Every year, thousands of people in the UK flock to various conferences with the intent to network, learn and inform. They leave with new knowledge, new connections and a “swag bag” full of conference goodies and the organisers are left with pride and accomplishment. Planning and executing a conference is a very rewarding experience. It’s great to see something you’ve created come to life and having the opportunity to organise a conference looks great on any CV. A conference also provides the perfect place to carry out networking which could benefit your business or personal career. There are many aspects to consider when convention planning, and it should run smoothly if you are organised.
Conference and event management
At Sedgebrook Hall, we’ve hosted many great conferences and our team has a wealth of experience in all aspects of the organisation. We’ve created a guide on 4 stages of conference planning that are all vital for a successful event. There are plenty of useful apps and software you can use when managing your conference.
Preparation for a conference is key. Ideally, the earlier you can begin planning and preparing each step, the better. Have a “kick-off” meeting with your committee to make the initial decisions. If this is your first time planning a conference, seek advice from a conference and events coordinator. They can guide you through the steps needed and give hands-on advice. Follow up with regular catch-ups with your team, either in person or via skype. This is vital to ensure everyone is on the same page and you are organising comprehensively. In the meantime, use a spreadsheet to record all the planning and purchasing you have made. Use an interactive spreadsheet, such as Google Docs, so everyone on the team has a live update of what’s been done and what needs organising, including a budget, location, venue, guest list and catering. Creating a timeline including each task is a great way to visualise what you’ve organised so far and what still needs to be done. There are loads of online conference management tools you can try.
Corporate conference planning
Create a seamless marketing strategy to ensure the best turn out. The best strategy depends on the type of conference you’re having and the subsequent target audience. Ensure you have plenty of time to plan so you can maximise your marketing strategy and use it to your advantage. In your team, you should have a someone with prior marketing experience who can advise you. According to Eventbrite, 25% of traffic to event registration pages comes from social networks so it’s important you plan a social strategy. Social media is a massive part of a marketing strategy and work needs to be done before, during and after your event.
If you would like external speakers at your event, again, time is of the essence. Create a list of potentials and reach out to them as soon as possible. Speakers likely have busy schedules and don’t want to feel pressured into making a decision. Social media is a good platform to find relevant speakers and get in contact with them easily. Up and coming speakers are often happy to speak for free or a lower budget in order to get exposure. It’s nice to have a mix of both new and experienced speakers at an event, and this makes for a range of talks for your delegates. It’s a nice touch to have the organiser of a conference as a speaker as well. Don’t be afraid to prepare something to say and ensure you thank all delegates and speakers for their time and attendance.
The aftermath of a conference is just as important as the planning stage. Always follow up with delegates, speakers, sponsors and anyone else involved in the conference. They could suggest improvements, let you know what you did well and help ensure your next conference is even better. Meet as a team and discuss how it went. Did you meet your objectives? What could have gone better? Keep a record of your thoughts and you can use them to plan your next one.
Conference planning services
At Sedgebrook Hall we have 22 conference venue rooms based in Northampton which can be organised differently depending on the type of conference. Our team can cater to a range of requirements depending on what you have in mind. Sedgebrook Hall has the latest in AV technology, a range of modern amenities and the experience to help you host a fantastic conference. We are located in the charming village of Chapel Brampton and 5 miles from the M1, 6 miles from Northampton train station and town centre, and a 40-minute drive from Birmingham Airport. With this fantastic location, you’re sure to maximise your turnout with our hall hire or meeting room services. Don’t hesitate to get in contact for more information.