On Site Staffing
There may be times when you need a helping hand, or ten, at your conference. If your “meeting planning team” is you…where do find the help you need to man the registration desk, check to make sure sessions are set correctly, take care of late check out requests, check in on your key-note speaker etc.? Many organizations rely heavily on volunteers (especially associations and non-profits) and some corporations take some of their support staff out of the office to be on site and help out. But if your employees are at the conference, who is doing their work in the office? Volunteers may have their heart and motivation in the right place but would they know the what to do if there are not enough seats in the meeting room or who to call if the LCD projector does not work?
Here are a few options that can save you time, money and head aches:
1. The local convention bureau almost always will have temps who are trained and experienced. They are hired on an hourly basis and are local so there is no travel costs involved.
2. Hire a freelance travel director. These folks are true professionals in the meetings industry. Many are CMP’s (Certified Meeting Professional designation). Some may be local to your meeting location, others would have travel expenses, but their experience and expertise is almost always worth their weight in gold.
3. For a limited budget and simple needs, look to see if there is a local hospitality school near by. I have yet to meet a 2nd or 3rd year student who would turn down the opportunity for some real life, hands on experience. With good direction, these students are an excellent option.
In all three options noted, you would save on the expense of airfares and hotel for your own staff to travel, you would gain the peace of mind that you have experienced meeting professionals working for you and you will continue to have staff in the office so that your organization can continue to be productive and not miss a beat.