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Planning a conference can be a daunting task, but with careful planning and attention to detail, you can host an event that exceeds expectations. From choosing the right venue to promoting your conference to the right audience, there are a lot of factors to consider. Here are ten tips for planning a successful conference.

  1. Get planning today!

The earlier you start planning, the better. You already know this, that is why you are reading through our tips list. Give yourself plenty of time to explore your audience data, secure a venue, book speakers, and promote your conference. Depending on the size, complexity of your event and team support, you may need to start planning anywhere from 3 months to a year or more in advance. 

  1. Define Your Conference Goals

Before you start planning your conference, it's important to define your goals. You don't want to end an event and not be able to say whether it was a success or not. What do you want to achieve with this event? Are you trying to educate attendees on a particular topic, promote a product or service, or create a networking opportunity? Be sure to consider the need to consider first nations vendors, sustainability, and ethical vendors as well.

  1. Create a Budget

Once you've defined your goals, it's time to create a budget. This budget should be considered of the back of your goals. Consider all of the expenses associated with hosting a conference, such as venue rental, speaker fees, catering, cleaning, marketing materials and entertainment. Make sure your budget is realistic and that you have a contingency plan in case of unexpected expenses. 

  1. Choose the Right Venue for your Conference

Choosing the right venue is crucial to the success of your conference. Consider factors such as location, size, and amenities. You'll also want to make sure the venue is accessible to all attendees, including those with disabilities. There are few conference centers in Australia that can host over 500 people. If you are looking for conference venue and supporting vendor sourcing we recommend using Bizzievents. 

  1. Invite the Right Speakers

Choose speakers who are knowledgeable and engaging. Consider keynote speakers such as inspirational leaders, athletes, and business leaders. Make sure to provide speakers with clear guidelines and expectations. If your budget is limited considered requesting a discount, pro-bono or a contra deal. A Contra deal is where they provide their services at market rate and you provide equal value. 

  1. Create a Conference Schedule

Create a conference schedule that includes time allowances, room for keynote presentations, setup, breakout sessions, networking, activities, and pack-down. Make sure your schedule is realistic and allows attendees to get the most out of the conference.

  1. Coordinate Logistics

Coordinate logistics such as transportation, accommodations, and catering. Make sure to communicate with vendors and attendees to ensure everything runs smoothly. If travel is on the cards, consider engaging a Destination Management Company. They may have the connections and capability to book everything for you at a lower cost than you can yourself. 

  1. Plan for the Unexpected

If COVID has taught us anything it is that the best laid plans can be set aside at any time. Its the planning that counts. Be prepared for unexpected situations such as inclement weather or last-minute cancellations. Consider hosting a virtual or hybrid virtual event to ensure your conference can continue as planned. If face-to-face, ensure you have a photographer and are recording the event. The best way to plan for the unexpected is to create a table that covers any risks (good or bad) that may occur, the liklihood of the risk and severity were it to occur. You can then either ignore, accept or try to mitigate these risks. 

  1. Use the Right Tools for Hybrid Events

If you're hosting a hybrid event, make sure you have the right technology and equipment to support both in-person and virtual attendees. Consider using tools such as live streaming, video conferencing, and virtual event platforms. If you need AV support Bizzievents has a number they can recommend you for your event, however most venues also have a list of preferred partners.

  1. Promote Your Conference to the Right Audience

Before you can promote your audience, you should ensure you know who they are and why they should be interested in your event. Your goals and planning shuold all have been around an audience, this is the step you now get to consider how to promote yourself. Promoting your conference to the right audience by using social media, email marketing, and targeted advertising are a few ways to get in touch. If you have a sales team, ensure they are engaging their audience (incentivise them if needed). Make sure to communicate the value of attending your conference and highlight any unique features or benefits. 

  1. Follow up with Attendees

Engage with your audience before and after the conference. Send follow-up emails, surveys, or social media messages to thank attendees for coming and gather feedback for future events. Done properly you will ensure a high turn up rate, a high on the day engagement and a post event survey and attendee action that ensures your event is remembered as a success... to the goals you set.

If you need support in sourcing corporate event vendors, Bizzievents partners with businesses and trusted vendors.

Matthew Jackson Profile Picture

About The Author

Founder of BizziEvents, Matt is passionate about all thing corporate events from an business and attendee perspective. Matt is on a mission to help event planners create exceptional events by unlocking more time for higher value work.

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