Equipment and Meeting Rooms:
Make arrangements for proper set up of meeting rooms and acquisition of equipment for all programs and meetings.
Equipment can be a very significant expense. Work with Program Committee, Officers, and Exhibits Chair to get information as early as possible for budget.
Hotels will NOT provide microphones, projectors, etc. free of charge. You may also have to pay for risers or podiums. Do not assume that the hotel provides anything! Ask what is and isn't included.
Assume that all but the smallest conference rooms will need microphones and that multi-speaker panels will probably want multiple microphones. Use of Powerpoint and LCD projectors has become the norm! Figure that many programs will need them.
The hotel will probably give you the name of a company that rents equipment. Find out if other companies are permitted, as you may get a better deal from someone else.
The hotel may allow you to bring in your own equipment (from a law school, for example).
Be sure equipment company bid includes having someone available to set up and deal with any problems. If you bring in your own equipment, be sure you also bring someone who knows how to "troubleshoot" it!
BewareBif you don't use the hotel company, there could be "patch fees" to connect your equipment to speakers or lines owned by the hotel or by their usual AV company.
Include costs on checklist that goes to speakers so they at least have some idea what they are asking for!
Due to cost, MAALL does not provide Internet lines for speakers, but they might be provided for vendor exhibitors who will pay the cost as part of their fee. Therefore, find out cost and give that information to Exhibits Chair.
Decide early on who will be responsible for contacting speakers and meeting coordinators to get information about room setup and equipment needs. Could be Local Arrangements or Program, but be sure someone is doing it.
Use checklist at end of chapter to be sure everything is covered. Insist that every speaker and every person who is in charge of a meeting complete a checklist by a deadline 4-6 weeks before the meeting.
Coordinate with Exhibits Chair to find out needs of exhibitors. Exhibits Chair should notify potential exhibitors that availability of Internet lines may be limited. Cost for the Internet lines should be included in the exhibit fee.
Coordinate with Food Chair to determine setup and equipment for meals, which may include a meeting or program.
Room Size and Setup
You will need to tell hotel the number of people each room must be able to seat for each program and how the room should be set up.
You will need to estimate the number of people attending each program based on its subject matter, speaker, etc.
If registration form asks people to check off the programs they plan to attend, this information can be used to help plan room size and setup, but keep in mind this is strictly an estimate. Some people won't check anything, and some will go to a different program than the one checked.
Ask hotel to avoid having speaker near the only entry to a room, if possible. (Discourages late comers from attending program if they have to walk by speaker.)
Ask hotel to provide a table inside main entry to each room so attendees can pick up presentation handouts as they enter the room.
Ask hotel to provide water in each room.
You will need to get a listing of the meeting room names or numbers and which programs will be in each. Provide that information to the Publications Committee for printed program and signs.
You should also get a map of the hotel meeting rooms which can be put in the printed program.
During the Meeting
Before the program begins
Someone should check each room before each program to be sure it is set up properly, that there is water and that speakers have what they need. If not, contact hotel staff or AV person immediately.
Put out any necessary signs. These might include: sign by doorway indicating speaker and program, name plates for speakers (optional), vendor sponsorship signs for meals.
During the program
Expect that speakers or participants may want room to be made colder or warmer. Communicate that information to hotel staff as needed, but be sure only one Local Arrangements person does so. (Otherwise they might raise the temperature 5 degrees, then another 5 degrees when someone else asks....)
Deal with any problems that arise during program, such as noisy distractions outside, lights not turning on or off, equipment not working properly, etc.
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