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Getting the most from a bureau.

The New York-based office of the German Convention Bureau--like most international bureaus in the United States--is in North America for one purpose: to promote Germany and its members' facilities and services in the meetings and incentive market. Once a U.S.-based association shows an interest in meeting in Germany, we try to assist it in any way we can--from coordinating a site visit to locating a counterpart organization in Germany.

But planning an international meeting is different from hosting an American meeting. Associations should keep the following suggestions in mind to get the most from international bureaus.

Begin early. The earlier an association plans, researches, and collects information about a foreign destination, the more likely it will find something available that meets the needs of its organization. Early planning also enables a bureau time to provide more help--arranging site visits, contacting German counterpart organizations, and so forth.

Provide information. An association must provide an international bureau such meeting details as the meeting history of the association, duration of the meetings, spouse programs, and hotel requirements. When we contact our members to set up an appointment for a site inspection, for example, we need to know the requirements of the association so that we can pass along the necessary information to our members.

We provide our services anonymously. We do not forward the name of an association until die organization decides 63 book or make direct contact with the service vendor.

Don't double deal. Although our bureau doesn't book hotel rooms for meeting attendees, we obtain offers from our members for the planner. Thus, if you use the services of a bureau to obtain offers, please don't approach the hotels without advising the bureau. This could lead to double bookings and confusion regarding space availability.

Ask questions. We understand that meeting in a foreign destination may be a new experience. As such, we want to help make it a memorable one.

Renate Weinroth is director of sales, North America, German Convention Bureau, East Meadow, New York.
COPYRIGHT 1992 American Society of Association Executives
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Title Annotation:Allies Abroad; convention bureaus
Author:Weinroth, Renate
Publication:Association Management
Date:Sep 1, 1992
Words:336
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