Planning an event or conference in an area that you are unfamiliar with? Obviously, event planners have to start somewhere. Do some preliminary research with an online resource such as the Cvent Destination Guide. This will help you get a feel for the convention center, narrowing down venue options for post-meeting events, and jotting down an itinerary for the spouses and families of those attending the conference.

Once you have some ideas in mind, contact the sales manager or event planner at your conference center or hotel of choice. Make a connection with that person and utilize their resources. Because they typically have worked in the area for a while and are in the industry, these on-site contacts know some tricks of the trade that might be helpful for your group. For example, they may be able to assist you with finding a restaurant for an off-site dinner that you are hosting. If you’re lucky, you may just be able to score a discount as well!

For both novice and experienced event planners, putting together a conference in unfamiliar territory can be daunting. Arming yourself with information and an insider’s knowledge will do worlds for putting you at ease.