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Your Full Service Conference Planning Team

Basic Service: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

GETTING STARTED

 

Q: What does Basic Service entail?

A: Basic Service is a cost effective means for smaller groups who are in a position to handle their own planning and coordination logistics, but need help with receiving, receipting and processing registration payments. For a per registration fee, OCI will receive registrations, record credit card or payment transactions, reconcile deposits, issue receipts, send confirmations, maintain a registrant database and make participant name tags prior to the conference. The faculty member is responsible for all other facets of planning including site selection, meeting logistics, promotion and publicity, web site development, printing and graphics, onsite management, budgeting and paying for expenses incurred. Simply put, OCI handles registration processing only.

 

Q: How do we get started and what information does OCI need in order to provide us with a Cost Estimate for Basic Service?

A: In order to get started, call our office at 352-392-5930 to schedule a meeting to discuss the details of your conference.

 

HOTEL/MEETING SITE ARRANGEMENTS CONTRACT

 

Q: Who arranges a location for the meeting site and books a Hotel Contract?

A: Faculty are responsible for completing this task. However, if questions arise, you may contact OCI for consultation.

 

Q: Who signs the Hotel Contract?

A: In the event your program is booked at a hotel the Coordinator of UF’s Purchasing Division signs the contract. They can be reached at 352-392-1331, x315.  They will make sure your contract does not contain any harmful contractual penalties that cannot be approved or signed by the state, including but not limited to a cancellation clause, an attrition clause, a food and beverage minimum, advance deposit requirements, etc. We suggest you discuss with your hotel sales representative in advance that the Coordinator of Purchasing will be signing the contract, and that because we are a State of Florida government agency, the hotel contract cannot contain any penalty clauses not permitted by the state.

 

Q. Who pays the Hotel Bill?

A: Your Department/Research Center is responsible for paying all incurred expenses, including the hotel bill.  You will need to provide vendors with a copy of the Sales Tax Exemption Certificate representing the account from which you will ultimately issue payment.

 

PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS & WEBSITE

 

Q: Who do I work with to create promotional materials?

A: We recommend you contact the UF/IFAS Communications Services Graphics Department to assist you with the development and design of brochures, logos, signage and other printed items. 

 

Q: Who designs the full website for promoting my event?

A: Your departmental graphics or IT staff member designs the website and includes a link to the the online registration form created by OCI.

 

REGISTRATION

 

Q: How do I provide invited participants with registration materials?

A: OCI will create an online registration form tailored specifically to your group.  Unless specific arrangements are made otherwise, all registrations must be made online.

 

Q: What information is sent to participants?

A: OCI issues a Standard Confirmation Email to registered participants.

 

Q: How will I know how many people have registered for my program?

A: We will provide you with a user name and password so you can access your web based conference registration list and other essential reports 24/7 from anywhere in the world. Otherwise, you may email your request to your OCI contact or call OCI and ask for a registration report. Anyone at OCI will be able to generate a report and email it to you immediately.

 

Q: How do we handle onsite/walk-in registrations?

A: Because OCI does not provide onsite registration assistance for Basic Service Groups, you will be provided with a supply of onsite registration forms.  Your staff can set up a registration table at the meeting site and ask walk-in participants to complete a form and indicate credit card information on the form or attach a check for payment. When needed, we can also invoice a company after the conference is over to obtain their registration payment. Upon conclusion of the meeting, forward the completed onsite registration forms to OCI and we will process payments and email receipts. This method makes onsite registration easier for you and your staff and eliminates the need for you to track money and issue receipts.

 

FISCAL ARRANGEMENTS

 

Q: What if we incur expenses before the meeting takes place and need money to pay advance bills?

A: Should this happen, contact your Basic Service Coordinator to request an advance payment of fees collected by OCI.  (Note: Refund amount cannot exceed the amount collected as of the request date.)

 

Q: How do we get the money OCI has collected from registration fees?

A: After all registration fees have been collected and usually within 45* days of the conclusion of your conference, OCI prepares an Actual Cost Report itemizing actual registration numbers, deducts its processing fee for handling those registrations, and issues a refund check for the remaining balance to a Foundation/SHARE Account or to a Miscellaneous Gifts and Grants account. A SHARE account allows greater spending flexibility for your unit. (Note: You need to provide OCI with an Account # some time before the meeting occurs.)  If you are working independently with a state association or society, we can also direct the remaining balance to an external organization. Then your accounting department makes payment for all expenses incurred.

* This may take longer in the event we experience delays in collecting payment from registrants, or for December groups due to the holidays.

   UF/IFAS|Office of Conferences and Institutes (OCI)
   PO Box 110750, Gainesville, FL 32611 | PHONE: (352) 392-5930

UF IFAS