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Corbin Ball’s 11 Essential Event Tech Tips for Global Business Travelers

May 1, 2019

As more and more meetings go global, U.S.-based meeting planners need to familiarize themselves with the technology landscape abroad.

While navigating the technology requirements and resulting budget concerns for a domestic meeting may be enough of a challenge, the risk is only increased when one travels to a foreign country to hold their meeting or event.

Following are 11 essential event technology tips, as well as a few that can apply to other needs as well, to consider when bringing your meeting or event overseas.

1. Prepare to Be Impressed: I have spoken before groups in 34 countries and have experienced good quality Wi-Fi in most countries I have visited.

Oftentimes first-world countries such as in northern Europe, South Korea and Taiwan provide faster speeds than in the U.S.

2. Social Media May Be Blocked: The biggest internet-related problem has been getting through the “great firewall of China,” where standard social media channels are blocked.

I was able to get through using a VPN service, although it was slow.

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3. Decentralized Negotiation Landscape: Contract negotiation for services provided oftentimes is quite different than in the U.S. Convention center/venue services can be much more decentralized (dealing with separate people for catering, set-up, AV, electrical, etc.).

4. Local Contacts Are Key: It can be very helpful to have a native-language-speaking local agent/PCO to assist in the process.

Cultural differences on how things can be done can be significant. 

5. Use Tourism Bureaus: Local convention bureaus can be very helpful in understanding limitations and cultural differences.

[Best Practices: 10 Tips for Keeping Up With the Latest Event Technology]

6. Tap Into Industry Association Networks: International meeting industry associations, such as MPI, can be very helpful in finding advice from locals.

7. Utilize Existing U.S. Sources: Leverage you contacts with global sales directors of major brands to get introductions to a hotel of interest.

8. Plain and Simple: Be explicit in your requirements. More information is better than less.

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9. Use Alternative Communication Channels: Skype, Zoom, Slack and other collaboration and communications tools can be very helpful.

10. Time Zone Tip: WorldTimeBuddy can be very helpful for scheduling international calling times.

11. Face-to-Face Is Critical: Meeting with potential suppliers is highly recommended. There are cultural and professional differences that can be observed before booking.

[Read This Next: Expert Tips for Planning Meetings and Events Abroad]

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About the author
Corbin Ball | Speaker and Consultant

Corbin Ball, CMP, CSP, is a speaker and independent third-party consultant focusing on meetings technology. With more than 20 years of experience running international citywide technology meetings, he now helps clients worldwide use technology to save time and improve productivity.