Post By DuWayne | Posted On Monday, March 2013

Mule

“You’re a Meeting and Event Planner?  It must be so nice to be able to travel and see such amazing places!  If you’re ever looking for help, give me a call!”

I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve heard this from individuals I’ve met on planes, while waiting in airports or at Industry functions.  Much like any other job, the fact is that unless you’ve actually worked as a meeting or event planner you really don’t have any idea of exactly what is involved.  The old adage “Don’t judge a person until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes!” comes to mind but, after reading the schedule below I’ll let you be the judge.

I’ve just finished working a Corporate Incentive Meeting in Napa Valley, CA and everyone was “so jealous” that I was in Napa.  Below is my schedule for the past 5 days:

On-Site Schedule/Itinerary

Wednesday (18.25 hours)

3:45am – Wake up, get dressed and head for the airport
6:50am – Flight to Oakland, CA
10:15am – Arrive in Oakland, CA
11:05am – Pick up rental car and drive to Napa, CA (1.25 hour drive)
12:30pm – Meet with local transportation company to finalize schedule of events happening the next 3 days (1 hour)
1:30pm – Drive to winery
2:00pm – 4pm  Meet with winery staff to finalize dinner event options for group dinner on Saturday evening (2 hours)
Meet with chef at winery to review menu items, timeline of service
Walk the space for the dinner and discuss any final changes/additions
4:30pm – Check into Hotel
5:00pm – Drive to golf course to review items for golf outing and discuss any changes
6:15pm – Meet with off-site venue staff for Friday’s dinner
7:30pm – Stop for dinner
8:00pm – Complete registration packets
10:00pm – Bedtime!

Thursday (17 hours)

6:00am – Wake up and prepare for the day
7:00am – Breakfast
7:30am – Pre-con with hotel staff to discuss event schedule and any changes/additions
9:00am – Review rooming lists and set up hospitality desk and registration area
10:00am – Advance VIP guest rooms with hotel staff and checklist to make sure amenity is in room and everything is ready
11:30am – Obtain room keys and registration packets for VIPs to meet as they arrive
11:45am – Check that bell staff is ready and waiting to assist guests as they arrive
12:00pm – Arrivals
12:10pm – Escort VIPs to their guest rooms and explain hotel items (meeting rooms, restaurants, bars, workout facilities, etc.)
1:30pm – Resolve any guest room issues and individual itinerary changes (i.e. excursions, guest room issues, etc.)
2:00pm – 5:00pm- Staff Hospitality Desk for any guest questions concerning the event
5:15pm – Close Hospitality Desk and change clothes for the evening event
5:30pm – Meet with staff to walk through/check the setup for the evening dinner event
5:45pm – Make sure the entertainment is set up and ready to go – discuss timeline for event, breaks, check music volume
6:15pm – Open doors and wait outside to guide any early arrivals for dinner
6:30pm – Reception begins
7:00pm – Dinner begins
9:00pm – Dinner Service ends
10:00pm – Event concludes, check venue for any items left by guests
10:30pm – Return to hotel
11:00pm – Bedtime!

Friday (18 hours)

4:15am – Wake up and meet VIPs for early departures
7:00am – Breakfast
7:30am – Set up Hospitality Desk and check meeting room and a/v setup for morning meeting
8:00am – 12pm Business Meeting
8:00am – 12pm – Staff Hospitality Desk and address any needs during the Business Meeting
12pm – Front transportation for golf outing
12:15pm – 12:45pm – Lunch
1:00pm – 5:00pm – Staff Hospitality Desk
5:30pm – Meet with off-site dinner venue to review event setup and service schedule
6:00pm – Direct guests towards dinner event venue
6:30pm – Reception begins
7:00pm-10:00 – Dinner

 Saturday (16.5 hours)

6:15am – Wake up
7:00am – Breakfast
8:00am – Staff Hospitality Desk
9:45 am – Meet transportation for afternoon off-site excursion
10:00am – Offsite excursion departs
10:15am – 2:45pm – Staff Hospitality Desk
3:00pm – Offsite excursion returns to hotel
5:00pm – Close Hospitality Desk
5:15pm – Meet with final evening’s off-site dinner venue to discuss any changes/additions and service schedule
5:30pm – Entertainment arrival and setup
6:30pm – Transport guest to off-site dinner event
6:45pm-7:15pm – Reception
7:15pm – 9:45pm – Dinner
8:00pm – Meet sedan to transport guests with evening departure to airport
10:00pm – Check venue for any items left by guests and return to hotel
10:45pm – Bedtime!

Sunday (19 hours)

4:15am – Wake up and check on transportation for guest early departures
5:00am – First guest departures
9:00am – Final guest departures
10:00am – Box and ship meeting materials
10:45am – Pack
11:30am – Check out of hotel
11:45am – Drive back to Oakland International Airport
1:30pm – Return Rental Car
4:45pm – Flight back to San Antonio
11:20pm – Arrive back in San Antonio!!

Total hours in 5 days = 88.75 hours

This in no way takes into consideration the incredible amount of hours spent in the pre-planning, contract negotiations, budgeting, and billing reconciliation which I haven’t began to completely figure yet!

The next time someone asks, “Why is that so expensive?” I really want to give them a copy of this and tell them that, if they would like, I can just bill them hourly and watch their heads explode when they receive the final bill!