Originally published in Latin Business Today, travel expert Noël Mayforth Carroll provides five meeting-planning best practices which can help improve the quality of your meetings.

Face-to-face business meetings can be productive and don’t have to break the bank if they are planned carefully and well in advance

Meetings hold such promise for moving your business forward. Hispanic business leaders should plan larger face-to-face meetings at least a year or two ahead.

By adopting these long range plans you will save time and ensure a high value goal oriented meeting while saving considerable costs on air, ground and hotel arrangements.

I often receive last-minute requests from Hispanic business owners and other firms to put together last-minute meetings, often resulting in their spending more than necessary had the meeting been planned farther ahead.

The farther in advance you plan the meeting, the better the deal that can be negotiated with the destinations, suppliers, etc. Also, once you know the time period you want to travel–look for a few different types of geographical locations.

Booking your group in a destination’s low or shoulder seasons will help control costs.

After identifying where you would like to hold your meeting. Look at your options; we’ve cited some examples in a prior article on Miami regarding considerations.

How about adding some stand-alone pre or post trips in the area?

Major destinations are a draw for significant conventions, meetings, cruises and group tours. The city and surrounding region can reap the benefits of a neighboring tourist destination by ensuring that the key entities include pre or post tours, while your employees can gain an educational experience in the area or perhaps even ask their family to join them.

These trips could also be used to zero in on specific regional offices, new management procedures etc., or just give your employees a thank you for the great job they’re doing.

Other Meeting Tips
The five meeting-planning best practices which can help improve the quality of your meetings:

1.DEFINE the reason for the meeting, the opportunity, the undertone and the scope of the meeting. Do you want to have the program sponsored?

2. MEASURE the budget including the current state of spend, processes, policies and staff involved:
~ Compile and analyze historical data
~ Research data available from suppliers

3. ANALYZE the opportunities

4. BUILD the framework for the program:
~ Engage team in review of research findings
~ Analyze return on investment (ROI)
~ Build the business case

5. After the meeting – IMPLEMENT the program:
~ Educate, market, maintain and improve the new environment

This process and timing can vary greatly based on program components, scope and resources allocated; most companies need one to three years to implement and another year or more to reach full adoption.

Author Noël Mayforth Carroll, Founder & Managing Director of The Carroll Group offers more than 30 years experience and is one of the most respected voices in luxury travel. The Carroll Group offers high end event planning services and can assist meeting planners with site selection and hotel negotiation for their future meetings and events worldwide. The Carroll Group can help you save time and ensure a high value goal oriented meeting while saving considerable costs on air, ground and hotel arrangements. Contact us today!