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Conference Organizer’s Workshop Planning Your Event

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1 Conference Organizer’s Workshop Planning Your Event
Elsie Cabrera, CMP Manager, Sales & Conference Activities IEEE Meeting & Conference Management (MCM)

2 Workshop Agenda How to develop a conference timeline
3/27/2017 Workshop Agenda How to develop a conference timeline Creating request for proposals (RFP) hotel/venue audio visual supplier destination management company (DMC) Negotiating – how to get the best deal Food and beverage planning Hotel room block management Summary 27-Mar-17

3 How to Develop a Conference Time

4 How to Develop a Conference Timeline
Begin by considering all tasks and dates required in planning your event IEEE and OU requirements Sponsorship requirements Budgeting requirements Building your technical program Abstract Submission Paper Submission Peer Review Process Notifications 27-Mar-17

5 How to Develop a Conference Timeline
Visa process Registration Searching for a Payment Card Industry (PCI) vendor Early Registration Deadline Onsite Registration Activities Review Contractual Obligations and incorporate into timeline Deposit due dates Contract room block review dates Cancellation dates 27-Mar-17

6 How to Develop a Conference Timeline
Exhibit management Exhibit Decorator Floor Plan Prospectus (selling document) Payment Due Date Booth Assignment (date) Other functions Social functions Tours & Transportation Assign tasks to committee members Managing your conference timeline is crucial 27-Mar-17

7 Sample Timeline 27-Mar-17 Timing Date
Completed (x) Action/Description (IEEE-required actions are bolded.) Responsibility Subcommittee Comments 18-24 months prior to conf Agreement (MOU) between conference sponsors Note: All Contracts & MOUs with a value of $25,000 or more must be reviewed and executed by IEEE Procurement. Appoint General Chair; establish Local Organizing Committee (LOC); notify sponsoring organization(s) of General Chair Initial meeting of conference committee to select conference name, theme, location, date, venue Note: Check for potential conflicts with other IEEE conferences LOC Contract with IEEE Conference Management for conference venue contract site selection & contract negotiation, registration management, conference logistics, etc. Contract with conference venue and overflow hotels if needed (send out RFP, review proposals, negotiate contract) Note: All Contracts with a value of $25,000 or more must be reviewed and executed by IEEE Procurement. MCM Submit IEEE Conference Information Schedule to IEEE Conference Services for listing in the Conference Search Database and Call for Papers Submit Conflict of Interest forms to IEEE Conference Services LOC General Chair & Treasurer Submit IEEE Conference Budget Forms (Summary, Income, Expense & Social Functions) to IEEE Organizational Unit for approval LOC Treasurer / MCM 27-Mar-17

8 Action/Description (IEEE-required actions are bolded.)
Sample Timeline cont. Timing Date Completed (x) Action/Description (IEEE-required actions are bolded.) Responsibility Subcommittee Comments 15-18 months prior to conf Create theme and logos. LOC Marketing Obtain domain name and create web site Webmaster Develop Advertising program/publicity (brochures, post cards, ad pages, posters, etc) Develop promotion plan for booth at current year's conference (table top display, give-a-ways, etc.) Research magazines & trade publications to advertise in. Note publication deadlines. 12-15 months prior to conf Hire Decorator for exhibits (send out RFP, review proposals, negotiate contract, create floor plan) MCM Create Exhibitor Prospectus (application, floor plan, additional selling information) for distribution at current year's conference Create Sponsorship and Advertising Opportunities for distribution at current year's conference Review and reconfirm hotel and meeting facilities Meeting of Conference Committee, preferably at conference site MCM / LOC Preliminary planning of off-site events, tours, etc. 27-Mar-17

9 Creating Request for Proposals (RFP)

10 Request For Proposal (RFP) What is it?
The RFP is a request for a quote for service identifies the goals and objectives provides a profile of the group provides historical data When writing an RFP, think about it as the first step to negotiating a contract Consider what you need vs. what you want needs are non-negotiable wants can become the basis for negotiations

