Travel and Education 101

28 05 2010

Hard to justify a four-day education conference in the Bahamas? As travel budgets evaporate and professionals in virtually every field are scrutinized for their expenses, the onus falls on the conference planner to provide fewer golf outings and deep-sea adventures.

It is easy for the professional event planner to find and organize entertaining options to entice attendees to attend their conferences, but these same attendees are now more accountable than ever to explain to their organization how the true benefits of these expenses will enhance their performance and allow them to bring more skills to the business.

Take the extra time to discover the hot topics in the industry in which your client is involved.   Check out the book

    Travel and Entertainment Best Practices

at Amazon books. Assure that your presenters are overqualified to present these topics; insist that they can provide their educational content (as well as what your attendees should be able to take away from these sessions), either in electronic form which can be linked to the conference website, or at least bulletpointed in documents they can take with them from the conference.  Offer at least four consecutive presentations to choose from, assuring there are offerings for various levels of knowledge, and repeat once each day for those who are interested in more than one topic.

Now it is time to contradict myself.  The old adage “All work and no play make Jack a dull boy”.  Learning, learning, and then learning some more, no matter how fascinating the subject matter, is exhausting.  Simply offering a cocktail reception following a grueling day of learning is just boring.  Depending on your budget, find a way to get the group completely away from the educational environment, and excite them with something unusual, entertaining, and memorable.  Let them stay out and play a little later – start your next day ‘s sessions at 10:00 AM instead of 8:00 AM.  They will learn more, retain more, and appreciate more if they are allowed a bit of recess time.

Your attendees will thank you, and the people who grudgingly authorized the expense will see immediate results in rejuvenated workers.  Sure this is a tough economy, but the companies who stop investing in performance enhancing activities for their employees will be  left standing in the dust when the economy improves, and their competitor’s well-educated employees will be miles ahead of the curve.