This past year has brought incredible changes to our lives and work. Hosting meetings and events in this new world requires some major adjusting on the part of planners, venues, and attendees. A combined effort is required to host essential in-person functions again. Is it still possible to plan safe and effective, physically distanced face-to-face meetings in the post-COVID-19 world? Absolutely. Here’s how.
Consider Every Detail
Be selective about each detail of your meeting or training. Start by only inviting essential personnel and planning in-person events only when the subject matter is something that cannot be addressed remotely. If possible, avoid trainings or meetings that require attendees to travel across national, district, or county borders. Host the event outdoors if feasible, or in a room that allows for open windows when available. Limit group size for social distancing by scheduling multiple sessions or splitting larger events into smaller cohorts. Be sure that all tools and equipment (e.g., pens, computers, microphones) are not shared among participants. If this is not practical, be sure to disinfect all tools and equipment after each participant’s use. Meetings should be kept as short and focused as possible.
Choose Your Venue Carefully
Venues play an essential role in planning and holding a safe meeting or event. Ensure that you choose a venue that has implemented safe distancing practices, takes every precaution for sanitation, and offers thermal scanning with digital thermometers. These have become essential layers to ensure that attendees and participants are safe throughout any event. Contact venues to determine that they have a high-quality sanitation policy in place. Be sure to select a venue that focuses on key areas to provide safe meetings and events, including health safety procedures, social distancing provisions, and safe protocols for food and beverage service. Venues with well thought-through policies to include flexible attrition and cancellation clauses will be the easiest to work with during this challenging timeframe.
Provide detailed guidelines and requirements to participants well in advance of the event so they know what to expect. Remind them not to attend if they have any COVID-19-related symptoms, and ask them to take precautions not only after they arrive, but before. Participants should wear a mask, limit contact with other individuals, wash and sanitize hands frequently, and maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from others during their travel time and throughout the event.
Keep Safety Paramount
Request that meeting attendees avoid socializing with one another or the local community during the time the event occurs. Set the standard for physical distancing and properly wearing face masks at all times except when eating or in private rooms alone. Display health advisories with visual cues and reminders prominently. In these times, it is expected that you ask all attendees to commit to a safety code of conduct and begin each day with a reminder of all expectations and rules for their safety. As testing becomes more readily available, including testing protocols may be another consideration.
Meetings and events that take place in person will likely need to offer virtual or hybrid alternatives for those who cannot attend despite precautions. Small, drive-to meetings held locally with attendees from a close geographic area may be one way to conduct necessary internal meetings, workshops, and seminars. Focus on individual activities, using group tasks only when essential and possible within physical distancing parameters. If lodging is required, provide single rooms so that individuals have as little direct contact as possible.
The management and staff at the Maritime Conference Center has worked diligently to create, and continually modify, protocols and resources for our meeting planners and guests in order to mitigate the risk of infection to the very best of our abilities. Our policies are based on the latest safety guidance from the CDC, local and state health department, and other regulatory authorities. MCC’s initial phase of our protocols can be found in our COVID-19 Resource Center.
Please don't hesitate to contact one of our sales team members to discuss your upcoming meeting needs. We truly value conversation with our meeting planner friends, and any input and perspective provided will ensure the success of safe meetings at MCC!
MITAGS-East and the Maritime Conference Center hosted Maryland Governor Larry Hogan today for a property tour and some hands-on ship driving experience in our simulators. Governor Hogan reached out last week requesting the visit, wanting to learn more about MITAGS' world-renowned job training and adult continuing education facility and conference center.
Governor Hogan was accompanied by Mary Beth Tung, the Director of the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA), and Elizabeth Kretovic, representing Orsted U.S. The MEA is working to advance offshore wind energy in the region, and MITAGS is developing training programs for the offshore workers who will build and service the platforms.
The visit was covered in prime time by Baltimore's ABC News Affiliate, WMAR (Click here to see the report), and Governor Hogan talked about his visit on his Facebook and Twitter pages. The video from Governor Hogan's Facebook Page can be viewed below:
Cost can be added up and presented as a clear-cut number, but value is in many ways both subjective and personal. Measuring meeting or event value depends on finding a methodology for measuring, evaluating and aggregating individual perceptions of value. Once you have determined the value of the session, you can assess the budget and determine whether what was gained overall was worth the cost. If so, you have a proven strategy to follow for future meetings. If not, you may need to work on adjusting some of your metrics.