11 Hotel RFP A hotel needs as much information as possible so they know what is important to the event Don’t assume a hotel will have space available later be sure to include all space requirements at the start Be specific about the number and type of guest rooms required number of rooms needed at varying rates government vs. standard; upgrades for VIPs Don’t be overly optimistic about the block; you will pay if you fall below the allowed shortfall Event history, if available, is invaluable to the negotiation process establishes the value of the event to the hotel reduces risk to the hotel by demonstrating solid history 27-Mar-17

12 Hotel RFP What It Should Include
Group profile (who/what the event is about) Preferred event dates (pattern and any flexibility) Number of attendees (if possible, include attendee profile) Meeting space requirements (i.e. setup of each room, # of people, accessibility) Preliminary schedule of events Estimated food/beverage functions Room block pattern (days/number of rooms per night) Concessions (i.e suites required, parking passes, etc.) Specify if you plan to use your own a/v supplier Conference history (past locations, actualized room pick up, food/beverage spend) Date when proposals are due Decision date 27-Mar-17

13 Sample Hotel RFP 27-Mar-17

14 Sample Hotel RFP

15 Audio Visual (A/V) RFP A/V is critical to the event
Cost should always be considered, but should not be the most important criteria Clearly communicate as much detail as possible about your technical needs The needs of the event will determine what vendor to use 27-Mar-17

16 Audio Visual (A/V) RFP What It Should Include
Event name Dates, time, location Preliminary schedule of events Rooms assignments and setups A/V requirements per room (i.e. projectors, screen, podium, microphones) Concessions (what you would like) Date when proposals are due Decision date 27-Mar-17

17 Sample Audio Visual RFP
DATE BEGIN END EVENT LOCATION ROOM SET-UP # of Pax A/V & Telecom Needs Wed, 17-Sep-2008 8:00 12:00 Region 4 Executive Committee Meeting Hilton Beaumont & Belair U-Shape for 15 with 10 chairs in rear of room for observers 25 1-Screen with dress kit 1-Projector with appropriate VGA cable 1-AV Cart 1-Powerstrip to the Projection Cart 1-Power Strip for each 6' table in the U 17:00 MGA Student Activities Committee Beauport U-Shape for 25 with 10 chairs in rear of room for observers 35 13:00 Region 4 Long Range Strategic Planning Exsiting Set-Up Existing Set-Up Thu, 18-Sep-2008 Region 2 Committee Meeting Congress Center 301 A/B U-Shape for 40 with 20 chairs in rear of room for observers 60 Region 4 Committee Meeting 302 A/B Region 7 (IEEE Canada) Committee Meeting 303 A/B 27-Mar-17

18 Destination Management Company (DMC) or Professional Conference Organizer (PCO) RFP
They save time, research, and money DMCs/PCO’s offer a wide range of services including tours transportation convention staffing Extra services (i.e. entertainment, décor) Use a local DMC/PCO obtain recommendations from the hotel, convention center, or the city’s visitor bureau 27-Mar-17

19 Destination Management Company (DMC) What It Should Include
Detailed information will allow the DMC/PCO to develop a program and pricing specific for your event. Details should include: Group profile Event services desired Offsite event shuttles (buses, mini vans) Tour program (which days, time frame, cost) Offsite event location selection and planning (gala dinner, reception) Airport transfers Budget Anticipated attendance Conference dates and location (venue name) Specify if you intend to have an exclusive tour program Date when proposals are due Decision date 27-Mar-17

20 Sample DMC/PCO RFP

21 Negotiating How to Get the Best Deal

22 Negotiating How to Get the Best Deal
Negotiating is the process leading up to the point of contracting Many items are negotiable most of the time The ability to negotiate depends on your knowledge of the meeting (history; size, scope; profile; revenue generated for the facility) Recognize that are vendors/suppliers are in the business to make money, you should understand how each vendor makes its money (sleeping rooms, f&B, a/v, ancillary) 27-Mar-17

