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How to Plan a Conference - Your Guide to Planning the Perfect Conference

31st March 2014
Conference Table with Microphones | How to Plan a Conference

When it comes to planning large-scale events, it’s important to keep in mind the experience you want your guests to have. Well-executed conferences are successful because the guests are more likely to feel relaxed and at ease with their environment. Therefore they’ll be more receptive and engaged with the content that’s provided.

However, the planning process can be incredibly daunting! Events that last over a number of days require precise and intricate planning from the word go – and the organisation of your event will serve as a portrayal of your brand for years to come!

So, to give you a helping hand, we’ve put together some top tips on how to plan a conference successfully.

How to Plan a Conference: Your Vision

It’s easy to get lost in the murky sub-plots of planning a conference, so defining your vision at the start of a planning process will give you something to refer back to. Consider the following to help you bring your vision to life.

  • What’s the overall aim of the conference?
  • When and where will your conference be held?
  • Who will attend, and why?
  • How do you want your attendees to feel?
  • Who will be your speakers/what content will you provide?
  • What refreshments will be provided?
  • What’s your budget?
  • What’s your projected revenue?

How to Plan a Conference: Budget and Revenue

Once you have your vision deeply instilled, it’s time to think about your budget. If you’re deciding how to plan a conference on a non-flexible budget, make sure you get this defined before you book anything. With careful planning and allocation, any budget can be optimised to get great results. Bear in mind your projected revenue from the event and incorporate this into your final budget, being careful to allocate strictly to the key areas you’ve identified. Use the following as a guide of things you’ll want to incorporate in your final budget.

Location

  • Where is your conference going to be held and how much will it cost?
  • Will the location reinforce the vision of your conference?

Guest Speakers & Agenda

  • Who do you want to speak at your conference and why?
  • What profit will be made on the cost of the speakers?

General `Logistics’

  • Where will your guests park?
  • Will you provide discounts at local hotels?
  • How will your guests get to your event?
  • Will you need security support?
  • How much will it cost to staff your event?

Refreshments

  • What refreshments will you offer your guests?
  • Will you offer different ticket prices based on refreshments?

Promotion & Marketing

  • How are you going to target your audience?
  • What media will you invest in to target them?
  • Will you have a Sponsor? If so, how will you manage and measure their expectations?

How to Plan a Conference: Logistics

Having already touched on logistics, it’s clear how important these are for big events. Those who know how to plan a conference like the back of their hand can still fall victim to communication and logistical failures.

So to prevent you from seeing your logistical nightmares come true, we’ve listed some simple actions to take.

  • Ensure guests and speakers know where they’re going, what’s happening later and how they’re going to get there. Provide a clear itinerary that provides guests with all the information they’re likely to need. Consider using a smart phone event app such as EventMobi instead of a more traditional itinerary. This way you can make live announcements and changes and keep everyone up to date with changes, as well as giving a more 
  • Allocate every role precisely and ensure everyone working on the project is aware of their specific role and how it relates to their colleges. This will help with the flow of communication, so if you do stumble across an issue, it will be far more easily resolved.
  • Make sure the promises made to guests such as parking, time scheduling and refreshments are met – guests will have based their time around your itinerary – forcing them to work to a different time schedule will only frustrate them.
  • Carry out a rehearsal process test to ensure any hiccups are ironed out before the live event. Time how long it takes to travel; bearing in mind many guests (and staff!) are going to be unfamiliar with the environment.

Although it can be quite an undertaking, a well planned conference can deliver incredible results can do wonders for your brand, sponsors and overall reputation. For more information on planning conferences, general conference news and further advice and tips, have a look at Conference News  website where'll you find a range of further conference specific news. 

When it comes to choosing the right venue and environment for your conference, it’s important to look for somewhere that will reflect your vision well. If you're looking for a London conference venue, Senate House offers a range of room sizes and conference packages in the prestigious area of central London and may be exactly what you’re looking for. The prominent art deco building offers an exquisite location with ample facilities to ensure your conference is executed perfectly.

For more information about our conference rooms in London, or how to plan your conference, contact us today, or visit the conferences and events section of our website.

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