Planning a Big Corporate Meeting at a Hotel

    Planning a meeting at a hotel is no easy task. It takes months of planning and sometimes, forgetting one simple task can make things go awry. You wouldn't want to reserve a meeting room too late and try to cram 500 people into a 300 person venue or forget to order refreshments for your hungry employees. That’s why it is important to know the essentials of planning a corporate meeting at a hotel.

    Start Early: Start planning no later than 3 months in advance. This gives you ample time to get all the amenities and assistance necessary. Your first step will be to figure out the logistics, such as your budget, the amount attending, and the dates of the meeting.

    Book the Hotel and Notify the Attendees: Be sure to book your hotel before doing anything else, as this will determine the travel arrangements, meals, amenities, and more. When you book the hotel, make sure the hotel can accommodate everyone and has enough meeting rooms or banquet halls available. Inform the hotel of what you need, such as a sound system, chairs, audiovisual aid, and more. There is nothing worse than hundreds of people trying to hear a presenter speak without a microphone. With that being said, it is a good idea to send letters of agreements and contracts to the hotel to confirm everything for your own reference. As soon as the venue is booked, inform the attendees so they can plan ahead.

    Invite Speakers: If you are planning on having outside speakers at your meeting, try to snag them pretty early on. Make sure all the contracts go through and their travel arrangements and accommodations, if necessary, are set.

    Plan Travel Arrangements and Meals: After booking the hotel, make sure to plan travel arrangements. Whether that means flying or driving, it is important that this is taken care of early and all your attendees know how they will be getting there. Planning travel arrangements for supplies is important too. If you are either shipping the supplies to the venue or designating someone to bring it, plan it early so nothing gets left behind! Be sure to arrange meals, either through the hotel or an outside source, as well.

    Order Supplies: For some odd reason, it is always extremely easy to forget the simplest supplies, such as pens. Make a checklist of all the supplies you need and whether they need to be ordered or not. Order your supplies early just in case there is a delay in shipping.

    Make a Schedule: Without a concrete schedule, it may be impossible to get all the attendees in the right place at the right time and you will waste a lot of time trying to do so. Consider having some leeway time in-between sessions just in case.

    Lastly, it is always important to call and confirm everything with the hotel, speakers, suppliers, and everything else two weeks before the meeting.

    What obstacles have you run into when planning a corporate meeting at a hotel? What would you recommend? Share your thoughts and comments below, or on Facebook or Twitter.