- Map out a timeline from the beginning. Make note of important dates such as your cut-off date for room reservations and the deadline for providing the event manager with your event "specs." We all know how time gets away from us and it's easy to oversee these important items from the beginning, especially when a program seems so far away. Communicate with the manager to secure dates and deadlines that will work for both of you, this way you aren't scrambling within a small window of time to match schedules and can work at a pace that you are both comfortable with.
- Ask the event manager for a template or a guide to assist you in translating the specifics of your event into a comprehensive document. The manager will have to transfer this information onto a formalized event order, so the more organized you are, the less room is left for human error during this translation. Include all information for each event including time, date, special set-up requests, audio-visual needs, food and beverage requirements and other pertinent details.
- Get to know as many members of the hotel or venue planning team as possible. Remember that event manager's are people too - they take vacations, and work inconsistent hours due to the nature of the job. That being said, always know who their back-up is, and to whom you might be able to reach out in the event of an emergency or an urgent matter. Great people to make relationships with include audio-visual managers, reservations specialists, and event administrative assistants.
- Read the fine print. From experience, I can tell you that about 80% of the questions that come from meeting planners can be answered in the fine print, whether it be on the catering menus, contract, or banquet event order. Be an intelligent planner and use your resources wisely.
- Schedule a time to meet your event manager in person. With technology the way it is anymore, email is a prominent form of communication. Unfortunately it's also a difficult way to read people and their tone. It's best to meet in person right off the bat so you understand who you're working with and vice versa. Relationships are key.
by August 25, 2011
You've just signed a contract for your next big event and it's time to get friendly with your most important business partner: your venue's event manager. Whether your program is a year away or 3 months away, here are a few helpful tips to aid you in working most effectively with this valuable member of your planning team.