Any meeting or event is ultimately about the experience of the attendees, whatever your business goals may be. Make sure that what you are spending money on adds value to your audience. Attendees don’t care what the specific costs were for the food and beverages provided; but they do care about whether or not they felt comfortable and satisfied during the event. Catering quality and availability always plays a large part in attendee satisfaction. No one wants cranky attendees because the coffee ran out or there weren’t enough snacks provided. This makes F&B an area well worth spending on. Two other essentials that have a direct impact on overall attendee experience are audiovisual tools and speakers, leaders and/or entertainment. Combined, all three of these elements should constitute somewhere around 50-60% of your total event cost.
Focus Your Meeting Evaluation
Find a single question that covers a ranking criterion that best expresses what you want your organization and/or attendees to get from the meeting or event. Be sure to have all attendees evaluate this main issue at the conclusion. Using just one question will keep feedback collection simple, consistent and speedy, which will make it more likely that you will get complete and accurate feedback. Consider using a simple, consistent scale to measure the overall success. It may be as simple as asking your participants to rate the meeting or event with a rank from 1-5 or a similar scale, focusing on that one main issue or element that was your primary meeting focus. You will most likely still want to encourage comments to add to the understanding of what did and did not go well during the event, but these are less easy to evaluate objectively.
Calculate Variable vs Fixed Costs
It’s crucial to identify and track both variable and fixed costs. Fixed expenses will not change based on the number of attendees. The cost of the venue or speaker, for example, are fixed costs. Variable expenses are costs that may change due to the number of attendees and these are usually calculated per person. Both of these expenses need to be considered together as part of your overall cost.
Sources of Revenue
To cover the expenses for your meeting or event, it may be possible to leverage sources of revenue. Advertising revenues, registration fees, concessions, rental fees for booths, management fees, and any sponsorship fees are all potential sources of revenue for your event. This total needs to be balanced against combined fixed and variable costs before determining the final cost of the event.
Analyze the Overall Cost & Performance of Your Meeting or Event
Once your meeting or event is over, you need to tally up total expenses and all revenues. This shows stakeholders the true cost of the event, and also helps when planning future events. Next, you need to compile the meeting evaluations based on the strategy that you set before the event, in order to determine success. Using both qualitative and quantitative event data enables you to best evaluate the performance of your event or meeting.
Measure Return on Investment (ROI)
ROI can be used to evaluate how successful your meeting or event was. This number shows what was gained through your meeting or event relative to the total costs. Evaluate and analyze your overall cost vs the success and expected savings or future earnings that will come from the event. If the savings or earnings are not concrete, look at the primary goal. Did the event get everyone closer to this goal? If all or most attendees found the event helpful, then the meeting saved time and money by making sure that people have clear next steps without roadblocks. On the other hand, if the meeting was disorganized or didn’t reach any strong conclusions, you lost not only the time spent at the event, but the potential work output that was missed during the time people were away.
Make the most of your next meeting or event at the Maritime Conference Center. A convenient location central to Baltimore, Annapolis and Washington, DC reduces travel expenses. 100,000 square feet of focused meeting space equipped with the latest audiovisual technology and Internet capabilities ensures that your attendees are comfortable and fully equipped to make the most of the event. All-inclusive packages are also available to make planning streamlined and easy while also providing readily available, satisfying food and beverages throughout the meeting or event.
Happy Summer! Maritime Conference Center is excited to be reopened for conference and meeting business in accordance with state and local guidelines. Our 100,000 square feet of meeting space comprised of 55 function rooms, plus our spacious grounds for outdoor events, provide our planners with ample space for physical distancing. And, our impressive internet backbone and audio visual capabilities will support your virtual training needs and assist with making your hybrid meetings successful. From creative ways to offer our delicious cuisine, to the rigorous enhancements made to our already excellent housekeeping practices, MCC has been working hard over the last months preparing for your safe return. While we may look a bit different, the friendly atmosphere and caring customer service you've grown to love are still intact.
The safety of our staff, students and conference guests remains our first priority. To keep you informed about our ongoing safety practices, we have created our COVID-19 Resource Center. Please take a moment to explore the page, and visit often as we continually enhance and modify the information. We are here to talk through any questions or concerns you may have and encourage open dialogue as you plan your future face to face meetings. Together, we will be more successful - and we love learning from our meeting planner friends!
Our Sales and Conference Departments are excited to work with you. If you’ve been contemplating planning a meeting, conference or event please reach out to our Sales Department at 410-859-5700 or email us today! Beyond traditional meetings and events, if you need extra space for interviews, audits, office or physical distancing space for any other purpose, please connect with us. We’d love to explore the possibilities with you. Ask us about our special “Back to Business” rates available on new bookings through the end of 2020.
