Logistics 101 for Latin American Meetings


More U.S.-based companies are expanding into Latin America and planning meetings in the region. While each of the dozen or so different countries in the region is unique, there are some general logistical factors and issues that savvy meeting planners and organizers should keep in mind:
*Be Prepared for Tech Problems
Most facilities in Latin America have state-of-the-art technology and A/V equipment, but there are still many that do not. Planners should keep equipment in mind for meetings. Planners should also know that electronic sourcing is not as popular in South America as it is in North America, according to a recent article at SuccessfulMeetings.com.
*Stay Safe
Making sure your attendees are safe should be of prime concern. For example, countries like Colombia are generally considered safe for travel, but planners should still use caution, according to the article.  Heather Heidbrink, Maritz Travel’s director of sourcing, says she will not take any groups to Colombia because of a U.S. State Department-issued travel warning from February updated again in October.
*Make Solid Connections
Working with the right people in each country is key to the success of arranging meetings. Planners prefer to stay with familiar brands, especially when booking hotels.
Knowing all about the logistics of your international meeting can decide whether the meeting will be a success. Planners should know the visa requirements for each country. Visas are required in Brazil, for example, but not in Argentina or Colombia. Materials should not be held up in customs during your meeting, and you should also expect heavy road traffic, especially in city centers. Planners dealing with restaurants should also figure that dinner begins no earlier than 8 p.m. in South America.
*Keep an Open Mind
Planners have to be open and flexible, and go into the meeting with a positive outlook.