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Planner’s Perfect Checklist: Make an event run without a hitch

By Julianna Fazio

Meeting and event planning can be a stressful profession. With so many moving parts and details to take care of, it’s not always easy to stay organized and on top of everything. Planners who are new to the industry might miss a step or two due to lack of experience and don’t always know how to plan for mishaps because they haven’t dealt with many yet. Seasoned professionals know the job so well that steps can be easily missed when planning because things have become so habitual, planning can sometimes feel like driving on cruise control. To remember all the little details needed to make an event run without a hitch, we at M+E partnered with the team at Meet Chicago Northwest (a convention and visitors bureau in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago) and came up with a checklist to help every planner – from novice to expert.

Our list starts after your event has gone through the brainstorming stages, after the date has been set and after a location/destination has been selected. But there are plenty of decisions to be made before that point and that’s where Meet Chicago Northwest or the local CVB comes in. No one knows all the ins and outs of destination event planning like they do and no one has more free resources to help. Here are a few ways to utilize these destination experts:

  • Venue Selection: Request a site visit at properties you’re interested in and the CVB will help to set those up and answer any questions you might have during or after your visit.
  • Transportation Logistics: Let the CVB staff take one thing off your plate and handle getting your group from Point A to Point B in style.
  • Mayoral Touch: Let your group feel appreciated and have them receive a welcome letter from the Mayor himself. They’ll instantly feel part of the community – even if it’s just for a few days.
  • Vendor Contacts: Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) employees know the who’s who of their area. They can hook you up with the best in the business from A/V experts to the best printer in town.
  • Marketing Materials: Maps and brochures are obvious items to request, but what about coupons or seasonal offerings. You’ll never know unless you ask.
  • Offsite Activities: Get up-to-date information on the most popular offsite experiences and even get support drafting up proposals.
  • Boost Attendance: Most visitor bureaus are happy to help spread the word through a press release sent out to their network of industry associates.

Our checklist is here to help with everything from the initial stages, to event follow-up, to the literal checklist of items to have on hand the big day. Want to double check you’ve handled everything? Call or sit down with Meet Chicago Northwest or the local CVB or DMO staff to go over all the details.

Reposted from Illinois Meetings & Events.

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