While most of M&IW’s on-site programs average a week or less, our amazing team is always ready to settle in for longer stays. Case in point: Meetings & Incentives Worldwide partnered with one of our clients to provide event management services for their national training event that spanned four weeks. With six overlapping waves of trainees coming and going, totaling more than 1,500 attendees overall, organization and teamwork were critical to success.
Getting Down to Business
To learn more about what it took to pull off an event of such epic scale, we sat down with the lead planner, Meagan Tromburg, a Sr. Event Experience Manager who has been with M&IW since 2019. On-site for the full month, she was both the brains and heart of the event, and we’re proud to have such a talented, capable individual on our team.
This was one of M&IW’s biggest events to date since COVID! What was the full scope of the project?
Yes, this was a BIG undertaking. We had a small team of four in the pre-planning stage and 14 on-site staff that assisted throughout the duration of the event.
We started in July 2021 assisting with hotel sourcing for an attendee hotel and two staff hotels. We built the registration websites with multiple pathways to account for different registration types and the different events that each person would be attending. In addition to this program, we were concurrently running other smaller events, so there were six waves for the training event, three other meetings at the same time, and one final event immediately following the last wave of training. We managed the food and beverage, transportation, hotel reservations, signage, AV, and tenting for all of them.
We were on-site for just over four weeks with 1,510 attendees spread over six four-day waves. Each wave consisted of three days of training with one day for departures. The waves overlapped on some days, so we often managed two large groups coming or going at the same time. Some of the attendees were Canadian, so we also managed PCR testing onsite so they could return home.
Now that you’ve had time to reflect on the event, what was your favorite part?
Always the team. We lifted each other up daily and helped each other keep going. We had really tough (but rewarding!) days, and it would have been impossible without them. We were exhausted by the end of the program but proud to have accomplished it together. Plus, the client thought it was a great success, which always feels good! [Featured in the photo from left to right: Mae Ibe, CMP, Marie Ahlers, Meagan Tromburg and Michael Boston]
What were the biggest challenges? How did you and your team overcome them?
The biggest challenge was definitely registration, which was more complicated than usual due to the different waves and concurrent events. Within the six waves, everyone was divided into five different training groups with an even number of people per group. However, due to the uncertainties with Omicron, a lot of attendees either cancelled outright or initially cancelled but then decided to come after all.
Luckily, my team was always ready to lend a helping hand and their expertise however they could, which I so appreciated. We had team members managing travel changes both on-site and from home, and we were constantly updating the training groups and printing (or reprinting) badges. I really mean it when I say I couldn’t have done it without them.
On a personal level, being on-site for so long was a challenge that I didn’t anticipate. To be “on” and “available” 24 hours a day for five weeks for our client and their attendees was very intense. We always say there is no task too large or no detail too small. I love my career and being a part of this crazy industry. But, this program did remind me to appreciate the breaks and downtime between events!
What did you learn from this event? What are your biggest takeaways?
First, to have generalized ground transportation times and not try to personalize that for everyone—that was impossible due to all the travel changes, and too much energy was put into it. While it’s feasible for smaller events, it ended up being impractical for this one.
Second, to work with the client to create a complete roadmap at the beginning of the planning process to ensure everyone is on the same page. I wasn’t aware of the ancillary meetings until after the training event registration had been launched, so that complicated registration and created extra work down the road.
Third, trust your team! There were times I was worried about how we’d pull this off, but my team came through every time. Everyone at M&IW really is the best in the business, and I’m grateful to have them on my side.
Partner with Meetings & Incentives Worldwide
Interested in partnering with our team of event experience managers and on-site support staff on your next event? We’d love to hear from you and learn more on how we might be of assistance. To get started, CONTACT US.