Planning a business conference? Here are some things for you to consider
Conferences and trade fairs are the lifeblood of industries in America, whether for finding core customer demographics, crafting new relationships with business partners and suppliers or keeping abreast of industry news. Organizing one is much less fun than attending one, but it can also be an immensely rewarding endeavor for your industry and for your business in particular. But what do you need to consider before hosting a conference?
Firstly, you will need to reckon with the transportation needs of your guests and other attendees. Ensuring your conference’s location venue is close to certain public transport links – or well-connected by freeways – will make attendance much easier for invitees.
Accommodating the transport needs of guest speakers and honored guests should also be considered, where private jets to hire could clinch higher-profile international speakers. Domestic transport for distinguished guests could be provided in the form of private-hire cars. You could also arrange for your own team’s transportation in the form of coaches or a fleet of transport vans.
Much like with transport, ensuring your chosen venue for your conference is close to accommodation is key – especially if you are inviting guests from other states, or even other countries. Conference rooms in hotels are a common choice for this reason – and could be a shrewd decision for your own event.
As well as transport, you should also provide accommodation for your guest speakers and guests of honor. The amount you spend on this may be pre-stipulated by the contract you sign with your speaker, but could otherwise depend on proximity to the conference.
With the above in mind, you will have a clearer idea of the rough costs associated with putting together your conference. Some of these costs – from speaker fees to transport and accommodation – are unavoidable, while other costs may be subject to wiggle room.
From the start of the planning process, you should endeavor to define your fixed and variable costs, from which you can work towards a solid overall budget that works for you and your accounting team. Common areas for cutting back on expenditure are venue hire and accommodation.
One of the last pieces of the puzzle is the timetable for your event. Depending on the size and scope of your conference, the complexity of your timetable can differ; you might have multiple panels taking place throughout the day, or you might have a single stage with a roster of speakers and panels.
Multi-stage conferences with breakout rooms will require a pamphlet that outlines potential clashes, while the agenda for a single-room event can simply be a list itinerary. Either way, adequate time should be given between major speakers for breaks and food, and a decent buffer period between speakers should be left to enable technicians to complete change-overs reliably.