Ever wonder what it’s like to be a meeting planner? Especially a world meeting planner. At first glance the life of the meeting planner, especially one that travels the world, might look glamorous. However talk to a seasoned meeting planner about their travel schedule and you might not get the answer you thought you would. There’s no doubt that if you take a career in meeting planning you’ll see many exciting and unique places around the world. And let’s face it if you are an organized individual there are ways that you can go to these exotic locations get all of your work accomplished and build in a day or two to be a relax and enjoy the locale.
A World Meeting Planner Has a Number of Issues to Contend with
Many organizations keep their meetings within the United States. Or, if they’re adventurous, they will keep their meetings within the United States and Canada. Usually the reason most meeting planners and organizations choose to do this is because of the logistical issues that a meeting planner has to deal with when taking a meeting international. While many planners may prefer to keep their meetings within the United States or Canada, sometimes they have to venture internationally to spike the interest of potential attendees. And after all the goal is to get as many attendees to the meeting or conference as possible. A lot of associations make a large part of their annual operating budgets from such meetings. Therefore for these meeting planners it’s crucial that they introduce a variety to their destinations.
What are some of the issues that a world meeting planner would have to deal with? Of course the list of issues vary from meeting to meeting, but there are similar issues that arise for most international meetings. Passports are must. According to a CNN travel article in February 2011 only 30% of Americans have valid passports. That alone is quite an issue for meeting planners that wants to take their delegates throughout the world. Another issue that often arises for a world meeting planner is getting the documents to the meeting location. Traveling across borders with business documents can be tricky at the best of times. Just try convincing a customs official that you’re not there to work in a foreign country and see how far that gets you. That’s why I have always recommended to my clients that they deal with a customs broker when conducting meetings internationally. Custom brokers understand the technicalities and they also know the process very well as that is their core business. Using a custom broker does come with a price, but I believe it’s a small price to pay knowing that you need these documents for your meeting’s success. A customs broker also make sure that your meeting is registered with customs and immigration officials which helps when you’re delegates start arriving. That in itself is worth its weight in gold.
In addition to the logistics of passports and customs it’s important for a world meeting planner to know about any laws that may affect their delegates. And then it’s important that they relayed this information so that any travelers do not have any surprises upon arriving in the meetings destination.
Organizing a meeting outside of North America can certainly be an attraction for potential delegates. But a world meeting planner also knows that having a meeting outside of North America comes with some logistic issues. If you’re planning a meeting for destination that you’re not familiar with, it’s always best to check with colleagues and associations regarding issues that you need to prepare yourself with. With everything covered you can expect a successful meeting and your attendance records at these meetings will confirm that you’ve made a smart decision to take a meeting internationally.