As United Methodists, we hold meetings and events to support our ministries and to fellowship with one another. In attempts to hold down the administrative costs of these meetings, we often rely on faithful volunteers or add these additional responsibilities to our staff.
For meetings of forty or less, this arrangement may be the right course of action. However, for larger events, GCFA’s Director of Travel and Meeting Planning Melanie Payne recommends hiring a meeting planning professional to save money and time. Below are six things to look for in any meeting planning professional.
Knowledge. An experienced meeting and event planner has worked with clients on different types of meetings and events. In addition to helping you budget accordingly for your meeting, they can act as a sounding board about what has worked in their experience. They will present you with the best choices that keep the event on budget.
Vendor Relationships. Your planner should have a stable of caterers, venues, and event-related vendors they can call on to fit your meeting needs. Professional advice on prices and quality of services are invaluable and are another way they can save you money.
Negotiation Skills. With plenty of contacts, an experienced planner can negotiate the best deal for you. They know which vendors would be willing to work with you on prices and discounts. You are paying for the planner’s contacts and relationships within the industry.
Contract monitoring. A planner makes sure vendors are living up to their contracts. The planner will also review all the bills to make sure your event is on, or under, budget. They can handle emergencies that may arise and troubleshoot to prevent disruptions of service.
Time Savings. Time is one resource we can never get back. Hiring a planner will save you time and energy. They can handle major details like rooming charts, and minor details like floral arrangements. When you leave the administrative tasks to the planner, you can channel your energy into the work God has called you to do. Being sure that your planner has the knowledge and relationships can assure you of time savings.
Creativity. A great event looks and feels effortless. To make that happen, it takes a lot of planning and attention to details: picking the right place to hold the event, making sure the empty venue is transformed to meet the meeting’s goals, and making attendee logistics as simple as possible. Planners can advise staff working at the event on proper protocol and etiquette for the meeting.
These steps will assure your attendees are cared for, you are able to concentrate on the work of the meeting or event, and staff will be able to conduct their work.
GCFA’s Travel and Meeting Planning Department can help you to focus your time and energy on doing God’s ministry by taking care of the administration of your meeting, event, conference, or assembly. From pre-conference planning to post-conference billing and invoicing we make event planning easy for you.
Contact us for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.