Foreign Meetings: What's the Point?

Every now and then I hear about a corporate event planning scenario that leaves my head spinning. I've blogged about these perplexing situations before:

Just when I think I've heard it all, another bizarre plan involving corporate meetings surfaces. The client was insisting on the following business meeting format:

  • group travel (flying 200 employees to arrive in Dubai on Monday
  • business meetings (full day on Tuesday and half day on Wednesday morning)
  • transfers to Abu Dhabi on Wednesday for an afternoon business meeting *
  • returning to Dubai for an off-site gala - hint: people will be exhausted
  • departing on Thursday

What's the point?

* = The meeting planner had never been anywhere near Dubai. With no relevant event planning experience, he did not realize that the one way trip was 1 1/2 - 2 hours depending on traffic.

Why blow your meeting budget to

  • fly a team halfway around the world?
  • park them in meeting rooms and buses?
  • never give them an opportunity to see Dubai or Abu Dhabi?

Before conjuring up a flaky plan for foreign business meetings:

  • Select an event planner who is an expert in the destination.
  • Be open to the advice you're paying for.
  • Build time to experience the destination into the itinerary.
  • Stay near where you intend to play (in this case select all meeting venues in the same area).

Why do companies formulate bizarre group travel plans? If you've ever seen anything similar, please share it.

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