When you think about planning an overseas event, the first thing that probably comes to an event organizer’s mind is more work! Yes, an overseas event requires a clearly defined scope, tons of research, and extra planning, but if you give yourself extra lead time [read: 18 months], you might just find the reward is worth the extra effort. Here are our top tips for planning your overseas conference or event:
Pick The Right Location
Choosing the right location is the difference between a memorable event that inspires return attendance and a lackluster event. Carefully consider the needs and wants of your unique attendees. What countries and cities would be the most appealing? Do your attendees want a hip, trendy city, ease of transportation options, local events in the area, children and family activities, or maybe they want museum and cultural opportunities? Craft a bespoke event that gives attendees what they want and they’ll go the extra distance to get there.
Reconfigure Your Checklist
Event planners love a great checklist! The checklist you currently use is a great starting point but you’ll want to research, search, and re-organize it for your overseas event. Once at your destination, you probably won’t be able to accomodate last minute needs so you’ll want to ensure you have everything in place ahead of time. And power adaptors. Always remember the extra power adaptors!
If at all possible, try to visit venues for yourself in person before the event. It is difficult to rely on internet research and even detailed calls with the hospitality team won’t be enough to gage opportunities and avoid potential pitfalls. Ask for detailed plans including floor, rigging, and power information and double-check the details during your site visit. Next, make sure and book hotels and flights well in advance of the event. Your team should arrive early enough to recover from their flight and settle in–there’s nothing like jetlag to derail an event!
Engage Your Attendees
Your attendees and exhibitors may feel disappointed that there isn’t time to visit the city the conference is held in so try to think outside the box when it comes to meeting rooms. Consider holding receptions, hosted buyer events, or trade shows at a unique, local venue. Make sure and use an event app, like Zerista, to engage and inspire your attendees. Our simple gamification features can award points for things like speaking a phrase in a new language, sampling local cuisine, or taking a simple city tour that includes a scavenger hunt. Encourage attendees to participate with a little friendly competition and a leaderboard where they can check their standing.