How to prepare for business travel to a meeting or conference
We’re about to finish up the first month of the year and for many of us, it’s the busiest time of year. Many of us travel to meetings – some of us even plan meetings for a living. As you’re booking your travel or packing your bags for your next trip, do you ever stop to think about what you should be considering when attending a meeting? I know I do, but I think it stems from the fact that I used to be a meeting planner. Just in case you’re not, here is a list of questions you should know the answers to when attending a meeting.
- How long is my flight? Will I have to connect?
- Will I rent a car or take provided transportation? Or use public transportation? Do I know of other colleagues going that would make sense to car pool?
- What should I pack? Business professional, resort wear or business casual?
- Is there golf or spa onsite at the hotel? What ‘down time’ does the meeting agenda allow so I know if leisure time for golf or spa can even occur?
- Will the hotel be able to accommodate my dietary needs?
- Can I bring my family along?
- If traveling outside the US, do I need a visa, passport or foreign currency?
- If I need to change my flights, do I also need to adjust my hotel stay?
- Are there certain protocols in the city I’m flying to that I should be aware of? Are there any celebrations occurring in this city during my visit that might cause delays?
- If I happen to get sick or need medication, what are the options in the city I’m visiting? (i.e. CVS Minute Clinics, etc)
As you can see, there are many things to consider as you prepare to travel for a meeting. Meeting planners also have a list of considerations they use to determine what destination and/or specific hotel make the most sense for their meeting. The top 10 considerations are:
- Budget (considering Tier 2 cities vs. Tier 1 for cost reduction)
- Proximity to company office/HQ/client office
- Nearby entertainment options
- Nearby restaurants
- Where is meeting space in proximity to lobby and/or sleeping rooms?
- Are there any city-wide sell outs in the city I’m selecting that will limit sleeping rooms/last minute changes?
- Does the location allow for international travelers to get in easily and/or prevent additional nights if location works with flight options?
- Have I held a meeting at the same property to further leverage negotiations, amenities, etc?
A meeting planner’s list of considerations is slightly different from that of a traveler. What is most important to you in terms of a meeting destination?