Tips for Planning a Meeting Abroad
Tips to keep your overseas meeting on track
Planning a meeting is a tough task in any capacity, so when you toss in an entirely new (and far away) destination, things get just a bit more complicated. From the traditions and customs of a foreign country to extra precautions to follow, the choice to host an overseas meeting takes on more meaning than menu selection and technology requirements (though you’ll need to ensure those are solid, too). So if you’re getting ready to pack up your group and hold a meeting abroad, we have some important things for you to consider that should help as you pursue your wanderlust, er, perfect meeting.
Location, Location, Location
It can’t be stressed enough how important the location of your venue is. As you begin to make your plans, be sure that you select a spot that’s easily accessible by public or provided transportation. You want to ensure that attendees are able to easily get to this spot so they can arrive to meetings on time and stress-free. But you wouldn’t host a meeting overseas without wanting guests to explore, would you? So it’s also beneficial that your venue is central and lends itself to guests getting out and doing things in their spare time (or, as a part of a group activity).
The (Jet Lag) Struggle Is Real
Whether flying halfway across the world or just a couple of hours, any location operating under a different time zone will offer its own set of challenges. You want to ensure that any itinerary you have planned allows some wiggle room for guests to get acclimated — so no daylong meeting after a red-eye arrival.
Do as the Locals Do
When traveling to a new country, be sure to do your research. Adopt the customs of a local wherever possible: From mealtime traditions to even work hours (Yes, you should offer guests that extended midday break!), you’re taking in the full experience of this location, and indulging your attendees in this new place, too. Be sure to read up on the customs and traditions — not to mention currency — of your destination, and provide a handbook to attendees to follow (a few key phrases, if using a different language, are a helpful addition).
Depending on where you plan to travel, it’s really important that you research any health risks associated with your destination. The health and safety of your guests is your responsibility, so be sure to disclose what’s necessary, from routine vaccinations to further medical requirements. Nothing halts a meeting’s progress like a group of ill attendees. Speaking of, you’ll also want to ensure that your employees have access to health care via their insurance plans or through travel insurance — just in case.
Hold a Rehearsal
Your to-do list is a big one, and you’re putting a lot of time and effort into ensuring that this meeting is a success. But it doesn’t all come down to just you — a group can make or break the experience. Just to be sure everyone is comfortable and has a good understanding of their upcoming travels, hold a formal meeting before your overseas event. Go through everything guests need to know, and request that they ask any questions necessary before heading out. This way, you can rest easy that everyone has a good handle on the upcoming (exciting!) meeting abroad.