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On-Site Operations
The operations phase of event management begins after all the pre-conference
details have been attended to and continues through the meeting until
everyone departs. It is the culmination of the vast myriad of planning details
and efforts which preceded the meeting. For most events, this phase starts one
or two days before the meeting with preparations for the main group arrival.
During this time, further meetings are held with various outside suppliers and
facility staff. The following are some of the meeting elements whose details
must be reviewed, disseminated, and confirmed:
z Morning and/or evening staff meeting schedule.
z Assignments and areas of responsibility, especially with volunteers.
z AV materials, programs, equipment setup, rehearsals, and personnel.
z Accounts, including master account.
z Headquarters operation schedule and duty roster.
z Emergency, contingency, and security plans and procedures.
z Evaluation of meeting by session and overall.
z Food & Beverage functions, menus and guarantees.
z Housing, reception and registration.
z Information for switchboard and reader boards or video displays.
z Conference materials and handouts.
z Message center operations and staff.
z Press room facilities, staff and accreditation of media representatives.
z Conference registration, badges, packets, tickets, etc.
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z Room setups and turnovers.
z Program support: Signage, speakers, room chairmen, collateral,
evaluation forms.
z Exhibit setup and operations.
z VIP reception and policies.
z Transportation and tours.
Hotel Registration
One of the most frequent complaints on evaluation forms is the inconvenience
of long lines at the guest registration desk – especially when large numbers of
registrants arrive at the same time. To ameliorate the situation, experienced
meeting managers arrange in advance to have additional staff manning the
reception counter.
Other strategies to avoid congestion or speed up the procedure include
pre-registration on the hotel’s website and combining hotel and event
registration in the same area. In both methods, key cards are given out on
arrival thus confirming occupancy.
Taking their cue from the airlines, Hilton Hotels introduced a welcome
feature at many of their hotels and other venues are following suit.
Self-service kiosks developed by IBM are enabling guests to avoid long
lines, complete the registration procedure, and receive their key cards The
same system can accommodate check-out and airline check-in.
Event Registration
The registration area should already have been planned according to
requirements of space and use. A floor plan prepared prior to arrival and
reviewed at the pre-con meeting, will allow rapid set-up of equipment and
furnishings, and leave time for completing decorations with banners, floral
arrangements and displays. Consider music, either live or recorded, to help
relieve the monotony of standing in lines. Signs are placed in designated
locations throughout the area. Clear signage is important. Signs printed
rather than handmade, color coordinated to attract, with liberal use of
conference theme graphics will enhance the appearance of the registration
260 Operations
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