When it comes to successful conference planning, the devil is in the details. Following are some simple tips to help tame those difficult details:

Know Your Budget

At the end of the day, money will be an important, if not the most important issue, for both you and your customers. The most interesting conference in the world won’t sell if it’s drastically overpriced. Ensure that hotel rooms are priced reasonably and that catering costs are not excessive. If you’re paying for speakers, make sure the contract spells out all covered and non-covered expenses so there are no surprise requests for reimbursement. Don’t forget to consider incidentals such as VIP gifts and decorations: these small expenses can bust a budget if not considered early in the planning process.

Know Your Audience

So much work goes into planning the programmatic aspects of a conference that basic audience needs sometimes get forgotten. When picking a location, consider the age and location of your audience. If most attendees are from the immediate geographical area, you will need less hotel rooms but more parking. If food and beverages are not provided, make sure there are a variety of restaurants nearby in a range of price points. Proximity to public transportation will likely need to be considered, especially if not all meetings or events are held on-site.

Consolidate Your Information

Using conference management software is an easy and productive way to consolidate information and centralize conference administration. With the right software, your organizational process is streamlined and you can accomplish four or five jobs simultaneously. Most conference management software can be customize to fit your needs, so you can keep track of speakers, attendees, exhibitors, schedules, locations, billing and invoicing all in one place. Even basic tasks like making nametags or place cards can be simplified with this useful tool.

Think Ahead

By the time a conference is over, you will likely be collapsing from exhaustion. Hang in a little bit longer and do a post-conference review. The information gained from this experience can be priceless. Meet with hotel and event staff to get their opinions about what did and didn’t work well. Even if it’s just you and a blank sheet of paper, makes notes while the experience is still fresh. Trial and error can be an excellent teacher, and each conference you plan will likely run smoother than the last.

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