Event Planning Checklist

10 Tips For Your Conference

The Event Planner's event checklist for conferences.

 Identify possible dates

When defining the date for your conference it is helpful to have several possible dates in mind. Sometimes the location of your choice will not available on your preferred date so you have to switch to another date.

It is essential for the success of your conference not to select a day which is a bank holiday because many of your potential attendees won’t visit your conference at these special dates. In order to make sure your chosen day is not a bank holiday you can check the bank holidays worldwide on www.bank-holidays.com.

When planning and fixing the date for the conference, event managers should always have their intended audience in mind to avoid holding your conference at the same date as another industry related conference. So don’t forget to check the dates of competitive conferences on different conference calendars. Many event planners post their conferences on www.confcal.com or www.theconferencecalendar.com to promote them.

At times it makes sense to plan the conference directly before or after another conference in the same area/city. Attendees may be interested in both events and have a greater incentive to attend both. You can find more ways to boost the attendance at your conference on meetingsnet.com. Start planning your conference early. Sometimes it is necessary to begin a year in advance.

 Create a conference budget

The budget is a very crucial part of the event planning process. The objective is to provide event planners with a financial limit. It should be specific, and include revenues (sponsorship, ticket sales) as well as expenses (printing, location, food, supplies, security). To make sure you don’t forget any position compare it with your conference checklist.

You can find a basic event budget checklist on www.docstoc.com

 Find a venue for your conference

The venue of your conference is very important for the well-being of your attendees and speakers and for the success of your conference. As soon as you have defined possible dates for your conference you can start to search for appropriate venues. A hotel with conference rooms is a good choice as it provides staff and a good infrastructure. So you have less work.

Ideally, the location should be near the airport or central station or near the city center so attendees can easily get there. You can check possible venues on www.venues.org.uk or www.venuefinder.com for example.

Please notice that the size of the venue should be adequate for your conference and the expected amount of attendees. Inspect the considered venue before the event to avoid unpleasant surprises afterwards. You can alternatively ask other event planners who already held events there about their experiences.

 Agenda and Speaker

Besides networking, topics and speakers are the main reasons to attend a conference. It is important for the success of your conference to organize well-known speakers at an early stage. Famous speaker always help to gain more attention and attract more attendees. Big names are not only crowd puller but also help to obtain more well-known speakers. For this reason event managers shouldn’t underrate the importance of this part.

Prior to pre-sell the tickets to your conference the agenda should at least be roughly determined. Make sure to include enough time for networking. In case of food being served order and organize adequate catering.

 Pre-sell / online registration

Conference registrations are the main revenues for the event and event planner thus attendee registration and payment handling is crucial and should be easy to use and look professional. In addition you can use the registration form to collect attendee data for marketing activities after the conference. Professional event management services offer you entirely customizable registration forms. You can host your online registration form either on an event management service website or your own conference website.

In both cases the website should include more than just the online registration form. It should display the agenda, speaker, directions and some hotel recommendations where your attendees can stay during the conference. It is crucial to have a trustworthy provider who offers different payment methods and currencies to make the registration easy for your attendees. As providers differ in service you should choose a provider with automated payment handling, billing, a good attendee management, discount system and cancelation handling to save time. In order to find the right provider it is helpful to create a checklist with features that are relevant for you and your conference.

 Discounts

Discounts are the perfect instrument to increase sales for your conference at an early stage. A very good example is to offer early bird tickets because it attracts price sensitive attendees and gives you early cash flow. You can send out invitations with discounts to readers of relevant newspapers, magazines and blogs via email and give loyalty discount to attendees of your last conference.

You can also give incentives to companies to send multiple attendees to your conference. Bundle registration fees and give discounts for every additional person from the same company who will attend your conference. When calculating the price for the registration, event planners should already include the discount so that the discount which is offered afterwards is just an incentive for attendees and not a really discount.

 Promotion

A good event manager defines the guest list and potential attendees primarily to target the marketing and promotion efforts to the intended audience. Promotion for your conference is all about gaining new attendees and re-activating existing ones. You can achieve this through different channels:

  • Offline Promotion in relevant newspapers and magazines of your industry
  • Invitations for last year attendees
  • Post conference date and ads on your website
  • Post your event in local event listings, conference calendars and relevant blogs and directories, e.g. www.bevents.com
  • Invite media to cover your event
  • It is important to publish your conference date early so that other event planners can pick different dates.


Keep in mind: publicity is not only important before the event but also during, and after it.

 Inventory & attendee list and badges

Check in advance if you need any technical equipment for your speakers at the venue and make sure to order everything in time. Make a checklist of all equipment needed and so that you don’t forget anything. Test the technical equipment at least 2 hours before the conference.

To facilitate the entry management and the networking at your conference you should prepare name badges for your attendees. You can use the online registration form to collect badge information like name, company and current position. Professional event management software allows you to download the entire attendee list with badge information or even makes the badges for you.

 Onsite registration and Entry Management

To avoid long queues at the morning of your conference onsite registration and entry management should be well organized and efficient. A printed attendee list is the slowest option to manage the entry. It is more efficient to use an electronic registration system that is able to scan barcodes on printed registration confirmations.

That way registration can be completed in a few seconds and attendees of your conference don’t have to queue. Furthermore double check-ins are excluded as registration data is synchronized via the Internet. A big advantage is to have all badges already prepared and printed.

 After the conference

After your conference you should leave the venue clean and tidy. Send all rented technical equipment back and pay all bills and use your conference checklist to make sure not to forget anything. Then you can start to evaluate if your conference was a success.

Compare your budget with the amount of money you actually spent. Do not forget to send Thank you letters to all your speaker and attendees.

If you like you can also upload the conference photos to your conference or event website to stay in contact with your attendees.

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