Planning a successful conference is not as simple as it sounds and comes with a lot of stress. The planner must think about several things that other people will hardly consider unless things go wrong. It is important to have a checklist to help in completing every little detail in an organized manner.
While some organizations hold conferences at their offices, many prefer off-site locations. One of the helpful factors in determining the right location is the number of conference attendees. The location must have ample space to accommodate everyone comfortably.
If some attendees come from distant places, local hotels with conference rooms are good choices because many offer subsidized rates to those using their conference facilities.
Going hand in hand with choice of venue are the logistics involved in ensuring everybody gets in the right place at the right time.
Having in mind different possible dates is helpful because the chosen venue may not be available on a given date. The chosen date should preferably not be a bank holiday, as statistics show many people do not attend conferences on such special dates.
The date should also not coincide with another function in the same industry as the expected attendees. It may be better to plan the conference just before or after such a function in the same city because some people would be encouraged to attend both events.
The location and type of event will determine the required pieces of equipment, such as wireless Internet access or a projector and backdrop. Test all special equipment before the scheduled conference to ensure they are in good order.
Supplies like papers and writing materials must be enough for both presenters and attendees. It is also important to select the appropriate name tags before the conference. Will the conference attendees require custom name badges or blank ones? In addition to picking up their conference badges at the registration area, the attendees should find and take the conference agenda.
Food & Leisure
Depending on where the conference is held, it may be necessary to consider outside catering. This involves deciding the best meals to provide. On the other hand, a hotel may provide food service for conferences they host. Whichever the case, a supply of drinks will be required. It may also be necessary to plan after-hour events.
A printed list of attendees is a sure way of getting long queues during on-site registration. It is better to use an electronic system that scans barcodes printed on registration confirmations.
All the things mentioned above must fit within a set conference budget without going overboard. The budget must provide a specific financial limit. It must also include all expenses-location, food, security, supplies-and revenues, such as ticket sales and sponsorship.
Compare the budget with the conference checklist to ensure everything is considered.
These simple tips will ensure the planned conference runs smoothly. Remember to thank everyone after the conference and even conduct an evaluation to determine what needs improvement.
Mike Gardner is a Sales Rep at CardPrinter.com, an online retailer carrying ID card printers and accessories.
Photo Credit: JaxStrong