Due to conference being quite a complex event, conference planning requires pecise harmonization of arborescent processes, many months of vocational work of prepared, experienced professional staff. Depending on the topics of the conference, you might need to be prepared for other processes and specialities beside the ones discussed, but in all cases the first task of a conference planner is determining the conference's basic data, out of which the most important are:
- the date of the opening and the end of the conference (an average conference lasts for 4-5 days, usually including a weekend, the conference-season is spring, and autumn)
- the number of presenters and presentations/meetings
- expected number of the conference's attendees, and their partners
- languages spoken by presenters and attendees
- conference technics equipment needs - audio equipment, microphones, sound reinforcement, simultaneous interpretation equipment, visual technology equipment, projectors, screens, etc...
- data of needed protocol catering
Recording basic information is followed by the preparation of the conference's business plan, feasibility study, and scenario, determining the conference's attendance fee, then the panellation of the conference planning committee, setting the tasks of conference planning and their time-limits. Furthermore, you have to take care of preaparations related to the planning of occurrent adjunct-events (exhibitions, fairs, press conferences) taking place simultaneously with the conference, on which you can find relevant information in our eventplanning, and eventplanners guides.
As in that of all types of events, event venue is the most important factor in the case of conferences as well, mischoice can doom conference planning to filure right at the beginning. Therefore choosing between conference venues requires great care.
Finding the right conference venue
For conferences of great attendance, mainly conference centres built directly for that purpose are suitable, nowadays however a few conference rooms can be found in the majority of hotels, which usually can give place to conferences with a maximum attendance of a few hundreds. For conferences organized at weekends or in summer, further venue opportunities are provided by college, and university event halls as well.
Main aspects of choosing the conference venue
- enough and big enough conference rooms, conference technology equipment
- fair traffic, easy access
- enogh accommodation, and parking lot of suitable standard nearby
- available program opportunities ensuring the recreation of the attendees and their guests
- staff skilled in conference planning, and conference technology equipment
Desirable features of conference rooms
- air conditioning, heating, ventillation
- light of day, dimability
- suitable conference technology equipment, or the opportunity for installation - stage technology equipment (attachable podium elements, pulpit), audio technology equipment (public address system, simultaneous interpretation equipment), visual technology equipment (video projector, slide projector, overhead projector, pointers, projector screens), communication infrastructure (telephone, internet, fax)
- to support conference planning, all conference rooms capacity according to seating types, scale-plan and technical floor plan (light and heating switches, power supplies, telephone sockets, columns, other obstacles, cabinets, doors, windows, emergency exit, etc...) should be available
Other required features of the conference venue
- registration desk
- direction boards, section rooms and other conference-services
- photocopying opportunity
- services should be available to disabled people as well
- offices and lockups to conference planners and secretariat
Walking through the conference venue
Out of potential conference venues, conference planners visit the ones most suitable for their preferences personally. They make a list of equipment required for events planned in certain rooms, catering and technical equipment planned to be provided in staff-, VIP-, and press-rooms, other services supporting successful conference planning needed to be ordered over the ones provided by the conference venue.
Vendors ensuring the success of conference planning
Catering, party service
Although conference venues usually provide meals and drinks service, reaching the party service capacity needed for all the co-events and programs often requires hiring external catering companies.
All conference venues own some conference technology equipment (sound technology equipment, visual technology equipment, stage technology equipment), and properties essential for conference planning (conference furniture, bollards, decoration), generally though, there is a need for expanding these by the contribution of conference technology equipment, and property rent companies.
Conference's aiding staff - hostesses, hosts
A hostess and host team speaking the languages of the conference's attendees, should be ordered from the hostess companies to give directions, help at registration, and organizing the delagations' programs.
Hire experienced interpreters, understanding the professions related to the subject of the conference, knowing all technical terms, and contexts!
Winning leading professionals in the subject is essential to the success of conference planning, after all, meetings determin the professional standard of the conference.
Transport, vehicle rent
As a part of conference planning, car, microbus, and bus transport has to be arranged for the attendants between the airports, stations and the conference venue, as well as between the conference venue and the accomodation.
