Hosting Your Meeting in The Woodlands
THE ULTIMATE GUIDE
When it comes to organizing a meeting from the ground up, thorough thought and research is required. From establishing an accurate budget to promoting your event, there are several components you must consider to make the event as stress-free as possible. The task of creating a memorable meeting for your attendees should be as fun and exciting as the event itself. Read on for the ultimate guide to planning your next meeting in The Woodlands.
BUILD A PLANNING TEAM
Every meeting or conference begins with an idea and turning that idea into reality is an endeavor that no one should take on their own. Even a veteran event planner will need some assistance when they are creating a meeting. That’s why the first task on your list of “things to do” should be building an event planning team.
A reliable group of motivated individuals is an essential component when it comes to staying organized. Great teams cannot just be thrown together. Be sure to pick individuals with the right combination of skills and personalities and assign them suitable roles.
The first role that should be assigned is planning manager. The individual selected for this leadership position will oversee all the moving pieces and take responsibility for the execution of the meeting. Someone who is well-organized should be assigned the role of scheduling. This team member will create a meeting agenda, work with speakers and make sure the schedule is up-to-date and communicated to everyone involved.
An individual with an outgoing personality should be in charge of communication management. This crucial role will manage emails and invitations, oversee social media messaging and send follow-up materials after the event is completed. Now that a planning team has been assembled, a checklist for the upcoming event should be created and the planning manager needs to delegate tasks.
PICKING A VENUE
Once you have finalized when your meeting or event will take place, how many people will attend, and your budget, you can begin your search for the perfect venue. Finding the best-suited venue is one of the most important tasks you will do as a meeting planner. The Woodlands makes the search process easy by offering several properties for every type of event. Health and safety are priority when there is a large group of individuals.
2020 changed the way all industries do business, and many people are more cautious about traveling and appreciate knowing that safety precautions are being taken. Selecting a meeting area with enough space to allow your attendees to practice social distancing is important. Talk with facility management and review the facility’s safety protocols. When drafting emails or invitations for the meeting, inform your attendees about all the safety measures that are being implemented for their well-being. You want your guests to be comfortable and have peace-of-mind. Give them a rewarding experience and ensure that a safe environment has been top-of-mind.
On the subject of comfort, selecting a venue that not only has ample meeting space but properly accommodates everyone attending is essential when hosting a successful event. The Woodlands is home to 14 full-service properties that provide more than 2,200 guest rooms and 160,000 square feet of meeting and event space. When you plan on hosting your meeting at one of The Woodlands’ hotels, be sure to verify there are enough rooms available for your guests or speak to the facility about blocking off rooms. Cutting out the task of commuting for your attendees is one of the benefits of holding your event at a hotel.
Aside from traditional locations, The Woodlands is home to many unique facilities, like the Glade Cultural Center & Gallery and the Woodforest Bank Club. Providing your attendees with a different atmosphere can set a positive and refreshing tone at your event. If you select one of these venues, consider planning transportation services for attendees. Many hotels offer shuttles to make transportation simple.
Some events will last a few hours and others a couple of days. Consider a venue with catering services to provide refreshments to your attendees. For any business meeting, it is essential to offer water or some other refreshment to keep your guests hydrated and alert. Additionally, consider providing snacks or appetizers. Sharing meals can lead to conversations and build professional relationships.
Modern meeting spaces have become much more than a spot to go over reports. They are now the perfect space for collaboration, teamwork and brainstorming. Whether you plan on having an in-person event or offering both in-person and virtual components, you will need the right technology to get your message across and encourage interaction. Researching what kind of technology each venue option has available will be an important task in your decision process. At any live event, you can expect to see audio-visual (AV) equipment. One of the primary components of any AV setup is a PA System. While it can be as simple as a microphone and a couple of speakers, this allows anyone presenting a way to communicate their message to the attendees.
Be sure to verify that your meeting space has a projector. This allows you to present visual materials on a larger scale. Monitors also play a visual role in your meeting. This tool is excellent for smaller groups and provides presenters with a different way to show a quarterly report or new marketing strategy.
