Meeting Planning Considerations for Religious Groups & Spiritual Events


Meeting Planning Considerations for Religious Groups & Spiritual Events

While planning a religious or spiritual group meeting can be a challenge, the personal rewards in setting the scene for a life-changing and uplifting event for the attendees are unsurpassed.  The best way to get started with your planning process (before contacting a hotel or conference center) is to consider a few factors so that your chosen meeting venue will be best able to meet your, and your organizations, goals.

Objective

Consider the overall purpose of your gathering. What do you want to have accomplished at the completion of the event?  Is it a meditative and spiritual event?  Is the event informational? Would a rural, suburban or urban location be best suited for the content and end objective?  Are there components in the program for needed breaks for the attendees?  If so, what activities should the venue plan to support? 

History 

Think about, and gather feedback, regarding what worked well and what didn’t during previous events. Which sites have you used for previous meetings or retreats? Was it the right venue for your group? Was the pricing at the appropriate level for your attendees? What was the atmosphere of the previous place? Was the environment in tune with the goals of your event? Are there any pain points you wish to avoid in your next event? 

Registration Logistics

Controlling the registration and booking process will better allow you to avoid attrition to deliver on your room block commitments. Are you setting up a registration program that will enable your attendees to make reservations?  If they try to book a room outside the block, will there also be a price increase for the registration or will you mandate that they use the hotel block to attend?

Financial Obligations

Financial obligations are contained within hotel and conference center contracts; therefore it’s important to have a financial management plan for your religious group meeting. Who is underwriting the event?  Do you have the fallback finances if the program attendance and guest room usage is not as expected?  If you depend on covering all the contractual obligations by expected attendance alone, you would be exposed financially if for some reason registration is off. If this is a first-time event be cautious and conservative on your commitments.  If a central element of the meeting is a key topic or speaker, what will happen to your attendance if there is an unexpected programming change?

Program Content

Is the program well defined before contracting with the venue?  Without this information, you may be hard-pressed to understand your logistical needs for meeting space and audiovisual requirements within the meeting space you are contracting.  What would the ratio of attendance be for running simultaneous breakout sessions compared to determining the size of the breakout rooms? Once you have signed a contract, there is the chance the hotel may not be able to provide additional meeting space.  If you request more meeting space, the terms of the agreement could change due to the issue of the amount of meeting space you would require versus the size of the contracted block.  Hotels are very stingy with meeting space commitments which are all predicated on the total room block to meeting space ratios they have established to ensure profitable allocations.


For more information on booking events for Spiritual/Religious groups, please reach out to Tim Mcgill, Director of Sales & Marketing, Asilomar Hotel & Conference Grounds

Author

Tim McGill

Timothy McGill, Director of Sales & Marketing for the Asilomar Conference Grounds, holds a B.S. in Hotel & Restaurant Administration from Western Kentucky University. He has been a DOSM with Hilton Hotels, Wyndham, Starwood and independent hotels for over 40 years. He has a wide array of experience in all hotel markets inclusive of Associations, Incentive, Corporate, Business Travel & the Religious/Spiritual for properties located in resorts, urban and suburban locations. If you would like to connect with Timothy, please email him at mcgill-timothy@aramark.com.