Planning a conference or meeting can be challenging at the best of times. Meeting planners are faced with the challenge of how to attract attendance while keeping the meeting’s budget in check. A juggling act for sure. Being a meeting planner international can add to an already busy workload. But today, many meeting planners are looking to international destinations as a way to not only add variety to their meetings but also as a way to draw attendance.
At a glance being an international meeting planner may look glamorous. And let’s not kid ourselves there are many exotic destinations in this world that we would all be thrilled to take a meeting to. But when you look deeper into the logistics of planning an international meeting, you’ll find that there are additional planning steps required. Of course, all of this becomes part of the decision-making process for meeting planner.
The Pros of Being a Meeting Planner International
As the saying goes, first the good news. While the US is blessed to have many different locations for meeting planners to choose from, sometimes the desire to take a group internationally can be rewarding. Some of the benefits for hosting a meeting internationally are:
- the choice of exotic locations
- international meetings help boost your attendance
- provides variety especially if the same group meets often
- helps a meeting planner easily plan additional activities and sightseeing tours
For a meeting planner, international destinations can help achieve the desired budget. Today, one of the biggest challenges for meeting planners is providing fresh ideas so that their delegates want to register for upcoming meetings.
The Cons of Being a Meeting Planner International
Of course for all the good news there is some bad news (or rather, additional tasks) for taking a meeting offshore. Some of the additional tasks that come with being a meeting planner international are:
- passport issues
- have to be aware of local laws and customs
- language barriers
- terrorism (Americans/Westerners are increasingly becoming targets of terrorism in certain parts of the world)
So for many organizations, determining whether or not to take their group to an international destination is sometimes a matter of sitting down and evaluating whether the pros outweigh the cons. And really the cons listed above are basically considered to be additional tasks that a meeting planner will need to oversee for their meeting. For example, Canada, while it requires a passport for entry, is a common international destination for many American groups. It represents a change yet the laws and customs of Canada are very similar to the US – so there is some comfort level for meeting planners in selecting Canadian destinations.
According to Cvent, international meetings are on the rise. Over 20% of international meeting planners say that they plan to increase international travel in the foreseeable future. Based on that piece of information it’s pretty safe to say that many meeting planner feel that the pros of taking a group offshore outweigh the additional tasks that are associated with such travel.