Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What is a Post-Con?

This may seem pretty self-explanatory. After all, if a “Pre-Con” is an event that takes place before a conference or convention, then it stands to reason that a “Post-Con” is an event that takes place after a conference or convention. But, if that’s all it is, then why am I even bringing this up at all? Because that is not all that it could be; there is another use of the term that, just like a Pre-Con, has a particular significance to meeting planners – one that is just as important to what we do.

A Post-Con, in this context, is a meeting between the venue and the meeting planner that takes place right after the event is concluded in which a couple of general areas are typically covered.

Group Performance/Summary of Charges: When I do a post-con, the hotel will typically present me with an up-to-date count of the number of hotel rooms used on each night my group was in-house. Sometimes, I will also get a delegate report listing the names of everyone who stayed that the hotel. In addition, if I have not received them already, I will also get copies of all of my banquet checks to review and sign. Any miscellaneous charges that have been placed on the master account are also reviewed for accuracy. The purpose of reviewing all of these documents and reports is to ensure accuracy in billing. It can be very difficult to correct an error after you have left the property, so anything you can do to minimize the possibility of errors will make your life much easier later on.

Venue Performance: Think of this as an evaluation of the property. How well did they perform for your group? Did meal functions take place as ordered (correct food and times)? If the hotel provided audio-visual equipment for you, was that service provided promptly and accurately? The list of potential areas that you can review here is nearly endless but you can narrow it down to those items that are the most important to you or your group. If you already have feedback from your attendees (good or bad), this is a great time to share that – while it is still fresh.

Although I mentioned that this takes place right after the conclusion of an event, the reality is that many planners are more than ready to hit the door and be on their way home at the conclusion of the event – so it may not happen until after the planner gets back to their office. Even if you cannot (or will not) take the time to do a post-con before leaving the venue, make sure that you do it as soon as you can. The longer you wait, the harder it will be for you to recall details (unless you took extensive notes) and the harder it may be to contest questionable charges on your bill.

Doing a post-con is also a key component of planning for the group’s next event. It is a great opportunity to build history for the group as well as to honestly evaluate how well the group and the venue fit together. This open exchange can bring to light group preferences or behaviors that you may not have previously known about, or point out areas of service that the hotel can improve upon – or it could just confirm that everyone did a great job in supporting your event!

~ Karl Baur, CMP • Project Director, RDL enterprises