Planning an Event from Afar: Your Must Know and Must Have Items
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Planning an Event from Afar: Your Must Know and Must Have Items

If you live in one part of the country and are planning an event in another part or even a different country you know that it’s not as easy as planning at your local convention center or hotel. So how do you avoid surprises, culture differences and not having your own eyes on everything you are going to need for your event? This does take a bit of letting go of control, which I know can be something an event planner has a hard time doing, but unless you can afford to be onsite every week a month prior to the event this is going to be your best and most cost effective option.

Destination Management Company or Trusted Assistant Planner

As with any event you need key trust worthy people assisting you in all areas, but with destination events you need those people on the ground in your event city! If you are lucky you have a Rolodex of people in almost every major city to call on, but if that is not your luck you need to start your investigation immediately if you have the budget to add this in. Don’t worry if your budget doesn’t allow for a local representative, there are relationships that you can build at your venue or other areas that will and can help make sure you avoid any major roadblocks and issues in that city.


Once you have someone you can trust and count on in your destination city you need to make sure that your communication is constant, accurate and addressing your needs. Bi-weekly, and closer to the event weekly calls, are a great way to make sure you and your vendors/DMC stay on top of things. A big thing that can be helpful is remembering the time differences if there is one. Just make sure important calls and mails get to their recipient in enough time for them to address and react properly or you could be signing yourself up for trouble.


If you have a DMC they will be dealing with all the local vendors, but if not this falls into your must do list. Most venues will have a list of vendors that they work with and know that they will do an excellent job for you, their client. Use it. Make sure that you do a little of your own research on them before hiring them, but understand that these people know and have worked the venue before. The more people you have familiar with your event surroundings can only benefit the event in the end.

Culture and Differences

Be aware of the local culture. Each country and city will have their own ways of doing things and it is often not what we are used to. It can be something as simple as the chain of command that they need to follow to get an answer for you or the fact that there is a mandatory break for the staff right in the middle of one of your planned coffee breaks. Live, learn and always make sure that you have a plan B!

If I could write this by each city I have worked in I would have bits of advice specific to every single one of them, but in general the number one thing you can do is be gracious. Yes you are bringing business to their city/country, but you are also a guest. You can get what you need a lot easier with a little sugar rather than vinegar. Take it from me, I have tried it both ways and the room with the view is way better than the one next to the elevator, ice machine and housekeeping closet. Unless of course you need to give them just a little push to make sure you get what you need. Then make sure to bring them cookies, chocolates and sweets upon arrival.

Planning an Event from afar: Your must know and must have items


Written By Shannon Anderson

Shannon has been an active member in the event industry for over 15 years trying out every job she could from banquet server to Director of Events.  Taking on challenges from the screens at the Sundance Film Festival, the exotic locations of destination weddings and the slightly scary convention centers in Cartagena, Columbia, she has been there, done that and made small children and clients happy.

Currently, Shannon divides her time between writing on her lifestyle blog, Red Wine and High Heels, and working on client driven projects with her company Anderson Events.