If you have been tasked with conference planning for your association, we understand that you may be rather dubious about the idea. For your association or organisation to get the most out of their conference, to ensure its success, your planning must be rigorous and concrete. If implemented correctly, the benefits can be outstanding.
Orchestrating such an event can be quite intimidating because this is where your company will get face-to-face time with loyal customers, affiliates and, of course, potential future partners and clientele. You want it to be perfect because this is an exact reflection of your organisation.
The key factors you need to carry out for conference planning include understanding your audience, following a timeline, choosing a suitable venue and marketing it accordingly.
Understand your audience
Primarily, you need to establish the goal of your conference. What is the purpose of this event and what do you want to convey? Do you want to convey information to attendees, to show appreciation to partners and loyal members, or to raise funds for an upcoming project?
There is a multitude of user-friendly methods to reach potential attendees. These include email marketing, telemarketing, social media, SEO and PPC, all falling under the digital marketing umbrella. The effectiveness of each method will be based on the audience you are targeting.
Identifying your target audience is all dependent on your organisation’s goal. Your event should be based on this and should meet the needs of your targeted audience. Once you have determined this, figure out where to find them and decide on how you will reach them.
Picking a venue
This is a crucial step in the conference planning. People are impressionable and the venue you choose can have a direct impact on whether your event is successful. It’s imperative you consider the following:
As it is, hosting a successful conference is stressful enough. You want to choose a venue that has staff who will assist you in putting on a flawless event. At Congrex Switzerland, we are an established, incredibly experienced team of professional conference organisers and consultants who can assist with this level of planning and support.
- The size of the venue
This is determined by the number of attendees you’re expecting. But, we recommend a venue that offers a variety of different sized conference rooms. These are for the purpose of brainstorming sessions and smaller presentations.
Ensure that the venue is easily accessible to all attendees. It should be in a central destination, accessible by public transport and for participants with disabilities. This should include seamless wheelchair access to the conference room, accommodation, bars, and any other facilities.
Following an event timeline
Timing is everything. Not only is selecting a suitable date imperative, but the actual timeline of the event is crucial for keeping the entire process on track – for the planner and for the attendee. This is achievable through setting up an event timeline.
By using an event timeline, you’ll easily be able to prioritize when planning. If you have detailed checklists all in one place, you’ll be able to see what needs to be completed with urgency and what can wait until later. There are so many things to think about. So, think of this as your digital whiteboard that includes all the items you will need in order to make your conference a success.
Conference planning can become exceedingly complicated, especially if you have many delegates and speakers. How do you ensure that the event is on schedule? By creating an event timeline yourself or employing an expert to do it for you. This way, you won’t miss a thing.
The importance of marketing your conference cannot be stressed enough. If the goal of your conference is to get new members to join your association, then implementing an elaborate digital marketing strategy will help your organisation reach a wider audience.
You’ll find potential, younger members on social media. This is where they consume information and so this is where you’ll most likely gain a youthful following. Implementing a strategy successfully can take months of trial and error. This is where a Professional Conference Organiser can assist.
A PCO has experience with using effective marketing tools to develop engagement agendas to cement the event’s impact and to create awareness around your event – serve it to the right audience. In the Information Age, this is one aspect you simply cannot compromise on, especially when it comes to the fortitude of your association.
Congrex Switzerland is an internationally operating agency delivering customised solutions. This encompasses the overall organisation of conferences and meetings including the management of hotel rooms and the strategic consultancy. Annually Congrex Switzerland organises approximately 45 events with over 73’000 delegates. Amongst our clients are international associations, governmental organisations and corporations.