Meeting Planning Tips
First time planning a meeting? No problem, we have years of event planning under our belts and have seen it all.
To help you determine the best fit for your group, here are our top tips:
Consider the type of event you are planning
If you are planning a business meeting, think about what you want to accomplish in the time that you have. Is it interactive? If so, the room should be set so that people can see and communicate with each other – a boardroom or u-shape setup works well for groups up to 25, larger groups may benefit from a hollow square. Is there group work? Meeting rounds may be the way to go here. Is it mainly presentation based? A classroom setup will focus all eyes on the front of the room. These factors will all help you to identify the best way to set up the room.
Decide if you will be serving food
The best way to maximise how much people take in is to allow regular breaks and rest periods. Most adults are out of the habit of learning in a meeting environment, and so a full day of meetings can be exhausting. Stopping for 15 minutes for a coffee, a light snack and a bathroom break, and for 45 minutes for lunch will help most people reach their maximum ability to retain information.
If you are serving food, this will also impact the meeting setup unless you have a separate meal room. Trying to eat soup and a sandwich on a very small table or no table at all is very tricky.
Not all meetings need food. If this is a quick info session after dinner or at a time that does not overlap with a regular meal period, maybe a food offering isn’t required. The offer of goodies does attract people, though, so if you are wanting to ensure a well attended event, add something cost effective and reap the rewards.
Balancing the meeting and all other aspects of your meeting can be very delicate. Your Catering contact can help you identify what your priorities are and find the best fit.
Take on the dreaded AV…
If your meeting is presentation based and you yourself are not fully technologically savvy, the fear of AV malfunctions can be paralyzing. We feel your pain and have a fabulous solution in the form of SW Audio Visual. SW provides audio visual services to our clients, which means that they are available and happy to consult on your needs during the planning process, they can advise of the best arrangements to meet your needs, they set everything up according to your specifications and walk you through your presentation before your group arrives. If you’ve forgotten partway through the day how to make something work, they are just a phone call away. SW is so available to you; they actually have an office in the hotel.
Common Planning Deadlines and Frequently Asked Questions
We are flexible and will work with you to ensure your meeting accomplishes what you are hoping for, however to ensure that we can deliver the best service, we need time to communicate fully with our teams who will facilitate your event.
When can I book my event?
If your event is a meeting that requires fewer than a total of 10 guest room nights (5 rooms for 2 nights would be 10 total room nights) we are able to book your meeting space through our Catering department up to 90 days prior to your event date. If you have more than 10 guest rooms, a Sales Manager will work with you on your room block and meeting space and you can book further in advance.
When are my meeting details needed?
We require confirmed details in the form of a signed Banquet Event Order 14 days in advance of when your program begins.
How soon do you need guaranteed numbers?
Guaranteed numbers for food and beverage are required 3 business days prior to your event. If your event is taking place on a Monday, confirmed numbers are due on Wednesday so that we have time to order and prepare appropriately.
What happens if more people arrive than I guarantee for?
You will be billed for the guaranteed number of guests, or the actual, whichever is greater.
What about payment?
There are two ways to handle payment. The most common method of payment is by company credit card, which we require in advance with a signed authorization indicating which charges are approved to be applied to the card. Another common method for larger companies who host a lot of events is to complete a credit application, a process which takes approximately 45 days, and which allows you to pay by cheque.
What else should I know?
There are a few things that are not obvious that you should consider when planning a meeting. For instance, if you are planning the meeting but will not be on-site for it, you need to provide the name of the person who is appointed to make decisions that will impact the program and/ or the final bill. That person is recognized by our staff as the go-to person, and is the only person to whom our Guest Services Agents will issue a key to the meeting room (where applicable) for security reasons.
If you have guests with specific dietary requirements, please relay that information to your Catering contact regardless of how small the request may be. We may be able to accommodate that need within our menus already, however if we don’t know about the allergy or dietary requirement we aren’t able to consider it when preparing the food.
Any information about the timeline of your program is great information for our team to have. It gives us the ability to be proactive if we see that your program is running ahead of schedule, to ask if you would like your mid-morning break, for example, delivered early.
Our Catering team will ask you a lot of questions to ensure that they know everything they need to help you host a great event. If you have missed something, chances are they will catch it. Once the BEO has been signed, if you have further changes, just call or email and your Catering contact will take care of it from there.
All our food and beverage services are delivered prior to your break time so that we are able to ensure that everything is complete and ready for you when you go on your break. If you are discussing items of a sensitive or private nature, please advise us and we will adhere to the timelines you have set for our deliveries to ensure your confidentiality is not compromised.
When you are here for your meeting, a member of the Banquet Management Team will meet you and run through the day’s events with you to ensure there are no changes. They will give you their contact information so that if you do have any updates during the day you are able to contact them directly.
We do our very best to accommodate any last minute needs, however can’t work miracles. If your last minute needs involve feeding a group twice its contracted size, we promise to try to do something for you, but the original menu may not be an option. Please bear with us; we are super humans, but not superhuman.