How to pull off an offshore meeting

As globalization continues to grow, so does the prospect of overseas meetings and events. Unfortunately, executing such meetings isn't easy.

"Whether it's a global convention or a corporate meeting or incentive, when planning an international program, every detail must be finessed with prowess to achieve success. Visas, language, time zones, and value-added tax (VAT) issues are just a few of the things that must be kept in mind when planning international meetings," reports Successful Meetings Senior Editor Andrea Doyle, who stresses to planners: "Don't expect the pieces to just fall together when planning an international meeting."

Whether you're planning your first offshore event or merely your next one, one way to ensure you pull it off is by leveraging a domestic destination management company (DMC) that you know and trust.

"Ask if a U.S.-based destination management company you may have used has global partners," Karen Shackman, president of New York City-based DMC Shackman Associates, tells Doyle. "This will prevent you from flying blind and these kinds of relationships will help a DMC partner outside of the U.S. better understand your group, especially if there are language considerations. We have these kinds of relationships in Europe, Australia, and South America."

Don't stop at DMCs, either. Tap your entire network. You may not know the intricacies of foreign destinations, but someone you know probably does.

"Use your planner networks to speak with others who've run meetings in those countries recently," Doyle concludes. "ICCA's global network of suppliers in 95 countries, especially convention bureaus, are great sources of free, impartial advice."

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