Organising a conference or corporate event can be time consuming – and not just when it comes to planning the event itself. Once you have found the perfect venue, fixed a date and organised your keynote speakers or your entertainment and catering, you also need to put your energy into spreading the word and drumming up interest in your event.
Conferences, in particular, can be a major operation to organise, so if you’re at a loss where to begin or are simply looking for conference marketing ideas, here are a few helpful pointers to set you on the right track for organising a truly successful event.
To begin with, you should make a checklist of everything that needs doing to prepare for your event. Organise things in order of priority, discuss and set budgets for each element and set yourself some time frames within which each task needs to be completed. Planning is vital if everything is to come together on the day, so the checklist will help concentrate your mind and will help to determine how you use your time and energies in the run-up to the event.
At the very top of that checklist should be finding the best venue, because your venue will dictate much of what follows. Whether it’s a conference, seminar, important client meeting, a dinner, reception or company party, finding the right venue is the key to success. Some of the most popular venues can be booked up months in advance, so plan well ahead (six months is a good rule of thumb) and have a date or two in mind when you approach your shortlisted venues. There are hundreds of venues to choose from out there, but as with anything in life, some will be better than others and reading a few reviews is always wise.
Don’t be tempted to take the first venue you see simply because it’s available. Look around with a trusted colleague who can give you a second opinion and discuss your requirements in depth with the team who manage the venue. The best venue operators will be able to accommodate special requests, and most will be able to put together a package involving catering, entertainment and anything else you may need, which can alleviate some of the planning pressure. If you’re on the lookout for conference venues in London or another major city, make sure you find somewhere with good transport links and, if possible, the option of parking and accommodation.
Once you’ve found your venue and settled on a date, it’s time to explore catering options, added extras and implementing your conference promotion ideas.
Venues should be able to supply you with a range of catering options, from light afternoon refreshments at your meeting to buffets or full sit-down meals if you’re hosting a reception or party. Make sure all dietary requirements are catered for before you issue invitations, so that you can give guests the option to tick-boxes if they have any allergies, intolerance or specific requirements.
You should also consider any additional equipment you might need for your event. If you require audio or visual equipment or projector screens for your conference or seminar, make sure they can be provided and that the space you have is appropriate for them – a tiny screen in a huge conference hall simply won’t work.
Once everything else has fallen into place, it’s time to let the world know about it. Sending out email or physical invites is just one way of making sure people know when and where your event is happening, but here’s where joining forces with your company’s marketing and PR departments and harnessing the power of technology comes into play. Setting up web,, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages – along with relevant hashtags identifiable to your event is almost compulsory these days, as the first thing most invitees will want to do is search for it online.