Having a reliable internet connection is now more important than ever for any meeting. Verify that Wi-Fi or ethernet access will be available for your speakers. Your in-person and virtual attendees will need to connect through a venue’s Wi-Fi to stay up-to-date with work or participate in the meeting. Meeting presenters might also need a connection for their web presentation and video conferencing. A visual livestream helps your attendees to connect from their virtual setting. Webcams give your remote viewers the opportunity to consume all the presented content and engage with speakers during panel discussions.
INVITATION AND PROMOTION
Once you have scheduled your meeting, it’s time to start inviting your guests. Develop a strategy for sending out emails and promote your event on social media. Business professionals receive several messages throughout the day, and you don’t want your invitation to get lost in the swarm of digital content.
Plan on booking a creative meeting with your planning team to brainstorm an innovative way to invite your attendees. Draft up various messages for your meeting’s invitation. Include your meeting’s goal in the message and catch your readers’ attention by letting them know about guest speakers or special presentations.
Be sure to provide all the pertinent information that your attendees need for planning their trip to your event. Sell the location by highlighting the attractions of The Woodlands and team-building activities that can be done outside of meeting hours.
Don’t forget to encourage your guests to RSVP. Having an accurate headcount is essential to your planning process. This information is necessary when ordering meals, scheduling transportation and organizing the meeting room. After you have a finalized list of attendees, schedule a reminder email to be deployed close to the meeting date.
FINALIZE YOUR MEETING
As the date of your meeting draws near, be sure to reach out to the event staff and double check that everything is in place for your event. Verify that there is signage for your meeting. Visuals prevent your attendees from worrying about too many details and provide them with direction for the event’s correct location.
In an effort to prevent any communication issues, be sure that the necessary technology will be available. Before your event begins, share your meeting schedule with the venue's team. Sharing your schedule gives the venue’s team a chance to verify that they will be able to assist if any issues arise.
THE DAY OF THE EVENT
You and your team are ready to launch months of strategic planning. Before attendees arrive and the event begins, meet with your planning team and review your checklist.
This is also a good time to run through your technology setup and confirm all the necessary equipment is working efficiently. Do a walkthrough of the meeting area and make sure wires are secure and don’t create any walking hazards for your attendees. A steady internet connection will be needed for your virtual audience. Test the facility’s network strength and make sure it is strong and steady enough to support any presentations.
When it comes to event preparation, sanitation and cleanliness are now more important than ever. The health and safety of your attendees is of the utmost importance; be sure to talk with the venue’s event team and verify the room has been cleaned and is ready for guests. Also, look over the seating arrangements and confirm that the number of chairs or tables will accommodate your expected attendees.
Do a walkthrough of the posted signage and ensure that it guides your attendees to the appropriate location. The last thing you want is one of your guests wandering around and missing out on an informative presentation. Take some time to review speech scripts and any presentation files. This is a good time to make sure that all the necessary materials are compatible with the venue's technology and allows you to make all the necessary changes.
AFTER THE MEETING
Following your event, reach out to attendees and request feedback. Consider creating an email survey to gather information in a timely and organized manner. Schedule a meeting with your planning team and review your attendees’ responses. After you and the team have gone through the surveys, go over what they liked about the event and take notes on what they didn’t. All this information will be useful in planning your next meeting.
Over the weeks following the meeting, keep a close eye on social media. Check your notifications to see if any of your attendees started following your company’s page. This practice is also a good way to see if anyone has posted about the event or shared your company’s content.
Even though your meeting has ended, it’s a good idea to keep the conversation going. Update your company’s website and social media page with a recap of the event. Use this time as an opportunity to give anyone who may have missed the event a high-level overview of the content presented. Share videos of presentations that were given and links to additional material that might have been discussed or referenced during the meeting. Not all of your content needs to be formal. Keep your meeting buzzing by uploading pictures from the event.
Spending the time to solidify your meeting plan ensures that your event will run smoothly and will give your attendees the ultimate experience. Visit The Woodlands is here to help as you navigate the ever-changing landscape of hosting events. Contact us now for assistance or download our Meeting Planner Guide for inspiration. We look forward to hosting your next meeting in The Woodlands soon.