Sometimes, it's the small details, especially unexpected situations, that can interfere with the satisfaction of event attendees and meeting participants.
For meetings to flow smoothly, it's important to attend to a myriad details. Some of these items may seem basic but it is surprising how frequently there are hiccups in these areas.
Directions for getting to meetings need to be clear and, for outdoor events at large venues, the precise intersection of the gate needs to be clearly noted on all communication pieces.
Recently, I attended an event at an outdoor venue that turned out well. However, it got off to a rough start. The promotional material listed the price of admission but made no mention of parking charges. Many guests were unprepared.
Whenever possible, bundle parking charges or passes in the venue rental. If this is not possible, clearly communicate the price for parking and the location of parking facilities. (In urban areas, parking charges can be hefty.)
Deposits or Credit Card for Incidentals
Participants who have travelled regularly on corporate business or attended a lot of corporate events will likely be aware of the need to make provision for incidentals. With younger workers entering the workforce, don't assume that all participants will be aware of this. Clearly indicate on pre-event communication that a credit card will need to be swiped to cover incidentals or the venue will require a deposit.
Wi-Fi is something that many participants take as a given. Yet, there are still events where this detail has not been arranged. If the venue charges extra for Wi-Fi, build this into the budget. When event or meeting budgets are tight, try to obtain a sponsor to cover the costs. Be sure to let participants know what arrangements have been made so that there are no surprises.
Food and Beverage
I have previously discussed the various types of meal plans and all-inclusive packages available for group events. Some packages include 3 meals a day and no snacks. Others have limits on alcohol. Sometimes, room service is included but there are delivery charges.
Whatever the scenario, be sure that guests are prepared and that they know exactly what to expect so that there are no misunderstandings or embarrassing surprises.
To make sure you don't catch participants off guard or disappoint the staff at hotels and other venues, it is important to clarify what gratuities are included. Sometimes, service charges are pooled or an administrative fee is deducted. The client may want to increase the budget to include "tips," especially for group dinners and receptions. If they are not to be covered by the client, then be sure to brief participants about how tips are to be handled and include suggested amounts.
Here are some other strategies for minimizing surprises: Event Budgeting: 9 Tips for Avoiding Sticker Shock, Managing Meeting Budgets: 3 Curve Balls, and 10 Tips for Preparing an Event Budget with No Surprises.
Photo Credit: sharyn morrow