Organising a conference
Organising a conference can seem like a daunting task, but it needn’t be with these handy tips:
A good conference needs a theme. Decide on what you want your overall message to be, what your speakers will talk about and what you want attendees to take away with them. Ideal themes provoke an emotional response, inspire conversation and will promote your brand. A logo, social media hashtags and brochures are also required.
Get your team together
Nobody would expect you to organise a conference on your own, that would be impossible! You’ll want a team of dedicated people around you, each with a different responsibility in the planning, promotion and negotiating process. If you don’t have enough people with the right expertise, consider hiring a professional company to do some of the legwork on your behalf. For Cotswold Venue Hire, speak to Secret Spaces.
Whether you are receiving sponsor help or not, a budget will need to be put together. Records will need to put together about where money is being made and where it’s being spent. A budget is also essential for set a price for participation in the event. Items that need to be budgeted for include:
Accommodation, Catering, Speakers, Cotswold Venue Hire, Activities, Marketing and Transport.
Choose a date
When is the optimum time for your event to take place? Bear in mind that you will need between 6 months to a year to organise a large conference event. This is also the time to decide on the right length of the event. Ideally, you should choose a date that doesn’t clash with other major events in the area as this will have a knock-on effect in increasing accommodation and transport costs. Also try to avoid peak holiday times in the summer and winter and never schedule a conference over a weekend.
Finalising a date means you can focus on finding the right venue. Here are some of the possibilities:
Universities – These are often chosen for smaller and more academic conferences, offering good value for more intimate meetings.
Hotels – Often hotels will have purpose-built conference facilities, catering and accommodation all rolled into one which makes them a highly popular choice.
Independent – These are all other venues that can host conferences but generally don’t offer accommodation. Often, they specialise in certain types of events.
Things to consider when looking for a venue or hiring a venue-finding service include:
- Booking the right size venue for your capacity and budgetary needs
- Finding an accessible location
- An atmosphere that suits your theme and aims for the event
- Adequate facilities for your needs
- Accommodation provision or nearby accommodation
- Catering – is this part of the package or will you need to book external caterers?
- Local transportation networks
- Ensuring the venue has the right IT facilities and audio-visual equipment
- Check the signal for internet connectivity