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Events Outreach

Event and Meeting Consideration List

(Updated June 1, 2012)

Initial Plan

  1. Events Outreach receives completed request form.
  2. Check availability for potential scheduling conflicts and then meet with “Host” to determine purpose, budget, and special needs or requests.
  3. Discuss with team, determine “lead” coordinator, place on calendars.
  4. Host and coordinator meet to identify committee members.

Preplanning

  • Determine the meeting or event purpose (board meeting, fundraiser, recognition, community outreach, etc.).
  • Consider the size of the group and any special needs.
  • Determine meeting dates. If dates are flexible, request a minimum of two dates to consider and check with local calendars to determine potential conflicts.
  • Determine parking locations special permits.
  • Create an outline for each session or activity, including expected attendance, seating arrangements, required setup times, starting and ending times, and audio-visual and production needs.
  • List food and beverage requirements for each occasion, including meals, receptions and breaks.
  • List AV and internet needs.
  • Consider air and ground transportation needs.
  • Plan entertainment and recreation needs, group activities and/or team-building exercises.
  • Prepare a timeline for producing invitations, event promotion, registration and production of meeting materials.
  • Consider clean-up options.

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Budgeting

  • Check budgets from similar meetings or events to determine costs.
  • Create a balance sheet listing expenses including: rental fees for meeting space, audio-visual equipment, travel, honorariums, food and beverage inclusive of tax and tips, decorations, entertainment and recreation, memorabilia, advertising, and production costs. Include license fees (if any) for music, written materials, and insurance.  Build in a contingency fund – typically 10% - for unanticipated expenses.
  • Determine which expenses will be assumed by CWU, sponsors if any, or registration fee paid by attendees.
  • Make sure funds are allocated to pay all suppliers. Establish a holding account for accrued program expenses.
  • Ensure all expenses are paid in a timely manner.

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Selecting Meeting/Event Location

  • Remember form follows function and do not lose site of meeting purpose.
  • Choose a convenient location based on where your guests are traveling from, their travel time and cost to reach destination.
  • Be aware of seasonal hotel occupancy rates, room taxes and recent changes in supply or demand that will affect your expenses.
  • Consider factors such as weather, security, political/social climate and labor considerations that may affect participation and/or costs of the event. 
  • Check to see if/when hotel will be remodeling or undergoing construction and avoid if timeline is within six months of event.

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Food & Beverage

  • Put due dates for guarantees in writing. Typically, guarantees are due 48 to 72 hours prior to the event.
  • Provide food allergy information and any special menu requests to caterer.
  • Specify the "overset" in the contract. This amount varies from 0 to 5%.
  • If pre-paying bartender, request that no "tip jar” be displayed.
  • Provide sample meal tickets to caterer if plated meal.
  • Request labeling for all food items if buffet meal.
  • Request separate bills for alcohol and non-alcoholic beverages.

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Meeting Room Setup/Configurations

  • Conference and Hollow Square: Appropriate for interactive discussions and note-taking sessions for fewer than 25 people.
  • E-shape, U-shape and T-shape: Appropriate for groups of fewer than 40 people. These are best for interaction with a leader seated at the head of the setup. Audio-visual equipment is usually placed at the open end of the seating.
  • Ovals and Rounds: Generally used for meals and sessions involving small group discussions. A five-foot-round table seats eight people comfortably. A six-foot-round table seats 10 people comfortably.
  • Preference is for no more than eight people per table.
  • Theater: Appropriate for large sessions and short lectures that do not require extensive note taking. This is a convenient setup to use before breaking into discussion or role-playing groups because chairs can be moved.
  • Schoolroom or Classroom: This configuration requires a relatively large room. Tables provide attendees with space for spreading out materials and taking notes.
  • Chevron Classroom – Preferred using 18” width and 6-foot tables.  No more than two people per table allowing three feet of space.

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Negotiating Space Contracts

Off-Site Space
 

  • Schedule negotiations early, ideally no less than nine months in advance.
  • Ask about the facility's peak and off-peak seasons, and if there are preferred days of the week to book business.
  • Hotels typically give one complimentary room night for every 50 room nights occupied.
  • Request reduced rate be allowed three days prior and three days after event for attendees who wish to stay longer.
  • Negotiate complimentary parking; wireless internet service; access to exercise room, meal for organizing committee members to discuss final arrangements; pre-determined dollar amount towards ice-breaker reception, upgrades for five VIP attendees, per-diem hotel/food rates.

CWU Campus Space
 

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Prior/During Event

  • Confirm all speakers are accounted for.
  • Confirm all hotel space and transportation.
  • Confirm all waivers (if necessary) are signed.
  • Confirm clean-up complete.

Post-Meeting/Follow-Up

  • Hold a debriefing meeting with the same people who attended the pre- meeting. Evaluate what worked and what did not; review the bills and solicit feedback immediately from the facility.
  • Ask attendees to provide feedback about the program content and format, meeting facility, speakers, meal functions and other special activities.
  • Administer evaluations immediately after the meeting while opinions are still fresh and staff can be present to collect the information. Otherwise, mail surveys or evaluations from the meeting so they are on participants' desks when they return to work.
  • Solicit feedback from the meeting sponsor. Determine whether the meeting goals were met. Evaluate the financial implications of the meeting. Identify next steps.
  • Write thank-you letters to staff, speakers, hotel staff and other vendors.

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