In my last blog Incorporating Mobile Tours Into Your Conference Program, I talked about how to decide if mobile tours are a good fit for your current conference program. Mobile tours can be a great addition that takes your conference program to the next level. They do have some additional logistics to sort out that differ from a regular breakout or plenary session. Planning a great mobile tour that your delegates will want to join is one thing but executing it can have its challenges. To make sure your event goes off without a hitch, here are some tips to executing a mobile tour.
1. Determine a check in process and communicate it to your delegates in advance. We have done this two different ways. First, you can print tickets for each tour and put them in the back of your delegate badges. This method works well if the delegates had to pay an additional fee for the tour or there is very limited space. When your delegates check in at registration you would make sure to inform them that the ticket is there. Or, you can simply have lists for each tour available at the registration desk and have someone check the delegates in for the tour at the designated meeting spot. Those are just two examples, so pick an option that works best for you and be sure to send instructions to delegates in advance via email. This communication would also include things like meeting spot, expected weather that day, anything they need to bring, if meals are included etc. The more information you can prepare them with the better.
2. Choose a good meeting spot. It is important to think about the logistics when you are determining a meeting spot for tours, as you don’t want anyone to miss the bus (literally). If it is a bus tour contact the venue to determine where the bus will be able to park to load the delegates. Once that is determined choose the closest exit as your meeting point. Keep in mind the time of year as well, as you don’t want to tell your delegates to wait outside the main doors when it is -30 or +30! Also check with your venue that the meeting point is appropriate and doesn’t conflict with any other events in the building or emergency exits.
3. Signage and bodies. You have all of the logistics sorted out for the most appropriate meeting spot, now you need to get your delegates there. While signage is always helpful to guide your delegates, strategically placing volunteers along the walking route can be very helpful. Make sure they are ready and in position so that as soon as delegates walk out of the plenary session or lunch there is someone there to guide them. Also, if you have volunteer room monitors make sure they are made aware of where the meeting spots are as they will likely get asked too.
4. Depart on time and stay on time. Just like you would have a moderator for your breakout and plenary sessions who is responsible to keep the session on time you will want to do the same thing for your mobile tour. This can be the same person who checks in people before they start the tour or you can even ask a delegate that you know and trust that is already attending the tour. Provide them with a detailed itinerary, contact information for any stops and contact information for the event organizer in case they have any questions or emergencies along the way.
You now know how to plan and execute mobile tours for your association’s next conference. You are ready to wow your delegates and take your conference to the next level!