We are excited to be open and back to business and our team is eagerly awaiting to welcome you!
The assault on Black Americans within the last several months is a grim reminder that racism still exists in our country. The killing of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, in Minneapolis, and more recently Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta, continues to spark global outrage of historic proportion and diversity, calling for an end to racial bias, use of brute force, and prejudice of any kind. The Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies and the Maritime Conference Center stand with the families and communities who live in fear of racial bias and social injustice. It is our sincere hope that peaceful protests lead to real social and legislative change as we work toward a better America with equal justice for all.
Congratulations to Front Desk Associate, Yonic Machado, the winner of our 2019 Associate of the Year Award!
In 2019, Yonic received several nominations for Associate of the Quarter, and won for Associate of the 4th Quarter. Every year all four quarterly award winners are then reviewed by the leadership team, and a winner for the year is selected.
Yonic joined MCC in 2018 and consistently provides seamless customer service at the front desk. He is often praised for his professional guidance, pleasant enthusiasm and willingness to help!
His dedication and upbeat attitude is what we strive for daily in customer satisfaction. Thank you for all that you do, Yonic! Congratulations!
Experiential learning is a powerful tool that focuses on one simple idea: individuals learn best by doing. Whether it’s a hands-on training session or team bonding by working through a shared activity, the benefits of this approach include faster assimilation, enabling individuals to apply what is being taught, increased engagement through collaboration, and opportunities for more personalized learning experiences. Meeting and event planners who choose to apply experiential learning strategies to everything from corporate events to training sessions can expect to increase engagement of attendees, have higher levels of learning retention, and improve the transfer of knowledge and skills to the real world. Some of the most popular and successful experiential learning techniques can be easily incorporated to enhance your next event experience.
Case studies are based on actual situations that have occurred in either a specific company or business field to provide solid, real-life examples that build on basic principles. Cases can be presented in a variety of ways, enabling participants to answer open-ended questions, develop potential solutions, or simply analyze and understand data. By examining situations that have happened in the past, attendees can gain invaluable insight into the behaviors or actions required to better deal with similar situations in the future.
Simulations are designed to mimic real-world professional problems that employees may face in specific roles. This technique encompasses both live and virtual environments using electronic, mechanical, or software-based activities for a participant to interact with. Simulations can be used to assess competencies, customize training, and allow learned concepts to be directly applied. Participants are able to practice specific skills and are able to make educational mistakes in a safe environment. The flexibility of simulations offers a practical method for educating and preparing participants for both expected situations and less common scenarios that they may encounter.
MITAGS and Maritime Conference Center are home to two of the largest ship simulators in the world. These are often used as part of MITAGS’ maritime training courses and for industry research projects, but they can also be used for team-building and experiential learning experiences during your event. Contact us for more information.
Taking real-life situations and role-playing experiences, challenges, setbacks, and outcomes is another way to provide a safe way for employees to encounter various scenarios where they can make and learn from mistakes and experience hands-on learning. This approach builds confidence, develops skills, and engages individuals in creative problem solving. Role-playing can be as simple as having a trainee participate in a mock phone call from a difficult customer, or they can be expanded to help employees to appreciate and understand specific work situations from different perspectives. For example, a Customer Service manager might play the role of a customer or a Manager might play the part of an employee in order to experience the impact that a specific policy or procedure will have on others.
There are an incredible number of team building activities that can be incorporated into a meeting or event, offering a fun and interactive way for participants to bond and learn to better work together. Best of all, many team building activities are both fun AND experiential. For example, scavenger hunts can be created to present challenges that are linked to specific skills, goals, and outcomes. Team problem solving is another great experiential exercise that teaches the need for clear communication, willingness to cooperate, and the ability to listen. Outdoor activities and hands-on games can also provide great opportunities for experiential team building.
Experiential learning is not only beneficial for participants. Participants learn to better interact with customers, coworkers, and management by learning from interactive techniques. Enhance your next event at the Maritime Conference Center, by applying the concept of experiential learning, and ensure that participants are truly prepared for the complex challenges that characterize the modern business world.
Did you know that today, May 22, is National Maritime Day?
In honor of National Maritime Day we’d like to take a moment to thank you, our customers, for choosing to support Maritime Conference Center and MITAGS.
Your business supports Maritime Conference Center's mission of providing funding, housing, classroom facilities, and dining to the Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduates Studies (MITAGS).
MITAGS is a non-profit trust dedicated to enhancing mariner professionalism through the development of internationally recognized programs in leadership, education, training and safety.
