convention center spends with local black-owned businesses, and what mentoring programs or job opportunities are in place for black youths. Further, the NAACP determines how the hotel fared in its economic reciprocity initiative, a special rating system the organization applies to the lodging industry. “You can use those factors as leverage to get a better deal or decide to look elsewhere,” advises Ana Aponte, director of event planning for the NAACP.
So before planning your group’s next annual convention, don’t just make your assessment by strolling through the malls or taking stock of the city’s special events. Instead, do your homework and stir up the creative juices. You’ll be able to land more perks than you ever imagined.
Top 10 Things To Do Prior To Final Conference Negotiation
- Develop an organization presentation for proposed cities highlighting the historical, financial, and promotional impact of your organization’s conference on past sites. Include data indicating the full impact of the proposed conference on the proposed city.
- Conduct a program of city convention and visitors bureau presentations to your organization for 2 to 3 years ahead of time.
- Accept “FAM” (familiarization visits) expense paid invitations from prospective city convention and visitors bureaus.
- Conduct extensive research on prospective cities to assess their financial and local services and community support.
- Seek national/local sponsors for cash/in-kind underwriting for the conference.
- Contact airline carriers to negotiate discounted rates.
- Contact local municipal, county and state government officials to identify and access financial support programs.
- Understand that contracts are negotiable. Don’t compromise the level of quality and service you may receive.
- Consider small and mid-sized cities in your convention planning.
- Establish organization affirmative action guidelines for prospective cities.
SOURCE: ALLEN AND PARTNERS INC.
Conference Planning Timeline
|Planning Phase (month 18 — 14)
Site Selection (month 13 — 10)
Program Planning (month 9â€“8)
|Logistics (month 8 — 7)
PR/Promotion (month 8 — 7)
Registration/Exhibitor (month 8 — 7)
|Pre-Conference Coordination (month 6 — 1)
On-site Event Management