We all know planning a conference is a long and difficult task. It requires intricate and detailed planning and many months of preparation. You want to make sure your conference runs smoothly; your guests are impressed and you achieve what you set out to do. The HeadBox team help plan hundreds of conferences a year for a wide range of clients and have picked up a few tips and tricks along the way. Many of them have been at the fantastic Camm & Hooper venues, so we've joined forces to compile our top 5 things to consider when planning a conference, to help the process run smoothly and make your conference a roaring success.
Having a clear agenda from the offset is an important planning stage. This is important for you as the event planner and for the rest of your team, so all the organisers know what time keynote speakers should be, when the attendees can have a break and the general structure of the day. It's also important for the attendees, giving them a schedule beforehand allows them to plan for the day, know what to expect and get excited for all the activities. It's critical for venue manager to have a copy of your agenda well in advance, so they know what to expect from the day and prepare the venue accordingly.
If you're organising an all-day conference, guests will expect refreshments. A good conference is intellectually stimulating so your attendees will work up an appetite! You should always expect a range of dietary requirements and knowing this information in advance is essential so that you can create a varied menu with the team at the venue or with your caterer. Vegetarian and vegan options, gluten free, dairy free and nut free are all things you must consider when organising a conference. Camm and Hooper have a helpful team on hand to make sure you have everything covered. This extra touch and extra interest in detail is a surefire way to make sure your conference caters to all, and to impress your guests.
Finding the perfect space is the glue that keeps your conference together. When you find the venue that matches your vision, everything else can fall into place. Camm and Hooper have a variety of spaces that can be used for corporate conference hire. Grace Hall and the Banking Hall are simply stunning. Grand and traditional, the halls are ideal for large-scale conferences. Grace Hall at the enchanting Leadenhall venue has details of the dovetail period with modern styling. The Banking Hall is also steeped in heritage and is a wonderful Grade II listed building for hire in central London. If you wanted something a little more unconventional, the hidden gem that is the Victorian Bathhouse is opulent and glamorous and an unusual conference venue in the City. If you're after a small conference venue outside the City, Six Storeys is a beautiful townhouse which can host events up to 300 guests. A decadently decorated building which epitomises the spirit of Soho. The important thing to remember is that whatever space you choose, you must ensure that it is right for your audience, that it correlates with your own company and that the venue provides everything you need for your conference.
As an event planner, the budget is paramount. Setting and sticking to a budget is perhaps one of the hardest parts of event planning. Darren the venue manager from Camm & Hooper recognises the importance of being realistic about budget. He said, "tell us your budget; being as honest as possible with the venue team allows us to work within the realistic parameters. If we cannot help, we will let you know."
If you don't have an event marketing team there are simple yet effective ways you can market your event. Prior to the event make sure you are getting interactive on social media. Tweets, Instagram Stories or even Facebook Live videos will get your attendees excited for the event. You could even create a forum where attendees, keynote speakers or sponsors could communicate before the day and ask any questions. After the event, it's important for your communication strategy to allow for attendee feedback. You could very quickly and easily create a Google Form which you send out to your attendees after the event. Event marketing doesn't have to be complicated, there are plenty of free and simple tools that are accessible for all.
Event marketing is also a great tactic for companies looking to build their brand, generate revenue and create or strengthen partnerships. As an event planner, make sure you leverage some of the easy and accessible marketing tools at your disposal. Social media provides a completely free way to get the word out there and the tactics and strategies can be scaled up from there, depending on budget.
These five easy tips will help you plan the perfect conference. If you follow these steps you're sure to make your conference accessible and under budget, and you will ultimately receive great feedback. Remember that the venues are important and planning in advance means you can get a simply stunning space, just like the Camm & Hooper venues.
Liv is the Digital Content Executive at Headbox. Reinventing the global events industry through technology. HeadBox produly represents Camm & Hooper.