If you’re a CMP, read no further. However, if you’re new to the field, or pressed into service in a pinch, here’s a checklist of the major elements to help you plan a successful meeting. Keep in mind that the Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau is your partner throughout this process, from site selection to the wrap-up!

The Basics

Purpose/goal of meeting
Number of attendees (limited or anticipated)
Time frame/seasonality
Budget
Potential ROI (return on investment): What results are you expected to achieve? How will you measure them (dollars, percentages, increased productivity or team cohesiveness)?
Past meetings history and experiences (locations, hotels, venues, offsites, etc.)

Site Selection

Where attendees are located (air access) 
Type of meeting location desired (downtown or suburban, resort, retreat, conference center)
Number of days
Dates: flexibility needed; a surging economy means hotel occupancy is up
Number and types of hotel sleeping rooms required (including how many on-peak, or the night the majority of attendees will be there, number of singles/doubles/suites)
Types of hotel rooms/spaces required for functions (general session, break-outs, meals, refreshments, etc.)
Does the group size require use of the convention center or large, “campus” type meeting hotels? The Greater Palm Springs CVB and Palm Springs Convention Center will assist you.
Destination amenities required to meet your goals

Site Inspections

Personal visits to potential locations/properties (ask the CVB about their “Oasis on Us” programs)
Green features and processes on-site
Check out guest rooms, meeting space, catering, public spaces, staff, general upkeep of hotel. Any renovations planned or construction projects underway?
Note Greater Palm Springs’ assets and resources that meet your requirements (unique venues, restaurant options, local activities, nightlife, golf, destination management companies, etc.)

Negotiations with Property

Meeting group rates (any comp rooms per number of rooms booked? free meeting space if a particular number of rooms are booked? or minimum F&B is met?)
Rate based on future meetings you book?
If available, details of previous meetings’ hotel block and catering spend (number of guest rooms blocked, number of rooms actually used, dollars spent on catering); keep good records on your current meeting for future use.

Contracts

Proposals (and signed contracts) from hotel and venues for hotel guest room and meeting/function spaces
Menu selections and catering contracts
Beverage policy
Technical equipment necessary (video? live streaming? PowerPoint?)
WiFi available in meeting spaces? extra charge?
Attrition policy
Hotel/venue contacts and emergency numbers

Billing Procedures

Master account – what charges will go there and who can sign for them
Payment schedule

Logistics

Airlift – arranged by your organization or individuals
Transportation to and from airport
Shuttles between sites if necessary

Registration

Hotel and conference registration through your office or dedicated meeting website (pairing them encourages use of room block)
Registration desk on-site (your staff, volunteers, staffing company)

The Meeting

Agenda determined; leaders or facilitators arranged 
Speakers secured (outside or internal)
Printed materials 
Promotion (necessary even if in-house meeting, to build buzz), including social media
Signage

Meeting Room/Venue Set-up

Room sets determined
Meeting schedule and room set-ups to venue
Lighting
Green processes in place

Offsites

Attendee functions outside the hotel (meals, entertainment) 
Spousal activities and programs 
CSR/team-building activity, if desired

Post-Meeting Evaluation

Issues/challenges: how they were resolved on-site and immediately following
What can be done better next time
ROI analysis

The Binder

Prior to the digital revolution, all contracts and necessary information pertaining to a meeting were kept in a hardcover binder (aka “the bible”) for use prior to the meeting and on-site. Today, the “binder” is more likely to be in a shared digital file—don’t forget to back it up!