How to organize a successful visitor tour
Shared by: smythesteven
How to organize a successful visitor tour Forest Communicators Network, Train the Trainers Session Bilbao 14.5.2008 Kai Lintunen Communications Manager Finnish Forest Association The Finnish recipe: Put the people in a very hot room…naked… …then drown them with vodka Thank you! How to organize a successful visitor tour • Visit issues: content/substance timing and location invitations travel arrangements facilities equipment food and serving afterwork • Rough outline of timing • To remember: overall points Content Substance, themes will be decided according to the interests of guests vs. hosts Planning the outline of the programme Book and brief experts - good speakers - in time Remember: interpreting more than doubles the time Protocol issues Policy on publicity Experience program, other program (music etc.) Possible optional extra program Timing and location Coordinating the time: are there other, competing events? Duration: Busy people, filled schedules 2 working days and an optional weekend Guest/host holidays Planning, scouting and studying locations Invitations Invite the ”right” people, searching correct contact information Send invitations out early enough Send invitations out only when preliminary reservations for accommodation and possible flights have been made A preliminary programme draft with the invitation is a motivating extra Travel arrangements and transport Who will take care of airline tickets; organizers or guests themselves Host preferably to meet and greet the guests at the airport: at minimum a reliable, tested taxi/transport company and a good driver with a sign Briefing bus drivers (maps) on the sites and locations in order to avoid unneccessary searching with guests Planning excursion logistics, estimating travel distances and travel times Estimate the size of the bus needed Facilities Accommodation • Does not need to be 5 stars, but clean and providing rest • Priority for single rooms, if no specific wish for sharing a room • Saunas (hey, in Finland!) Preferably two saunas (ladies/men) in order to join dinner simultaneosuly Host for those who will not go to the sauna Meeting facilities • Secure proper professional facilities and rooms • Equipment from the meeting venue or take own equipment with? At least pc with… • Check equipment and their compatibility in advance Materials Prepare a good quality folder for presentations Give coordinates: Coloured maps of the country, of the region and of the area in question for each guest (vs. ”we were somewhere in forest”) Information on the sites to be visited: short, essential, to the point Meals and serving Assess the neccessary rhythm and times of eating (guests shall never go hungry!) Special features of the national cuisine may be presented Essential to coordinate meals and meeting snacks on a several day visit: no ”reindeer at every meal” Special dietary requirements need to be checked in advance Seating order and arrangements Refreshments (+ fruits for example) on the bus Clothing, equipment, gifts Information note, to be sent for guests in advance containing description of weather conditions and possibility of rain or hot/cold weather, packing tips for appropriate clothing Provide surprises! In experiences as well as gifts Rough outline of timing 8-6 months before: Timing and location(s) Communication begins: web? Choosing the invitees: themes, positions Formulating and sending invitation letter, signatures: who will sign? Content: Booking themes and presenters/experts Materials: ideas, planning Start on facilities needs and catering 6-4 months before Registration dead-line: registrations received, complementing back up invitations Preparing equipment (boots, ”certificates”, tailor-made accessories and gifts decided and ordered) Background materials collected 3-1 months before Further contacts with participants after registration: special needs, diets etc. Designing and booking optional, experience program Logistics and transport Contacting media vs. publicity profile Materials: Detailed information folders etc. for participants 2 weeks – 0 hours Preparing the manuscript: practical host programme with check-lists, phone numbers, contacts, timing, maps, diets, logistics, accommodation etc. Packing and cargo Execution, coordination 0 + 2 weeks • Send a thank you -letter, pictures, further cooperation IMPLEMENTATION SCHEDULE -8 -7 -6 -5 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 +1 +2 +3 Months before / after the event To remember: • One overall responsible host on top of the situation at all times • Briefing the guests in advance: The overall plan of the programme plus each session in advance: what to wear, programme, should we leave coats in bus or not etc. - big issues as well as small issues • Be ”there”, consistently but not pushily, throughout the visit! Even surprising wishes fulfilled if humanly possible. Small but significant things remain in the guests’ minds • The host needs to be contactable at all times: provide guests with a telephone number • Send someone in advance to the next site or otherwise make sure they are prepared to receive the guests... • Live through the programme in advance: go through it step by step • Everything needs to be checked in advance, nothing can be ”trusted” • There is no unneccessary checking, you can not check too much • Prepare and use checklists! Attitude is everything!!! A consistent, good-natured, natural effort throughout the visit Time keeping is essential, but never with a sense of rushing or ”too little time” Expect the unexpected • Always have plan B: weather, rush hour, flight cancellations • Be prepared to fulfil the most surprising and unconventional wishes; Contact lenses, tampons, certain brand of cigarettes, rescue pyjamas left behind, banking issues... • We aim to please… • When You feel good, we feel good Thank you!