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Planning Your Event

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Conference Organizer’s
Workshop
Planning Your Event
Elsie Cabrera, CMP
Manager, Sales & Conference Activities
IEEE Meeting & Conference Management
(MCM)
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
2
24-Sep-14
How to Develop a
Conference Time
3
24-Sep-14
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
4
24-Sep-14
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
5
24-Sep-14
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
6
24-Sep-14
Sample Timeline
Timing
Date
18-24 months prior
to conf
Completed (x)
Action/Description
(IEEE-required actions are bolded.)
Responsibility
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.
18-24 months prior
to conf
Appoint General Chair; establish Local Organizing
Committee (LOC); notify sponsoring organization(s) of
General Chair
18-24 months prior
to conf
Initial meeting of conference committee to select
conference name, theme, location, date, venue
LOC
Note: Check for potential conflicts with other IEEE conferences
18-24 months prior
to conf
Contract with IEEE Conference Management for
conference venue contract site selection & contract
negotiation, registration management, conference
logistics, etc.
LOC
18-24 months prior
to conf
Contract with conference venue and overflow hotels if
needed (send out RFP, review proposals, negotiate
contract)
MCM
Note: All Contracts with a value of $25,000 or more must be
reviewed and executed by IEEE Procurement.
18-24 months prior
to conf
Submit IEEE Conference Information Schedule to IEEE
Conference Services for listing in the Conference Search
Database and Call for Papers
18-24 months prior
to conf
Submit Conflict of Interest forms to IEEE Conference
Services
LOC General Chair &
Treasurer
18-24 months prior
to conf
Submit IEEE Conference Budget Forms (Summary,
Income, Expense & Social Functions) to IEEE
Organizational Unit for approval
LOC Treasurer / MCM
7
24-Sep-14
LOC
Subcommittee
Comments
Sample Timeline cont.
Timing
Date
Completed (x)
Action/Description
(IEEE-required actions are bolded.)
Responsibility
Subcommittee
15-18 months prior
to conf
Create theme and logos.
LOC
Marketing
15-18 months prior
to conf
Obtain domain name and create web site
LOC
Webmaster
15-18 months prior
to conf
Develop Advertising program/publicity (brochures, post
cards, ad pages, posters, etc)
LOC
Marketing
15-18 months prior
to conf
Develop promotion plan for booth at current year's
conference (table top display, give-a-ways, etc.)
LOC
Marketing
15-18 months prior
to conf
Research magazines & trade publications to advertise in.
Note publication deadlines.
LOC
Marketing
12-15 months prior
to conf
Hire Decorator for exhibits (send out RFP, review
proposals, negotiate contract, create floor plan)
MCM
12-15 months prior
to conf
Create Exhibitor Prospectus (application, floor plan,
additional selling information) for distribution at current
year's conference
MCM
12-15 months prior
to conf
Create Sponsorship and Advertising Opportunities for
distribution at current year's conference
MCM
12-15 months prior
to conf
Review and reconfirm hotel and meeting facilities
MCM
12-15 months prior
to conf
Meeting of Conference Committee, preferably at
conference site
MCM / LOC
12-15 months prior
to conf
Preliminary planning of off-site events, tours, etc.
MCM / LOC
8
24-Sep-14
Comments
Creating Request for
Proposals (RFP)
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24-Sep-14
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
10
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
11
24-Sep-14
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
12
24-Sep-14
Sample Hotel RFP
13
24-Sep-14
Sample Hotel RFP
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
15
24-Sep-14
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
16
24-Sep-14
Sample Audio Visual RFP
DATE
BEGIN
END
EVENT
LOCATION
ROOM
SET-UP
# of Pax
Hilton
Beaumont &
Belair
U-Shape for 15 with 10
chairs in rear of room for
observers
25
A/V & Telecom Needs
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
Wed, 17Sep-2008
8:00
12:00
Region 4
Executive
Committee Meeting
Wed, 17Sep-2008
8:00
17:00
MGA Student
Activities
Committee
Hilton
Beauport
U-Shape for 25 with 10
chairs in rear of room for
observers
35
Wed, 17Sep-2008
13:00
17:00
Region 4
Long Range
Strategic Planning
Hilton
Beaumont &
Belair
Exsiting Set-Up
25
Existing Set-Up
301 A/B
U-Shape for 40 with 20
chairs in rear of room for
observers
60
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
302 A/B
U-Shape for 40 with 20
chairs in rear of room for
observers
60
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
303 A/B
U-Shape for 40 with 20
chairs in rear of room for
observers
60
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
Thu, 18Sep-2008
Thu, 18Sep-2008
Thu, 18Sep-2008
17
8:00
8:00
8:00
17:00
Region 2
Congress Center
Committee Meeting
17:00
Region 4
Congress Center
Committee Meeting
17:00
Region 7 (IEEE
Canada) Committee Congress Center
Meeting
24-Sep-14
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
18
24-Sep-14
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
19
24-Sep-14
Sample DMC/PCO RFP
Negotiating
How to Get the Best Deal
21
24-Sep-14
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)
22
24-Sep-14
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
23
24-Sep-14
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
– http://www.ieee.org/web/conferences/organizers/contract
s.html
24
24-Sep-14
Food and Beverage Planning
25
24-Sep-14
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?
26
24-Sep-14
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
24-Sep-14
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 inhouse at the time of your event
– bulk ordering creates better discount
– reduces labor for the venue
Review your advance registration activity to
determine guarantees
28
24-Sep-14
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

29
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
24-Sep-14
Meeting Specifications
Room Block Management
31
24-Sep-14
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
32
24-Sep-14
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)
33
24-Sep-14
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
34
24-Sep-14
Questions?
Resources and Tools
Conference Organizers website
www.ieee.org/web/conferences/organizers/index.html
Attend Panel of Conference Organizers and visit the website
for review of presentations
www.ieee.org/web/conferences/organizers/poco/index.html
Utilize a professional management company
www.ieee.org/go/mcm
Convention Industry Council’s Accepted Practices Exchange
(provides industry best practices and standard templates)
https://www.conventionindustry.org/apex/accepted.htm
36
–
24-Sep-14
Contact
Email
Phone
Elsie Cabrera, CMP
Mgr. Sales & Conference
Activities
e.cabrera@ieee.org
+1 732 981 3428
Website: www.ieee.org/go/mcm
Email: mcminfo@ieee.org
IEEE Meeting & Conference Management (MCM)
445 Hoes Lane
Piscataway, NJ, 08854
U.S.A.
37
24-Sep-14
THANK YOU
38
24-Sep-14
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