- Develop a detailed security checklist for site inspections and RFPs, including items such as smoke detectors and automated defibrillators.
- Assess the worst area of the hotel. If the back stairwells are littered with cigarette butts, it's not a good sign.
- Consider the cost of security in relation to other meeting functions. (We'll spend $100 per person for a dinner, but not $15 to keep them safe?)
- Make sure that you're hooked into the hotel's security. Since fire alarms, for example, typically go off only on the floor of the alarm and the floors immediately above and below it, you might never know that your attendees had been evacuated unless hotel security knows to contact you.
- For an offshore meeting, check into alternative forms of travel, such as cruise ships, that could be hired to get attendees home in case of an air travel shutdown.
- Create a 24-hour contact information list for all your executives, including the communications or public relations officer, who will be crucial in some situations.
- Get 24-hour emergency contact information for all attendees. It does you no good to call their office if they get into trouble at 3 a.m.
- Designate one security point person in case of an emergency.
- For an international trip, make sure you know how you'll get injured, sick, or deceased attendees home — just in case.
- Because of confidentiality issues, you have to be careful about asking about people's medical conditions, but do give them a way to provide that info.
Gleaned from the Insurance Conference Planners Association Educational Forum, held July 17 to 19 at the Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans.
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