Delegates and Speakers coming into the city of the event can be demanding and even a little worried as far as travel and accommodations are concerned. In fact, most of them will only confirm their presence if they have a clear confirmation that their travel and accommodation arrangements have been properly organized.
It’s true that a majority of people, especially those who have never been to major Indian metros wrongly assume that arranging travel and accommodation in India is going to be a difficult and disorganized task.
Well, this assumption is not true but just like everyone who decides to visit a foreign country or city, it’s best to be prepared, find out exactly what our needs are in order to ensure that our stay will run as smoothly as possible. The same applies for conference participants, especially since they are coming in for business purposes.
First of all, unless we’re dealing with a very small and closed group of attendees, the best advice with regards to finding a hotel or apartment is not to book any accommodation on their behalf. The reason is simple; each person has their own preferences, needs and possibly demands. Moreover, handling sudden changes such as dates of arrival, guest numbers, or even delays and cancellations can become a real nightmare for the organizers. Instead, thinking practically and contacting several hotels to negotiate special rates and discounts remains the smartest and most cost-effective move.
Also, as previously mentioned in another post, the conference handbook and venue guide should have all the required information about transport to the conference location ready and updated, including the various modes of transport as well as the overall fares.
Speakers, on the other hand, especially if invited and paid for, are a different matter altogether. The conference committee should arrange for dedicated local transport for them and ensure the absolute best in terms of organisation. The team should have put together a hospitality committee for this purpose and ensure that all tasks — from the choice of accommodation to the different facilities are met. Ensuring that the team members responsible for the transit have all the necessary details about the flight arrivals and departures is always helpful.
The hospitality committee should also ensure that the speakers and invitees have been provided with their local contact information. A spreadsheet with responsibilities clearly defined and distributed to all team members is a good way of keeping everyone on the same page. You can always try more complex project management tools if you so wish.
More importantly, the details of stay and transportation should have been transmitted to the assigned speaker prior to the beginning of the conference in order to avoid all sorts of misunderstandings and mix-ups, which could seriously delay and affect the course of the conference.
Little gestures and extras like installing military flags go a long way especially when you want to stand out from other event organisers. What you want is, turn these speakers and invitees into regular attendees and offering little luxuries such as a free pick-up from the airport—unless they themself decline—is going to impress them and make the crucial difference.
Conference participants are usually stressed-out about the whole logistic of the trip and like nothing better than when everything has been properly taken care of, especially mundane tasks such as ordering taxis to get to a hotel in a foreign country for instance.
Include local attractions
Playing good host with foreign participants who are coming into the country or city for the very first time is extremely important, both for the well-being of the participants as well as the reputation of your event. Offering genuine information about the traditions and customs of the country to the delegates as well as invitees of your event will make a great impression on them. Conferences can be long and daunting and squeezing some local tourist information in between business talks will be much appreciated.
Also, arranging sightseeing tours and local landmarks visits for the participants’ partners is a great way of showing them your own gratitude and appreciation. Most of the time, participants are far too busy to arrange tourist trips for their partners, and this little extra perk is certainly going to impress them.
Organizing travel and accommodation is not just about booking rooms and flights, it is about being good hosts. In this difficult economic climate, competition is fierce and playing excellent host will certainly not go unnoticed with them. Over-delivering is also a great way of keeping the participants happy like we did for example with the guys from WoodPursuits.com. The bottom line is, happy participants are straight lines to procuring the sponsorship for your next event.