By: Lisa Kamper
Cruising means different things to different people. Some people like to take a cruise to disconnect from the world, while others prefer to cruise and meet a whole new group of people who like the same things that they like. This year will be my 6th time on Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas. I remember the first time sailing on this ship back in October 2011. I remember researching everything I possibly could about this massive ship and what it had to offer. I spent hours on sites like Cruise Critic (www.cruisecritic.com) chatting with other people that had been on the ship several times. These people are the ones that I classified as the experts both on this particular ship and cruising in general. I also chatted with the people like me that were new to this ship.
I was so excited about the whole experience, however, I found myself quickly falling into a meeting planner role. Let me explain a little more in detail. In a meeting planner role, there are many things that we do when it comes to event planning. Many of us have what we call the meeting planner bible, as we refer to it. This is a notebook that contains all of the information about the event that we are planning.
So, here I was at Staples purchasing a notebook with dividers and plastic zip pouches. Yes, you guessed it! I was going to make a meeting planner notebook for my cruise in October on the Freedom of the Seas. I made sure that I had everything that I needed to have the perfect vacation in the
notebook much like the meeting planner notebook we use to ensure that we have the perfect client meeting. Some things that I included in my cruise notebook were:
- Important Travel Documents (Passport, Driver’s License, Birth Certificate)
- Clothing Packing List
- Onboard Activity Waivers
- Carry-on luggage content check list
- Stationary and envelopes
- First Aid Kit check list
Here are some suggestions on things to include in your meeting notebook for your client meetings:
- Audio Visual
- Budget and Invoices
- CEU Information (If your event includes a Continuing Education component)
- Evaluations (if you require your attendees and exhibitors to complete these)
- Hotel Information & Contract
- Silent Auction (If your event has one of these)
- Rooming list & Pick Up Information
- Speaker Information and Travel Itineraries
- Attendee List
- Exhibitor List
- Exhibit Floor Plan
- Fire Marshall Clearance
- Decorator Company Contract
Many of these items are discussed in further detail under the CAE Domain #8. You can find additional information about the CAE (Certified Association Executive) Program at: www.whatiscae.org for a complete listing of all of the domains and what each one covers you can click on the following link http://www.asaecenter.org/files/CAE%20Examination%20Content%20Outline%202011.pdf .
Remember each meeting we plan is different so your meeting planner notebook may contain additional information or less information depending on your meeting. There is one saying that I was told by a mentor that has always stuck with me, “Always be over prepared”. Think to yourself any questions that someone may ask you and make sure that you are prepared with that information. It may never be asked or you may never need that document but just knowing that you have it does actually ease your mind.
So, whether you are a cruising expert, first time cruiser or a meeting planner you may not feel that you need a meeting planner notebook when preparing for your event but it could be a life saver. Cruisers remember that a small bottle of cold medicine (example: Liquid Dayquil) onboard is approximately $13.00 and if you are in port in a foreign country it can run you $20-$22. For a meeting planner we all know making copies in a convention business center is very costly. For example normally we may pay $0.02 per copy in your office, but in a convention center it may cost upwards of $2.00 per copy. Many people are not aware that in order to participate on some of the onboard activities like Rock Climbing and the Flowrider you must have a signed onboard activity waiver. This form can be completed online however; I keep a copy in my cruising notebook so that I can bring a copy with me to the
activity. If you do not have a copy and they have not received your form online you have to get a form from the guest relations desk, complete the form and bring it back to the activity. Be prepared so you never have to lose valuable or FUN time.
So, set sail and enjoy your next cruise vacation or enjoy putting your mind at ease during your next client meeting, knowing that you have everything you need at your fingertips!