priorities are solid or if you need help developing them,
contact us to begin planning the next event that your guests (and your boss) will be talking about all year!