Whether you’re launching a business or about to celebrate the 10th anniversary of your company’s founding, an event is a brilliant chance to network. These occasions help you reconnect with your clients and shareholders, and also give you the chance to meet new potential business partners. Moreover, events on a large scale are often covered in newspapers, business magazines, and digital media, offering you a fair bit of PR.

However, planning, managing, and executing an event is no small task. Indeed, if you’re planning a large event on an international scale, you would need to begin the process months before the scheduled date. Between booking a location, hiring catering, and handling the logistics of all your traveling guests, you have a lot to get done. This guide acts as a sort of essentials checklist. While it can’t go over everything you need to be aware of, it’ll help ensure you have your bases covered.

Location is key

Not to state the obvious, but the first thing you need to figure out is where you plan on hosting your event. Large companies often choose to host these events in exotic locations such as Taiwan, Europe, and the Arab Emirates to show the wealth and success of the business. Of course, most high-end hotels and executive centers in these far-off lands offer some event space for you to utilize, but it isn’t as simple as booking a large auditorium. The first thing you need to consider is which country and city you’re going to host in.

If you’re aiming for a warm, welcoming area where the guests can have a short vacation as well, an island location is excellent. However, these locations might be a long flight for most of your guests. On the other hand, if you want to host the event in a culturally rich city, places like Venice, Taipei, Oslo, Beijing, and London come to mind. While these cities might not feel as exotic as a Caribbean Island, they are often more flights coming and going, and a great number of amenities and luxuries are available in these cities.

Another option to consider is offering your event in a virtual format. Post-pandemic, many companies have seen the benefit of virtual conferences and events and that they allow every member from around the world to connect, eliminating the cost and any barriers international travel can come with, such as travel visas. Companies like Escapely even make it possible to do team building activities with everyone on your team, from the comfort of their own homes.

Learn the culture of your venue

The second step is closely tied with the first one, as you need to understand the culture to ensure you can plan around it. One common occurrence at these events is the exchange of business cards as people network. However, some cities have different customs regarding such gestures; you might be expected to make small talk before getting down to business, or to bow, or wait for drinks to be served.

Similarly, this will affect your catering. You will have many attendees from the region where your event is. You would want the food to conform to the customs; for instance, you would want to avoid pork dishes if you are hosting the event in the UAE. There are a number of small aspects you will have to be culturally sensitive to ensure you treat the locals, staff, and attendees with respect.

The book Kiss, Bow, and Shake Hands is a great resource for planning out this portion of the event. Be sure you communicate these regional customs to other international attendees so they can be on their best behavior.

Determine the best date and time

Even if this event will help your company celebrate and connect with new partners, the fact of the matter is that work does not stop. You’re in charge of the event, so it would be best to pick a time that suits you. For example, say that you’re in the social media business, such as managing YouTubers. You would be aware that viewership and ad revenue tend to go down in Q1, especially in January. This makes it the best time for you to host the event, as you might be distracted from the regular operations of your company, but you would not be suffering great of a loss as if you’d held the event in a peak month.

Whatever the nature of your business, you should try to host your international business conference in the ‘off-months.’ Moreover, many of the people you invite would be from the same or related industry, which makes it more likely for them to accept the invite.

Another factor that you have to consider when setting the date is the season of your destination. Oslo has beautiful fjords and lovely weather in May, but it is well below freezing during winter. Countries like UAE are a bit too hot in the summer months for formal attire, and it might be too uncomfortable to discuss business while sweating.

Another aspect to consider is the times of the day, as some places get much colder at night. Your target audience also affected the time of the event. For instance, luncheons and after-5-pm are a preferred time for targeting professionals, while weekday mornings may work better if your demographic is parents with young children. You will need to balance all these factors while finalizing the time and place of your event.

Follow up with the invitees

This tip applies both before and after the event itself. Before the event takes place, it can seem like a personal touch to send a quick follow-up email to the invited companies and ensure they are planning to attend. It makes the invitee feel like you value their presence and creates a great first impression before you even meet.

But the follow-up is even more important after the event has taken place. These conferences are a great place to make new connections and network with others in your industry. You should exchange business cards or other contact information. In this day and age, it would be reasonable to add them on social media as well. This gives you the chance to discuss ideas in more detail after the event and plan out deals. It can also be a means of adding people to your newsletter. They might not be interested in what you’re offering at the moment, but that could change down the line. Having contact information makes it much easier to build business and customer relationships.

Conclusion

An international event can be quite hectic, but with the right amount of forethought and planning, it can be extremely beneficial to your business. As is the case in many aspects of life, the key to the event’s success is proper planning. Pay attention to the time of the year and day when picking your venue, and research the location you plan to host to ensure the event goes smoothly. It is a lot of logistics to keep track of, but if you make an effort, you will come out with a considerably expanded business network.

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