2 July 2018

Guest Post: Conference Planning Checklists

A Powerful Resource for Event Professionals Louise Flynn

Welcome to a guest post from one of our EventsAIR community. If you have a story you would like to share, please email marketing@eventsair.com

Planning a conference is quite an undertaking; there are usually different stakeholders and multiple elements to consider, requiring a constant juggling act from the event planner. Breaking the process down into a checklist can help you create an efficient planning process to ensure that the events run without a hitch.

Find the right location

One of the most crucial part of an event planning process is deciding the location of your conference. It is important that your event takes place in a location that the attendees can reach easily to otherwise you might be risking low attendance or losing out to a competitor’s events.

If you are considering an overseas destination, it is advisable to pick a location with direct flights or flight paths with minimal connections for your delegates. This part of event planning requires a specialist. Thus, it is advisable to take on an international meeting planner, who can do a cross reference on where all your guests would be coming from and they will be able to pin point those locations that would work best as per the attendees’ convenience.

Find the right venue

Once the destination has been chosen, it is time to move onto securing the correct venue. To do this, it is advisable to make a detailed list of everything you’d require, covering areas such as:

Accommodation:

  • Number of bedrooms and their specifications (double/single)
  • Does the accommodation need to be onsite?
  • If guests are sharing rooms, consider their privacy and space.
  • Check Wi-Fi availability so your guests can easily catch up on emails at the event venue, if required.

Conference Facilities:

  • Does the venue reflect the brand and the message you are trying to portray, to your attendees?
  • Is there a spacious registration area with a cloakroom? It is vital that the entry and exit to any event is as smooth and efficient as the event. A bad guest experience at these points can really taint an otherwise successful event.
  • Number of meeting spaces and the kind of seating format.
  • Do the Venues let in natural sunlight? Semi-open venues are advisable if you are hosting an all-day event as it helps to keep guests alert and in a good mood.
  • What technical equipment would you require for each meeting space and what purpose would they serve in making the event successful?
  • How close are the event spaces to each other? Ideally you would want the event spaces to be in close proximity to each other to make it convenient for your delegates to move from one event space to another.
  • Location of the food & refreshment area – The food & refreshment area should be kept separated from the main event area. This would help in maintaining the decorum of the main event area.
  • Wi-Fi availabilities should be according to your requirements because in this day and age, conference speakers are more than ever reliant on WIFI and it can be disastrous if the network connection doesn’t meet your requirements.
  • The venue should be able to accommodate the techniques you’d want to implement to boost your brand awareness.

Finding the perfect venue can be an awfully lengthy process, especially if you don’t have local knowledge of the chosen destination. One way to simplify this process is to take consult a professional events agency.  A professional events agency will help you in narrowing down the list of venues in accordance to your requirements and budget since they would be knowing the venues that they suggest, inside out.

The Next Steps:

Once you have chosen your destination, the next thing that you’d need to do is taking care of the rest of things required to host an event.  Listed below are the things you need to be taking care of:

Catering – Many venues have their own recommended suppliers. In case they don’t, the professional events agency can help you out with this. It is recommended that you meet up with the catering team and make sure they understand exactly what you require. Make sure you get a get to taste the menu samples to ensure the quality of food & service.

Production – A well branded conference and high end technology put together can really set your conference apart from others. Taking advice from an event production specialist is a wise decision as they have the technical experience & expertise and will be able to offer onsite assistance.

Delegate Management – Inviting your guests and communicating the event details needs to be done in a clear and efficient manner. Today, many professional event agencies provide delegate management systems like EventsAIR that can help you do this. Through this system a bespoke branded website can be created with all your event details, invites and reminders that can be sent out directly to guests and your guests’ data can be collected through an online questionnaire.

Logistics:

After carefully choosing everything related to an event, it is necessary to chart out your event schedule.  This needs to include the time schedule for each sub-event i.e. meeting timing, break timing etc. Additionally, keep a list and contact details of people who would managing each & every task of your event. Once this has been done, make sure to cross-reference everything with everyone so that everything holds a better chance at working according to the plan.

Expect the unexpected! Risk assess the entire event and keep a lookout for potential pitfalls and make sure you have backup strategies, wherever possible, to try and eliminate any nasty surprises on the day of the event!

Onsite:

The day of your event has arrived. What do you do?

  • Arrive decent and early so that you get plenty of time to get everything ready, and a little extra to solve the inevitable last minute changes.
  • Check in with each of your suppliers and double check that they are providing exactly what & when you have asked for.
  • Get your team together and have a quick briefing. This is a good way to keep everyone’s mind focused on their respective tasks, eradicate any last minute doubts and create a positive working atmosphere.
  • Make sure that all those who would be giving speeches test their presentations/content and have a rehearsal to figure out any last minute requirements.
  • Lastly, keep a steady communication with your team and suppliers throughout the event so that you all feel confident about the success of the event.

 

About the Author

Sarah Hill is a content writer at Seven Events Ltd – One of the leading event companies in London, giving corporate event management, incentive travel, conference venue finding services, corporate team building services across the UK. She started her career in the events industry almost a decade ago; as time progressed she became an avid event blogger sharing her insight on corporate event planning for several years. In her role, her best dive is corporate event ideas and event management tips.