Planning an Offsite Meeting? Expedia(R) Corporate Travel Meetings Division Offers Tips for Success

BELLEVUE, Wash., June 29 /PRNewswire/ — An offsite company meeting is like a house of cards: one tiny mistake can trigger a chain reaction that causes the whole thing to collapse.

That’s why good, advance planning and research are so crucial to the process, says Expedia(R) Corporate Travel meeting planning consultant Joe Hunt, CMP. As the world’s No. 1 on-demand, full-service corporate travel agency, Expedia(R) Corporate Travel annually produces meetings for more than 70,000 attendees.

“Planning an offsite meeting means you need to be an expert in everything, from site selection and travel patterns to technology and signage,” says Hunt. “If you’re not, surround yourself with people who are.”

One of the first things meeting planners must do is develop a clear understanding of the purpose of their meeting. Is it a corporate meeting at which business information will be disseminated? Is it supposed to give sales people a chance to court potential clients? Is it intended to honor top performers with a combination business meeting-incentive trip?

“Planning can’t really begin until the person in charge has a good feel for the purpose of the meeting, the content, the length, and where participants will be coming from,” says Hunt. “Once those factors are known, the planner can begin to think about budgets, dates, and locations.”

He suggests starting with two dates in mind: the preferred date and a just-in-case date. A little flexibility often means you can negotiate for better prices and provide yourself with more options that better match your needs. When selecting dates, be sure to check for competing company and industry events, holidays, airline blackout dates, and city festivals.

Hotels are terrific locations for off-site meetings but they’re not the only option. Movie theaters, bowling alleys, art galleries, museums, theme parks, and other venues with “down times” may be a great alternative.

“Participants enjoy going to meetings when they know they’re not heading into ‘just another ballroom,’” says Hunt. “Do your homework. Find out what’s hot in the area. Think outside the box.”

These tips from the Expedia(R) Corporate Travel Meetings Division may help you plan an offsite meeting that will be remembered for all the right reasons:

— Prepare a timeline. Start with your event date and work backwards to
determine what needs to be done when. Be conscious of production lead
time, delivery times, shipping, and more.
— Determine your budget early on. Knowing your spending limits will help
other variables fall into place. Don’t forget to calculate for airfare,
hotel, site rental, food and drink, audiovisual and technology needs,
signage, shipping, and entertainment. Consider leaving a little room in
your budget for those inevitable expenses that pop up along the way.
— When selecting your meeting site, be sure to get a tour of the facility
including the “back of the house.” Among other things, you’ll want to
be sure there’s ample, secure space to store supplies, know that
restrooms are clean, and that the kitchen is sanitary. Find out who
your contact will be at the meeting itself. The manager you initially
dealt with may not be the same person assigned to your event.
— Use a theme only if it makes sense, evokes curiosity, and you’re able
to carry it through — from invitation to the end of the meeting.
— When working with outside speakers, make certain they have a good
understanding of your company — and not just from the CEO’s
perspective.
— Don’t assume corporate meeting planning services are available only to
multi-million dollar companies. Even small firms can benefit from the
expertise and experience of professional meeting consultants.

For more information about Expedia(R) Corporate Travel’s meeting planning services, visit http://corporate.expedia.com/ or call 1-866-328-0110.

About Expedia(R) Corporate Travel

Expedia(R) Corporate Travel is the No. 1 on-demand, full-service travel agency based on the total number of customer bookings through a single source including online and agent assisted. Operated by Expedia, Inc., the world’s leading online travel service and the fourth largest travel agency in the United States, Expedia(R) Corporate Travel brings together the best of technology and corporate support in a single-source solution that drives down costs. Business travelers have access to specialized tools, while companies can take advantage of rich management and reporting features. Expedia, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of IAC/InterActiveCorp (NASDAQ:IACI) . CST: 2029030-40

Expedia and the airplane logo are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Expedia, Inc. in the U.S., Canada and/or other countries. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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