Time for our second blog post! A monthly commitment which we’re more than willing to stick to, as essentially, it’s just putting pen to paper about what we do in the office every day!
This month we’re writing about organising an event overseas. One of the perks of our job is getting to visit different cities all over the world. These events put a variety of our events management skills to the test. Here’s a run through of some of the things we think you need to consider when organising one.
To make sure delegates get the most out of our events we like to ensure they maximise opportunities to participate, learn and network. But one thing that makes the event stand out from the rest is feeling looked after, and this requires flawless organisation. This leads us nicely on to our first pointer…
Plan, plan, plan
Overseas events require an extended amount of time to organise. Give yourself at 6 months prior to the event start date to begin planning. Lock down your venue and restaurant bookings as early as possible and book and pay for everything in advance to save time and money. Booking flights and accommodation early can minimise costs and maximise choice – neither of which are ever a bad thing! Take everything you need (and is possible to pack) with you, so you don’t have to rush around sourcing things when you get there. Make sure that you give yourself enough time, prior to the event starting, to settle in, adjust to the time zone and acclimatise, so you’re on the ball for when the event begins and delegates start arriving.
Create a checklist prior to leaving to make sure no stone is left un turned prior to departing. Check journey times between your venues and read blogs relating to the area to get up-to-date info on what to watch out for. If it’s not feasible for the events team to stay at the venue, make sure their accommodation is as close as possible. Keeping the team local can save time, avoid delays and ensure they are familiar with the venues surrounding area.
Preparation is key and it’s all about making sure those minor details are nailed. Small things such as making sure debit/credit cards and mobile phones work internationally, checking VISA requirements, having the correct currency and ensuring the necessary luggage allowance has been booked are all biggies. Another area to be extra cautious in is funding & budgets, make sure when budgeting everything is clear cut as items such as VAT can differ from country to country. VAT advice from Accordance VAT is a helpful resource to make sure you’ve got it right. Paying upfront will also avoid financial surprises on-site due to exchange rate fluctuations especially as Brexit approaches.
A familiarisation trip (FAM) if feasible, is an ideal opportunity for you to check out any venues & restaurants and meet with any suppliers you have lined up for the event. However, if this isn’t possible, research and utilise other resources to sense check any of these. Other companies are more than willing to help or share their experiences, either via email, online forums or social media and the bible of restaurant reviews, Trip Advisor. Social groups on Linked In such as Events Planning & Events Management or Industry Friends on Facebook are excellent and reliable resources that can also be used.
Events Management software (we use Events Air, but many others are available) is a useful tool to manage delegates, speakers and a variety of events you are running, around the globe. From registrations and dietary requirements, to travel arrangements and programme information. If it’s all in one place, it makes things a lot easier to manage and share. The flow of all the information together make organising an event overseas easier no matter the distance or time zone.
Making it personal
CFS Events always strives to offer professional events management with a personal touch and this is really important when organising events abroad. Speaking to all your delegates before travel is crucial to ensuring they have the best possible trip. This is when you might find out that they are a nervous traveller – and then you can take the steps to minimise their stress. You might realise their passport is due for renewal and therefore avoid a later drama. Either way – it’s never a bad thing to chat to the customer.
And there it is, our little brain offload of how to excel in organising an event overseas. If you found this content useful, have some feedback or have a suggestion for future blog posts, we would love to hear from you, firstname.lastname@example.org