Obviously, planning a meeting outside of your home country brings new challenges. Longtime global meeting professional Carol Krugman, CMP, CMM, has created an A-to-Z checklist to help—a list of things to consider, from categories you might take for granted in your home country (such as language) to areas that might be completely new (such as V.A.T.).

“Effective risk management is based on an orderly approach to each component of the planning process,” Krugman says. “When the meeting will be taking place in an unfamiliar environment—where the language, culture, and business practices are not familiar to you or to your attendees—the potential ‘risks’ are increased. This A-to-Z exercise is one way to identify, anticipate, and organize your ‘what if…?’ scenarios. Add your own insights as you discover them.”

In fact, we invite you to post your ideas as comments below, and we’ll regularly re-post the list with the new entries. In particular, Krugman needs help finding ideas to go under the letter “Y.” All “Y” suggestions received by January 6, 2010, will be entered into a drawing to win an autographed copy of Krugman’s comprehensive book about planning international meetings, Global Meetings and Exhibitions.

Here's the list:

A

Accessibility

Airline service

Audiovisual requirements

Allocation of staff resources

Ancillary activities

Ancillary staff

B

Backup systems

Budget caps

Budget cuts

Business practices

C

Climate

Communications

Contingency funds

Contracts

Credit

Crime

Crisis management

Culture shock

Currencies

Customs (materials entry)

Customs (social)

D

Décor

Developing countries

DMCs

Dress

Drugs

E

Economic stability

Electricity

Emergency services

Entertainment

Environmental responsibility

Ethnocentrism

Etiquette

Expectations of attendees

Excursions

F

Facilities for disabled attendees

Food & Beverage

Forward contracts

Freight forwarders

G

Gifts

Gratuities

Ground operations/operators

H

Health care services and facilities

Holidays

Hygiene

I

Immigration laws

Infrastructure

Insurance

Internet

Interpreters

J

Jewelry

Jingoism

Jokes

K

Kissing

L

Language

Laws

Leisure activities

Liability

Local resource network

M

Marketing

Medicine

Metric system

Mobile phones

Money

Mores

N

Negotiations

Networking

O

On-site resources

Options contracts

Outsourcing

P

Passports

Political stability

PCOs

Promotion

Protocol

Q

Quality assurance

Quality control

Quarantine

R

Registration

Religion

Resources

Rooms (meeting, sleeping)

S

Safety and security

Scheduling

Sex

Shipping

Shopping

Simultaneous interpretation

Site selection

Social networking

Software

Special events

Sports

Strikes

T

Taxes (VAT, IVA, GST)

Technology

Telephones

Temptations

Terrorism

Time (concepts of)

Time (zones)

Tipping

Translation

Transportation

U

Unexpected, unforeseen, unheard of

V

Vendors

Venues

Video standards

Visa requirements

VoIP

W

Water

Welcome materials

X

Xenophobia

X-ray machines (airports)

Y

Year-end reporting

Yield management

Youth activities/concerns

Z

Zero-base budget