As pervasive as the Internet is these days, even the best webinars can’t match the impact of a professional conference. Whether you’re hosting in-house employees or a national audience of industry leaders, a conference is an opportunity to network and share ideas in a personal setting.
Any event planner will tell you that the preparation phase determines the success of a business conference. What many people don’t realize, however, is that new technology has helped simplify the process of organizing these events.
Conference-planning apps, such as those designed by DoubleDutch, take the hassle out of sending invitations, establishing a time schedule and providing directions to the gathering. These four tips can also help make your next business conference a memorable success:
- Find Strong Speakers
No matter the industry, there are three factors that can make or break the success of a conference: the speakers, their expertise, and the topics. Experienced presenters don’t just lecture; they facilitate discussions and approach the meeting as an open forum for exchanging ideas among everyone involved.
2. Choose the Right Location
The purpose and schedule of the business conference should help you determine an appropriate venue. Here are some questions to ask when comparing the options:
- How many attendees will there be?
- Will there be concurrent presentations that require separate rooms?
- What technology do presenters need?
- How easily accessible is the venue for the average attendee?
- Help Attendees Plan Their Travels
If the venue is outside the home city of many presenters or attendees, then you may need to make special arrangements for travelling participants. Here is some helpful info on airline discounts and hotel room deals:
Airline Discounts: Many airlines offer discounts on flights for conferences based on the arrival city and dates. One example is the United Meetings program.
These discounts are usually small – about 5 percent – and they usually require a minimum number of tickets purchased.
Hotel Room Deals: Most hotels are willing to offer discounted room blocks for conferences. Courtesy blocks are usually discounted $10 to $20 below the hotel’s normal rate. Better discounts are available for larger blocks of rooms, but they often require the organizer to commit to paying for most of the rooms regardless of attendance.
If you can’t find flight or hotel deals, then you can help your participants save money by recommending good apps to travel with, which can also reduce the stress associated with planning cross-country voyages.
4. Consider Charging an Attendance Fee
Depending on the scope of a conference, many different costs may be involved:
- Speaker fees
- Room rental
- Event staff
For employee workshops or development conferences, the company may absorb these costs. However, larger conferences may be too expensive for the company dime, but charging an attendance fee can help offset the cost. But remember: A registration fee that is too high may turn away attendees.
These four tips can help make your business conference a memorable success. Be sure to take notes on which strategies works best so you will be better prepared for your next event.