As a meeting and event planner, you are expected to deliver perfection. No one understands this challenge better than our own Four Seasons planning professionals. We asked our conference services teams across the globe for their best advice on how to execute an exceptional event, from site inspections to breaks.

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9. Ensure that you have sufficient on-site tech support.

“In this digital age, technology is part of every presentation, and therefore you need to ensure you have sufficient on-site tech support, as well as stable and consistent high-speed WiFi,” says Anna Wong, Director of Catering and Conference Services at Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong. “Complimentary mobile phones and hotel mobile apps (like the Four Seasons App) can help guests stay connected in a foreign country."

Ensure you have adequate on-site tech support

10. Incorporate a sense of place.

Take advantage of your destination, and incorporate elements of the local culture and landscape throughout the program, including any attendee gifts. According to Kevin Moul, Director of Catering and Conference Services at Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale, “In Scottsdale, this might mean greeting attendees with a Native American art piece and a cowboy boot and hat fitting upon arrival, then adding a cowboy crooner and stargazing to a casual welcome dinner under the stars.” Think outside of meal times too: our Director of Catering and Conference Services at Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, Anna Wong, suggests preparing body and mind for a productive meeting with a locally inspired group exercise, such as a traditional Chinese martial arts session. 

Bring the Tuscan market to your break in Florence A sense of place in Scottsdale A sense of place in Hong Kong

11. Create an event journey, not just an experience.

"Think of ways to include your theme not only during your event, but also before and after to create a total journey,” says Kristy Bennett, Conference Services Manager at Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World® Resort. “Send out a little teaser piece in advance to set the tone, make sure the menus and activities pick up on the theme, and then plan a farewell gift or create a memorable moment upon the event’s conclusion to leave a positive lasting impression. Hosting a Spanish-themed dinner event? Greet guests with tapas and sangria en route to the event location. Finish off the evening with a surprise Spanish coffee to-go station as the final touch."

12. Take your group off site. 

Show off your destination with an off site event in a landmark building. This gives your group a unique setting, a story worth sharing upon their return home and a lasting memory. When planning an off-site event, Falko Siecke, Director of Catering at Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest, recommends a multi-step process. First, your venue's Conference Services team must hold a local scouting tour to discover and evaluate off site opportunities. Then your Catering manager should visit the preferred off site venue to uncover any specific challenges to servicing the event. Next, all involved vendors (AV/Technology, Staging, Florist, Entertainment) should participate in a site visit and brainstorm how to elevate the off site product. Following this step, the different Catering operations teams (Stewarding, Kitchen, and Service) should review the venue to solve for logistics. As the planner, incorporate at least 1-2 visits accompanied by your CSM if possible: this ensures you have a complete understanding of how the off site will work.

Budapest Opera House At the Tiffany mines in Santa Fe Offsite in Florence

13. Don’t be afraid to go “off menu” too.

“Creative food and beverage ideas can help people network and mingle,” points out Deanna Brown, Director of Catering and Conference Services at Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail. “What foods have people not seen before? Maybe it’s a unique local ingredient or a fun presentation style. That can get people making comments and sparking conversations. You can also help to promote a social atmosphere with family-style meals or food stations where there’s more mixing with the crowd, versus a straightforward buffet line-up.” Incorporate locally sourced, seasonal and fresh ingredients in collaboration with your venue’s catering team.

Family style dining in Vail

14. Connect with your venue, on and offline.

"When selecting a venue, 70% of the decision-making process is informed by images of the venue and the emotions that they inspire," according to Elisa Peroli, Director of Catering & Events for Four Seasons Hotel Firenze. When you're in the planning stage, follow your event venue on all social media outlets and find visual inspiration to help with your planning process. Search through your host property's past and current posts for event setup ideas, off site examples and more. This helps you explore all the options, and provide a visual reference to your CSM. Beyond the world of Facebook and Twitter, take the time to attend at least one industry conference per year and stay connected to your venue's contacts while forming new relationships with the right contacts at other potential venues.

15. Think big, and empower your partners to rise to the occasion.

Your organization is investing in this event: make sure it has a lasting impact. Inga Winkler, Director of Conference Services at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, says, “Reach for the sky and ask for the impossible. Your internal and on-site teams will rise to the challenge. It allows us to come up with the most amazing experiences and concepts. Review your past programs, and then do something that hasn’t been done before. Have a tree house built for a ‘Dinner in the Sky.’ Why not hunt for your own lobster in the ocean and help the chef prepare it for an unforgettable dinner the same evening? Almost everything is possible, but you first need to ask.”

Thinking big in Hualalai


Experience the exquisitely transformed Art Nouveau palace at Four Seasons Gresham Palace Budapest – a stunning event space that accommodates up to 220 people in flexible function spaces totaling over 761 square meters (8,191 square feet), centrally located at the end of the renowned Chain Bridge.