The following checklist was presented at last month’s Event Marketing Rockstars SF Meet-Up, courtesy of Skye Holyfield, National Sales Manager for Krisam Group/Global Events Partners (GEP), which provides corporate meeting site selection and marketing solutions. Checklist items have been adapted from the original list created by Josh Marx, director of marketing with American Meetings, Inc.
7 Tips: A Meeting Planning Checklist
Here are 7 items that will help you plan and run a successful conference:
1. Identify possible dates:
When choosing the dates for a conference, have several different dates in mind. Make sure you check for similar or industry conferences so you don’t conflict. Also check for religious and secular holiday conflicts—and yes, even Father’s Day counts! Lastly, keep in mind sporting and other live events that could cause limited hotel space and travel options. Some good resources include Earth Calendar, Time and Date, and Wikipedia’s list of holidays by country. You can even Google the date with the city name to see upcoming events (i.e May 5th
2. Create a budget:
Putting a budget together is an extremely important part of the event planning process. The purpose of putting a budget together is to provide the event planner with a limit on expenditures.
The budget should be very specific and include revenues as well as expenses. This also allows for you to think in depth about everything needed for the event.
3. Find a venue for your conference:
The venue must be appropriate for your attendees and the speakers, which will be a determining factor in whether your conference is a success or not. Once you have set dates for your conference, you can begin looking for appropriate venues, and make sure you think out your meeting space needs well in advance BEFORE you go to contract with the venue. These needs vary from sound options to electric outlets to chairs/tables and parking to accessibility and even other scenarios such as if alcohol can be served and so on.
4. Agenda and speakers:
An agenda is necessary for an event to run smoothly. Even before the event it’s crucial to identify your goals and objectives and create a list of deadlines in which need to be met for the event to succeed. Speakers are one of the main reasons people attend conferences.For a conference to be successful you need to attain well-known speakers at an early stage.
Speakers who are famous help gain more attention to the conference and attract more attendees. It’s important to confirm speakers as soon as possible so that their info can be used for marketing and promotional purposes. It’s always good to run through the event, detail for detail, prior to the actual date to make sure you have everything accounted for (i.e. pens, paper, name tags, cups, plates etc.).
A solid event manager puts together a guest list primarily to target the marketing and promotion efforts to the intended audience. Promotion for your conference is about gathering new attendees and re-activating existing ones.
This can be achieved by:
- Sending invitations to last year’s attendees
- Mounting sustained electronic and direct-mail campaigns to industry/member databases
- Placing post-conference dates and ads on your Web site
- Posting your event in local event listings
- Inviting media to cover your event
6. Inventory, attendee lists, and badges:
Always check in advance to see what you need for technical equipment/AV for staging/speakers. Once you have received the equipment, always make sure to test it before the event. Make sure to always supply your attendees with name badges. This will help entry management and networking at your conference.
7. Onsite registration and entry management:
To avoid disruption on the morning of your conference, entry management should be extremely organized. The most efficient way of managing the entry is with an electronic registration system. This allows you to scan barcodes on printed registration confirmations.