23 Negotiating How to Get the Best Deal
Negotiate items that are important to your group first You can ask for more, but everything has a price Never say yes to the first offer suppliers rarely put their best offer first and will usually come down in price Vendor consolidation leads to better pricing Utilize vendors who have an established relationship with the conference and/or IEEE or have been recommended discounts offered for repeat business Get all that you have negotiated in writing 27-Mar-17

24 Negotiating Tools IEEE has standard templates in place to help get you started Hotel contract templates Meeting Management company template You will need to negotiate pricing, concessions, function space, and other details specific to your conference Using the established templates creates more efficient and timely execution of the contract Templates are located 27-Mar-17

25 Food and Beverage Planning

26 Food and Beverage Planning (F&B)
Understand the conference history for attendance at meal functions do the majority of delegates attend the functions? what type of meals are ordered? (i.e. buffet, plated, or boxed) are the meals additional purchase items or included in the registration fee? Hotel/venue considerations understand how the venue counts delegates at meal functions (i.e. by plates used or by seats) does the venue prepare for 5% more than guaranteed? 27-Mar-17

27 Food & Beverage Planning (F&B) Menu Selection Tips
Consider the location and setup of the meal function space Select the menu prior and compare to the conference budget remember to include tax and service charges If the standard hotel menus cost are prohibitive, inquire to customize a menu to fit your budget Try to offer local cuisine as part of the conference meals if possible 27-Mar-17

28 Food & Beverage Planning (F&B) Menu Selection Tips
If you have parallel events with meal functions, utilize the same menu For smaller events, consider hosting joint meal functions to eliminate additional service charges Inquire about menus ordered by other groups in-house at the time of your event bulk ordering creates better discount reduces labor for the venue Review your advance registration activity to determine guarantees 27-Mar-17

29 Communicating Your Details to the Venue
Prepare and send detailed event specifications that include Day and date of the function time the room should be setup and how (i.e. theater, schoolroom, u-shape) food and beverage selections and counts room assignments as well as published start and end times a/v and electrical requirements The venue will translate the information into a format known as a banquet event order (BEO) for review and signature Ensure the BEOs correlate with your specifications communicate any discrepancies immediately once signed, these become the contract with the venue Conduct a pre-conference meeting with the hotel to review all the beo’s once onsite to be sure the needs are interpreted and captured correctly 27-Mar-17

30 Meeting Specifications

31 Room Block Management 27-Mar-17

32 Room Block Management Keep an Eye on the Contract
Many hotels require conferences to pick up at least 80% of the contracted room block Monitor the room pickup regularly and assess if reductions/increases in block are required increases may not be available or may be at higher rates before increasing, confirm that it is necessary reductions may incur penalties If fall below the contracted room block attrition charges may apply concessions may be reduced or eliminated meeting space allocation may change due to the size of the group and space charges may apply All changes to the contract should be agreed in writing by both parties (hotel and conference chair) by creating a contract addendum 27-Mar-17

33 Room Block Management Tips for Success
Understand the conference pickup pattern How far in advance do delegates normally make their reservations? Monitor and compare the pickup to the previous years to determine if you are on target Confirm the following have made their reservations VIPs (ie. award winners, plenary speaker) Authors/speakers Committee Compare hotel rooming list to conference registration list(s) 27-Mar-17

34 Summary There are many components to planning a successful event
The timeline is key to staying on track to meet deliverables Always keep an eye on the contract terms Don’t be afraid to ask for help from an expert; there are many resources available Event management professionals Convention visitors bureau Destination management company Audio visual suppliers 27-Mar-17

35 3/27/2017 Questions? KEVIN

36 Resources and Tools Conference Organizers website
Attend Panel of Conference Organizers and visit the website for review of presentations Utilize a professional management company Convention Industry Council’s Accepted Practices Exchange (provides industry best practices and standard templates) 27-Mar-17

37 Website:
Contact Phone Elsie Cabrera, CMP Mgr. Sales & Conference Activities Website: IEEE Meeting & Conference Management (MCM) 445 Hoes Lane Piscataway, NJ, 08854 U.S.A. 27-Mar-17

38 THANK YOU 27-Mar-17

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