Larry Dempsey Church Program Coordinator Greater Bethlehem Temple Church Mason, Ohio
I would probably change theprocess on pricing for rooms. I guess with our economy the way it is and the price of hotel rooms continuing to go up, the complaint I hear from our delegation is “Can we get cheaper rooms?”
If there were some way to reduce the rates for the common man, that's the thing I would do.
James Foster Area Provost Texas Annual Conference United Methodist Church Houston
I guess I'd change some of the preliminary negotiations, being able to lay out clearly what expectations are on both parties. What rooms would be available and what, given the number of rooms you reserve, charges there would be for additional rooms — meeting rooms I'm thinking about.
Everybody has different ways of doing things. Some hotels are very accommodating about moving things around, but others want to charge you for every little thing they make available.
I would appreciate good communication up front about expectations about cost of additional space.
Susan Taylor President Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima Huntsville, Utah
We had our first Our Lady of Fatima Conference last May in Salt Lake City, and one of the things I'm hoping to do is work cooperatively with different businesses and religious book companies. Not only would they be vendors at our events, but they would also share their mailing lists with us, so we can inform more people when we're hosting an event.
We host weekend events, so we're asking hotels for complimentary coffee in the mornings, some special services that will entice people to stay at hotel. As a result, the hotel makes money, because people stay at least two days, maybe three to five days.
I've had a hotel tell me, “We really appreciate your openness as an event planner. We've had people not come back, but we don't know why.” As event planners, we have to be open with our comments.
Barbara Charles Minister/CEO Women of the Millennium International Ministries Beckley, W.Va.
While many of the hotels we work with are really great, lately I feel like hotels could be more accommodating. There are more conferences than ever around the country, and I find we need more time with a hotel to find out what's available and what they're offering. Planners need to make sure the accommodations of hotel are suitable and are in the right places, and spend more time with caterers.
It's an area that concerns me. There should be many more concessions. It's a billion-dollar industry, but services don't seem to match. If they want people in their city they need to put an all-out effort for religious conferences. I'm not putting them down, but they need more flexibility.
Eliot G. Spacks Executive Director The Coalition for the Advancement of Jewish Education New York, N.Y.
Our process could be enhanced if we could expand the time frame for preparation. It would take a lot of pressure off our program planning. We involve a lot of volunteers, and the number of volunteers available is diminishing as people's free time disappears. We're beginning to look at other models to compensate. We're seriously thinking about adding staff members to buttress the process.
I would also employ an evaluation tool to guide our future conferences. Often an evaluation is seen as an autopsy, meaning the patient is dead. I look at it as an evaluation tool, as a guide for altering processes while they're in motion. I like to say that it's not to prove but to improve.
Dane Hall District Youth Director Assemblies of God Youth Little Rock, Ark.
I would try to get with a group of people before hand and ask as many questions as possible. So when we're actually planning a meeting, it would eliminate a lot of the confusion. Make sure we get a group together, share our vision, make our plan, and have as many people as possible poke holes in it so we're not blindsided.