Planning conferences has become an increasingly time consuming and expensive endeavor. To maximize time, and resources, it is important to plan ahead and prioritize. Ideally, an event coordinator should allow for a six-month planning period to ensure a smooth, successful event. When planning any conference, focus on five key elements: three basic components and two elements that will set your conference apart from the rest.
Location, Location, Location
First and foremost is a clean, convenient, and desirable location. Regardless of the quality of the content, if attendees are unable to find the location, or have concerns about the venue, they will not attend, or recommend, your event in the future. Strive for a place people want to visit and let your event be an incentive. Be sure to evaluate for creature comforts such as seating, location of restrooms, and access to natural light. In addition, a lack of tables, outlets, or charging stations causes attendees to be dissatisfied with the event.
Current, relevant, content is the second priority. Focus on content that is desirable to your prospective attendee: intriguing and innovative content draws the best crowds. If there is only one track being offered, be sure the material is consistent with the field and builds on previous knowledge. If multiple options are available, offer both general overview sessions, as well as practical and specific content. Know your presenters. Choose individuals that are engaging and create a dialogue with the audience.
In conference planning, as in comedy, timing is everything. Look carefully at industry calendars, as well as national and local holidays. Should you accidentally schedule a conference during your target audience’s busiest time of year, or during a school holiday, you may face greatly reduced attendance.
The little extras will set you apart. These extras often include freebies that are handed out or the food and drink that are served. If your niche is one that typically offers a kickoff dinner or event, make it unique. If there are local favorites, highlight them. Instead of burdening your clientele with more pens, or a mug that will get thrown in the garbage, choose something fun or unexpected.
Go above and beyond by using technology to offer a fully integrated conference experience. While some may consider this an extra, it is what will leave people talking. An app from Double Dutch, enables attendees to interact with speakers, attendees, and content. It also allows speakers and conference organizers to receive live feedback, to communicate directly with attendees and monitor trending. It is also a great opportunity to promote materials or sponsors. Providing an interactive experience that goes beyond expectations will set your event apart.
By focusing on these five elements, your conference will go from good, to Wow!
Hailey has been planning conference for last 8 years and enjoy sharing her knowledge. For more information Double Dutch event apps check out their site doubledutch.me