Many professionals tend to focus upon travelling to conferences about the day of the event itself. This is perfectly fine for local associations and organisers. However, the majority of delegates will likely have to travel (sometimes great distances) as opposed to only turning the corner and walking into the venue. Not only can conference travel be exhausting, but also a lack of preparation can transform a simple journey into a real nightmare. Let us examine some prudent travel suggestions which will enable your next trip to be comfortable and agreeable.
Essentials to Bring Along
There is nothing worse than arriving at a conference only to realise that you have forgotten an important item. Never wait until the last minute to address this concern. Compose a list of essentials and give yourself time to pack as opposed to waiting until a few hours before your departure. Some common items to include can be:
- Business cards
- Conference identification (such as badge and lanyard)
- Charging devices or adaptors (if you are travelling to a location with different power requirements)
- Credit cards and official identification
Assuming that you will be travelling a great distance or may be subject to a layover, it is wise to bring a “wellness kit” (toothbrush, soap, toothpaste and similar toiletries). A few high-protein snack bars will help you get through long conference days.
Host Hotels and Travel Choices
It is always better to stay at the hotel that was provided by the host organisation and destination management. Such a location was not chosen by accident. It is likely to be found quite close to the event; saving time and money regarding public transport. By staying in the host accommodation, this is also an excellent way to network with other delegates who are attending. It is also highly recommendable to make use of the travel consultant in charge. Thus you can be sure to have your onsite contact person in case you need to arrange any changes in your travel.
Conference Travel: All About Organisation
We are living in an increasingly paperless world, and this is just as true during conference travels. If you choose to go paperless, be sure to backup all relevant information using a smartphone or tablet (most offer a PDF function to save such details). Use the “Wallet” Function of your Smartphone and always make sure to have enough battery! Some reminders to save can include (but might not be limited to):
- Your Registration Information
- Any conference QR codes
- Confirmation emails
- The address of the event venue as well as the hotel
- Any other important contact details such as the phone number of the organiser or representative
- The Social Media Edge
- Maybe download the local map for offline mode
It is always wise to notify others within your social media network (especially if the contacts are related to business) that you are attending. There is always the chance that you could meet them at the event and benefit from further networking. Also, follow any hashtags on Twitter or other Social Media conversation around the conference. Virtually every conference will keep its delegates up to date through its social media billboard. If any changes take place, you will remain ahead of the curve.
Planning Your Agenda
As we have already seen, planning is essential to capitalise on the ultimate experience. The majority of conferences will offer numerous symposia, guest speakers and seminars. Determine which sessions are the most appropriate for your requirements and always be sure to leave time for in-house networking immediately before and after a specific gathering.
A growing number of organisers are now offering dedicated smartphone applications so that you can better streamline your overall experience. Be confident to take advantage of this opportunity and save any particular sessions that you want to attend. While this is best to do days in advance, never forget that last-minute changes can and will occur from time to time. So, check the application or other online information on the day of the conference to verify that no modifications have taken place.
These are just a handful of useful suggestions which will make certain that your next conference will run smoothly and that no surprises will suddenly appear. What are your experiences when travelling to a conference? What additional information do you put on your agenda?
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 33 events with over 73’000 delegates. Amongst our clients are international associations, governmental organisations and corporations.
If you wish to receive additional information about Congrex Switzerland, please feel free to contact us.