Planning a conference is a big task and there are many things you need to consider. I’ve pulled together some handy hints to help you get organised from the start.
Shaping the Conference
Every event begins with a vision, whether its a new product launch or an annual staff briefing.
When planning your conference its important to define the main aim of the conference. You can then move on to the other basics such as who, what, when and where.
You also need to consider if the sessions are going to be relevant for everyone. Sometimes its more beneficial to have smaller breakout sessions for smaller groups.
Finally can you get all your messages across in the one day or will it need to be spread over more days.
Setting a budget for your event is key. When doing this you need to consider what you are planning to offer attendees. Consider overnight accommodation, travel expenses, goody bags etc. You also need to consider the itinerary and the keynote speaker line up.
Setting the date
The date of the conference is one of the most important things to consider as you want the best turn out for your event. Things to consider are:
- When will the conference need to be held? e.g prior to the launch of a product, end of financial year, beginning of the new sales year etc.
- What date/days should the event be held on to encourage maximum attendance? Is it best to avoid weekends and school holidays?
Venue & Services
There are many things to consider when it comes to choosing your venue. I would always recommend doing a site visit of the venue you are considering for familiarisation purposes. Below I have listed other elements to consider:
- What support will be provided by the venue for the purposes of holding your event?
- Do you require an exhibition area and if so, how many tables etc will be needed and the size/amount of space required.
- Does the venue provide all of the required equipment you will need for the conference, and if so, is there a charge made for providing it or is it included?
- Can the venues being considered provide sufficient space to host your event comfortably?
- Are there sufficient breakout rooms
- If the conference is of a sensitive nature, can the areas being used within the venue be held for sole use, or will it be necessary to share the venue.
- What does the venue include in their day delegate or 24 hour rate.
- Is there free parking
- Is there free Wi-Fi and does it have sufficient bandwidth?
- What are the dining options and can the venue cater for any special dietary requirements
- What safety and security measures are there at the venue eg., for the safe storage of equipment/materials being used on exhibitions or for demonstration purposes etc.
The Finer Details
Now you have the bigger elements all sorted its time to start thinking about the finer details.
The main thing to consider is what support will you require from your colleagues so they can plan their workloads accordingly.
Then its time to start planning in the fun stuff, such as energisers and how you will get your messages across in an interactive way and keep people interested.
Hopefully this will help you with organising a successful conference that you will be able to enjoy the event as much as your delegates.
Don’t forget, we have two purpose-built residential centres that house over 65 meeting rooms, including two large conference rooms which can accommodate up to 300 delegates comfortably. To find out more contact our sales team on 0333 7007 666.