Mariners power the world’s largest economy and strengthen our ties with trading partners around the world, all while supporting our military forces by shipping troops and supplies wherever they need to go. Not to mention, they help keep us, passengers, safe during excursions on ferries, cruise ships, etc.
Their hard work and dedication has been especially crucial during this extraordinary time. So on this Maritime Day, join us in thanking mariners around the world and celebrating one of our nation’s most important industries!
Watch our special video message above!
“None of us is as smart as all of us.”- Ken Blanchard
Simple words with a lot of weight.
Team building is one of the most important investments you can make for your employees. Not only does it build trust and increase motivation, but it also encourages communication, mitigates conflict, and increases collaboration and creativity.
At Maritime Conference Center (MCC), we have witnessed many organizations incorporate team-building activities into their meetings and events. Here are just a few examples of what we have seen over the years.
A group exercise to start or end the day may help get your participants moving and focused. Physical exercise is known to be a great stress reliever. Some examples may be yoga or meditation, stretching, walking/running, and even an instructor-led Zumba class. Adding a short self-defense class would provide attendees with life skills while getting them moving! At MCC, we have plenty of open space around our campus for your attendees to engage in these activities. We’ve also seen groups participate in chanting or singing during a brief walk to increase energy levels and break up the day in between conference sessions and lectures.
Team building activities often include friendly competitions. It’s important to keep things light and fun, while allowing your team to bond and interact in ways they might not otherwise have the opportunity to do. One of the more popular team building exercises is to create a scavenger hunt for your group. Snakes is another fun game that also helps build trust and encourages team bonding. Tug-of-war or various types of races or obstacle courses are popular as well, and MCC offers a game room with ping-pong, pool and shuffleboard. An additional option is to hire our skilled MITAGS Academic Team to create a unique simulator-based team building activity where your small group gets to experience navigating on the virtual bridge of a tanker ship or tugboat.
The ability to work as a team to solve problems in the work place is very important. You can encourage and help your team develop their problem-solving skills during your event through several activities.
The Great Egg Drop is popular and involves creativity and problem solving, as each group must build an egg package that can sustain an eight-foot drop. Similarly, why not get creative, break up into teams, make boats out of specific supplies, and then “sail” them across the pool to see which team’s boat actually floats? Brainteasers and puzzles are a great way to get people to open up with one another and work together as well.
MCC also collaborates with Terrapin Adventures. Known for “aerial adventures” because of their ropes course located approximately 20 minutes from MCC in Historic Savage Mill, Terrapin Adventures will also travel to you. Inviting Terrapin Adventures to MCC will allow their expert staff to create a customized team-building program that stimulates creative problem solving skills, fosters connections and builds trust and collaboration among your team.
Another big hit at many meetings and events is incorporating some kind of charitable activity or volunteer opportunity. It could be as simple as arriving to the meeting with canned goods or unwrapped gifts, especially around the holidays, or perhaps it involves teaming up with an organization like Habitat for Humanity or volunteering at the BWI USO lounge (an MCC supported organization). Another option is to incorporate volunteering into breaks by having areas setup where participants can stuff bags or make something creative in an art area, etc. to support the charity of choice, all while interacting and talking with others. This, too, is a nice way to break up the day, all while giving back.
General Appreciation & Networking
Showing general appreciation and allowing your teams to network and mingle in a fun way can boost morale and encourage team bonding. Perhaps a visit from the Kona Ice Truck would provide a cool treat outside on a beautiful, warm day, or adding a fun backdrop and props for pictures is always a lot of fun. Capitalize on MCC’s maritime atmosphere by adding a cocktail hour with appetizers in the MCC’s Memorabilia Room, which is filled with maritime artifacts and treasure. MCC will also work with you to create an outdoor barbecue with lawn games or perhaps even a crab feast. Another client favorite is to turn our auditorium into a theater for live entertainment, or to watch a movie on the giant screen. Then, add a themed snack station in the centralized break area complete with popcorn, snacks and drinks for the show!
Incorporating team-building activities into your meetings and events is a great way to build trust and increase motivation among attendees. Utilizing these activities to engage your team increases interaction and encourages creativity, leading to amazing outcomes and fresh ideas for your organization. Maritime Conference Center offers plenty of indoor and outdoor space, as well as local partnerships, to accommodate these activities. Ask our professional Sales or Conference Managers how we can help incorporate team building into your next meeting at Maritime Conference Center!
Maritime Conference Center BlogWe've launched a new blog and can't wait to share news and other content with you!
Invisible App Zone