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Meeting planners receive training at first-ever industry bootcamp

More than 30 meeting planners from across the U.S. spent three days at the PGA National Resort & Spa in The Palm Beaches this week, for in-depth industry training sessions led by industry experts with CONTACT Planning, the Palm Beach County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) and the county’s top hotel and tourism representatives.

The group, which comprised of senior meeting planners and event managers, member service directors, executive assistants and agency management group CEOs, to name only a few, received the most current industry insight on destination and accommodation selection, contract negotiations, food and beverage planning and more. Topics discussed in each sessions, led by CONTACT Planning President Tom Pasha, included: understanding the selling process from the hotels perspective, providing planners with best practice tips for working with hotel management and creating a clear and detailed proposal worth competing for; an in-depth look on contract negotiations and overview of critical clauses and options; and a review of top five negotiation techniques in planning a successful, “on-budget” event.

“This two-day training program provided an educational and open format for planners to brush up on important skill sets, exchange ideas, gain insights into the hotels operation and probe key seasoned industry experts on questions they can’t always ask on Site Inspections,” said Doug McLain, senior vice president of Global Sales for the Palm Beach CVB.

Although the focus was on the business of planning, several Palm Beach County hotels also had the opportunity to provide an overview of their property and its customized services and offerings for meeting and convention business. The planners heard from the Seagate Hotel & Spa, Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa, and Marriott and Hilton Singer Island hotels, and even participated in a culinary competition and dinner one evening at the Marriott West Palm Beach. Additionally, host hotel PGA National Resort & Spa led an educational session specific to planning golf tournaments as part of an event schedule, provided insight on selecting the best course, creating tournament rules and formatting and selling sponsorships.

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