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Tips for Making YOur Next Off-Site Meeting or Event A Success

By Becky Melchi, CMP, Senior Sales Manager, The Abbey Resort and Avani Spa

As Senior Sales Manager at The Abbey Resort and Avani Spa, I love working with my clients throughout the entire meeting planning process - from research and exploration to execution and wrap up - to make their events second to none! With my career's-worth of experience, I've learned a few things along the way. Here are five tips - from me to you - to keep in mind when working to plan any meeting or event.
  • Be Transparent: It is always best to give your sales manager as much information as possible up front. The more information they have about your space needs, agenda, time constraints, and most notable about your budget, the more they will be able to offer you! Withholding information out of uncertainly or fear of commitment will only hurt you and will likely end up costing you real dollars in the long run. Your sales manager's number one goal is to help you present the most successful event possible, and the more information they have up front, the better they will be able to do this!
  • Flexibility is Best: It is certainly understandable that you may have a specific floor plan in mind for an opening plenary session, breakout meetings, or a closing dinner event. Your site contact wants to work with you to accomplish your objectives, so share both your specific ideas and your big picture goals with them and then be flexible and open to his or her ideas on how those goals can best be accomplished in terms of space and setup.
  • Anticipate Unusual Requests: We've all been there - we think we have everything planned out perfectly and then a last minute request comes in from a VIP, a presenter cancels, or unregistered guests show up. While these things cannot be avoided, we can usually look back and say, "I should have thought of that." By informing your site contact of things that might go wrong, they can help to anticipate backup plans in the event they are needed.
  • Go Local: It's not just on-trend to offer local specialties, it's good business! Offering local food, drinks and programming helps to create a memorable and enjoyable experience for your attendees. Is there a local must-see attraction near your meeting? Build a tour into the business agenda so your attendees have something to look forward to and remember fondly. Your sales manager is an expert in the local community, so be sure to engage him or her in your planning. This will help attendees associate the business aspects of your meeting with a positive memory, which will in turn help solidify the impact of meeting's purpose.
  • Before and After: Meetings no longer exist only during the time attendees are gathered for the business purposes. Work with your contact to offer as much as you can to your attendees! For example, meetings held at The Abbey Resort can include evening bonfires with s'mores, morning strolls along the picturesque Lake Shore Path, and even biking and disc golf, all provided at little or no additional cost to the meeting. Get creative with your sales manager and offer the most you can for your attendees to make it a memorable, enjoyable event.

As Senior Sales Manager at The Abbey Resort and Avani Spa, Becky Melchi works alongside Fortune 500 companies and associations to plan, prepare for, and book meetings and events held at the full-service lakeshore resort.
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