Graphic design, and print services
Determining the needed amounts, and having the conferences print materials - logo, letter-paper, envelopes, folders, program sheets, name-cards, badges, printed press materinal, throw-aways - designed, and made.
Preliminary tasks of conference planning
Sending out circular notes, and application forms
As the preparation of conference planning, usually two circular letters are sent out, the first of which is for measuring up demands. Its content:
- main subjects of the conference
The second circular letter informs about the details of the conference:
- registration fee, services included, payment terms, cancellation deadline
- application forms for registering to appear at the conference as an attendee, or a lecturer
- exact time of the programs (meetings, optional programs, protocol events, adjunct-events)
- concrete to dos of the conference's attendees
Booking hotel rooms
As a part of conference planning, not only the booking of rooms according to applications has to be taken care of by the conference planners, but also the independent bookings of the conference's attendees have to be checked up as well.
Conference attendees' formal invitation
Conference planners send out two types of invitations to the attendees 1-2 weeks before the date of the conference, which apply to the following events:
- professional programs: conference meetings, symposiums, presentations, opening ceremony, commemorations
Along with the venues and times of events, invitations include data regarding toilet, and confirmation.
- catering: banquets, business and buffet-dinners, social gatherings, cocktail-parties, garden-parties, wine-tastings, etc...
Planning the press conference
Conference planners determine the timing of the press conference by press deadlines, and times of TV and radio shows, and inform the representatives of the press about the conference's topic, and the venue and time of the press confernce 1-2 weeks before the event, then check on phone if they can count on their attendance a few days before the event.
Planning the ladies' program
The planning of additional programs, events (e.g.: sightseeings, excursions) for the partners not attending the conferences professional programs form a part of conference planning as well. For the planning of these, you can read advices in our assay on eventplanning.
Booking government waiting-rooms, and VIP waiting-rooms
For the distinguished guests of the conference, VIP or government waiting-rooms have to be booked in advance at the airport.
Checking up menus
Special catering needs of the conference's attendees indicated on the application forms have to be checked up with the conference venue's restaurant, or catering, party service contractor.
Realization the conference
Just before the start of the conference
- staff-meeting: conference planners and members of the staff walk through the tasks according to the scenario once more
- registration desk: supplying information leaflets, throw-aways, meal-tickets at the registration desk
- verification: checking direction boards, room, and seating arrangement, and badges
Main events of the conference
Conference planners keep continuous control of the event and lead the staff according to the scenario. Unpredictable changes and roblems, though, occur during every conference planning, to which fast and rational measures have to be taken. In the breaks between the conference's plenary and section-meetings, and protocol events, all meeting rooms have to be checked for appliances, conference technology equipment, and other accessories to be in order.
Follow-up work of the conference
Technical tasks following the realization of the conference
Disassembling of buildings raised for the purposes of the conference, and hired conference technology equipment, removal of signs, having garbage carryied away, and cleaning up make the closing tasks of conference planning.
The conference's financial audit
Checking and settling invoices, post-calculation, compiling the conference's posterior-budget according savings and outspendings compared to the plans, to determine the financial success of the conference.
Valuation of the conference
Valuation is a very important process regarding future conference planning, for even the most experienced conference planners learn something from every conference they organize. Remarks made of guests, staff, and programs are also subject to the valuation of the conference and conference planning, and the attendees viewpoints written on the assessment sheets filled out at the end of the conference are of great help.
Documentation of the conference
After completing the above mentioned hard tasks, conference planning ends with organizing and archiving documents created in connection with the conference.
To support conference planning, we are at your service by the following:
If you would like to take on the responsibility of conference planning:
- you can go to our help page, for instructions on how to use the portal, or
- sign up, start sorting out the suitable service providers by clicking on the navigation tabs above, and be the conference planner yourself!
If you would like to have a professional conference planner guarantee the success of your conference:
- you can go to our eventplanner page for guidance, or
- to our help page, for instructions on how to use the portal, or
- sign up, start sorting out the suitable conference planners by clicking on the Event planners tab above, and call for their offers on planning your conference!