Business Traveller

Everything You Need to Know About Planning a Conference Abroad

Are you planning a conference abroad? Make sure you’re prepared as it can be more challenging than organizing an event locally. How do you i.e. find the best conference hotels for your meetings or events worldwide? How will your delegates get there and what is the best local restaurant to entertain your attendees at night? There is a lot to consider when you take a corporate event overseas. You will be in a country that may have a very different culture, cuisine, language, and currency among other things. Moreover, your delegates, speakers, and exhibitors may require a valid passport and visa to join your event.

To ensure a successful event abroad, you need to plan your event properly and give yourself enough lead time.  That way you can make sure that your attendees get the best chance to learn and network. If you want your meeting or conference to be successful, here are some of the top things you should consider.

Plan Ahead

Finding and booking the best conference hotel worldwide is not an overnight task. There are key decisions to make. First, you need to know the exact number of attendees. This helps you to determine the size of the venue if you have never organised another event of its kind. To pick the right venue, shortlist 4 to 5 locations and get in touch early to reserve the best conference and meeting rooms at your chosen hotel.  Book flights and hotels beforehand to avoid a last-minute rush, which is usually more expensive. Coordinate the conference team so that everyone gets a visa or passport early enough.

Choosing the right Destination

Choosing a destination is as critical as finding a good venue. It is good to check with visitors’ bureau for insights on unforeseen obstacles, bank holidays and local events in the potential destination country. Your company may have a specific event destination or might ask you to find the perfect one for the event. Either way, there are several factors you have to keep in mind:

  • Availability of venue hotels in the city
  • Whether or not the destination is easily accessible from other countries
  • Modes of transport

International airlines normally offer great deals for groups so be sure to check the latest promotions. Then ask yourself how the attendees will get to the convention centre. Are there shuttle services? Consider all the above criteria as you zero in on potential conference cities.

Finding the Perfect Venue  

A good venue must satisfy all of your event’s requirements. When searching online, only use reputable websites to find the best conference hotels. First, look for event venues early to make sure they have got capacity and aren’t booked up already. Second, check if the venue is within your budget. Beware of the payment terms, liability issues and always read the fine print. Before booking a meeting room confirm the available facilities, size of the conference amenities, room layout, technical features and accessibility. Consider other breakout rooms for workshops, exhibitions, vendors and speaker sections and if there are enough hotel rooms available for your delegates.

If there aren’t enough free guest rooms in your chosen hotel for the event, you can book guest rooms in a different hotel nearby. In most cases, hotels give discounted room rates to large groups and you can always negotiate for the best price. To help you find the best conference hotels for your events you can use online platforms like ALLOCABO, an online conference hotel sourcing and booking platform to find and reserve the best conference hotels worldwide.

Also, do not forget to book a catering package for your guests. Most caterers offer a great range of lunch buffets as well as finger food or canapés. An on-site restaurant with a lounge area would also be great.

Money Matters

With the MICE industry booming, hotel managers may require all costs to be paid in advance. In some countries, you can only pay the bills with the local currency. What if your chosen destination doesn’t accept credit cards and other forms of electronic money transfer? Make sure you’re aware of how to settle your bills if you’re hosting an event abroad.

Source from Local Vendors

When sourcing for the event supplies, consider local vendors instead of importing goods to avoid shipping costs and import taxes. Finding a local vendor in a foreign country can be a bit hectic. A good idea is to ask the hotel venue you have chosen for your event, they will most likely be able to recommend local suppliers. Or check with the tourism office.

Be very specific on your budget and needs when assessing vendors. Also, ask for the best prices as well as the deadlines for deliveries. Keep in mind the exchange rates when using a fluctuating currency. Always use the quotations from the invoices of your suppliers.

Special Requirements

Does your conference need visual and audio equipment? How many TV screens, AV equipment and computer stations will the guests use? Because communication is key, you need facilities that guarantee clear presentations no matter where an attendee sits

If the event entails international delegates, your company will need translators. The staff at the venue may be multilingual so they can take care of the guests. However, you may need to get your own translators as well. Lastly, a little entertainment would score some points. Organise something memorable to make sure your delegates will remember your event.

The Takeaway

An international event is not something you can plan at the last minute. If possible, plan a trip beforehand to visit venues abroad and do site visits.  This way you can check things for yourself to avoid pitfalls and seize the available opportunities. The venue is not the only thing you want to explore. Check the surrounding areas. Are they secure? Where will the bus transporting the attendees park? Does the food match your guests’ preferences? In simple words, test the destination for yourself.

No matter where you aim to hold your meeting or corporate event, plan ahead, be prepared and have a backup plan to curb any upcoming issues. Compare various venues and receive no-obligation quotes.


Have you read?

For those who are planning their next business trip, here are the best hotels to for business travellers to stay in Rome, Ibiza, Belgrade, New Delhi, Maldives, Seychelles, Rio De Janeiro, and the Mexico City.

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Ryan Miller
Senior associate editor at ​the CEOWORLD magazine. Raised in Boston with a Brooklyn accent.
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