3. Photos don’t lie, but they can be misleading.
If you’re based in Washington, D.C., but are looking to book in Washington State, you may not have the funds to do a cross-country site visit. Don’t let a splashy website mislead you into making bad choices. Find a church member or someone else you trust based closer to the destination to scout potential hotels and venues, and then report back to you on the best options.
4. The more details in your RFP, the better.
The more information you can give a hotel about your group’s needs (i.e. guest rooms, meeting spaces, meals, parking requirements, etc.), the less back and forth you’ll have to endure when finalizing your contract.
5. Content is important, but people are even more so.
A good faith-based program always balances speakers and seminars with the right amount of personal interaction. “Socializing and engaging with wonderful people is valuable,” says Anastasia Northrop, founder and director
of National Catholic Singles Conference. In some ways, she adds, it’s more important than packing attendees into a seminar or lecture hall, no matter how dynamic the speakers.
6. Quantity doesn’t equal quality.
Big hotel chains try to maintain consistent standards across their portfolios, but there are no guarantees. Rather than rely on a call-center employee in Texas for reassurances about a property renovation in Ohio, contact your hotel rep directly. Ask about its current condition, planned or ongoing updates, and whether any work projects will affect your stay there. Don’t forget to get any negotiated terms in writing.
7. Know your budget and plan wisely.
Let past conventions be your guide when estimating the number of attendees. That figure will give you a great starting point for budget and program planning the next time out.
Don’t wait until the day the convention begins to promote it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media outlets. Use your hashtag in advertising and marketing from day one to create buzz.
9. Incorporate community service projects
Give back to your host city. For example, Christian Women Connection has hosted service projects like meal packing and collecting business clothes for women in employment transition during past conventions.
10 Don’t micromanage.
“No one knows everything,” says Chere L. Brooks, a learning events manager for Habitat for Humanity International. “Surround yourself with a competent core planning team and subject matter experts, and find a mentor or advisor who will nurture you to become a better leader,” she advises.