Welcome Wagon

At events and meetings, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression. Whether it's a convention for thousands or a meeting for a dozen, attendees will arrive by plane, train, or automobile. Regardless of mode of transportation, a warm welcome and assistance to the next destination help set the tone for your entire event.

One way to provide this welcome is through meet-and-greet services offered by destination management companies (DMCs). A city's CVB can refer you to local DMCs. Here's how to make the most of these services.

What is "meet and greet?"

In its simplest form, a meet-and-greet service moves your group from point A to B throughout the course of your entire conference or meeting. Meet-and-greet services usually incorporate a welcome at the airport. When guests arrive in a new city, they often are anxious and unsure of how to get to their hotel or next destination. Uniformed DMC employees with welcome signs can meet them in the terminal, ease their way from the moment they step off the plane, and bring them to the meeting facility or hotel for check-in.

Greeters also can provide a number of additional services. These include:

Luggage assistance. DMC staffers can direct guests to the baggage claim area of the airport and assist them with getting their luggage onto the hotel vehicle. They also can track down lost luggage and deliver it to the guest's hotel room.

Beverage and snacks. Many guests walk off the plane hungry and thirsty. Surprise them with refreshments -- supply each greeter with a portable cooler of drinks and snacks to offer guests waiting for their baggage.

"Welcome to the City" packages. Orient your guests to a new city with a welcome packet containing general information about the city's best sites and attractions.

What are the benefits?

Meet-and-greet services offer several short-term benefits for your meeting:

Attendees arrive on time. Special guests and attendees will be where you need them, when you need them.

Transportation costs are controlled. Employee transportation costs are prearranged and controlled internally.

Attendance increases. With transportation hassles eliminated for guests, barriers to attend are minimized.

Time is saved. DMCs are responsible for locating and delivering lost luggage.