The Ultimate Conference Planning Checklist For First Time Planners
So you’ve become an accidental event planner?
You don’t know where to start?
Here’s the ultimate Conference Planning Checklist for complete event newbies.
Eight to six(+) months prior to event
Establish your event objectives & goals
Select dates and choose one that doesn’t interfere with other events or public holidays
Identify a venue and negotiate rates
Start your event master plan
Select potential event technology partners
Get some event website inspiration
Identify potential partners, speakers or sponsors
Decide if you want to charge and what conference tickets will cost?
How many people do you want to attend in person?
Will you provide live stream to remote attendees
Plan your budget (pull in data from previous events if available)
*start conference planning as early as possible. For a user conference, for example, 8-6 months is the absolute minimum. 12+ months will cause less stress and allow for better planning.
Six to four months prior to event
Confirm speakers. Have contracts signed (if necessary)
Decide upon event swag
Get speaker biography, photo, sessions etc.
Finalize presentation / speech topics
Arrange travel & accommodation
Set up your event landing page
Make sure you can easily build an event website in the look & feel you desire
Make sure the event website can handle increased traffic
Make sure the event website is mobile optimized and offers event marketing features
Plan your on-site registration or on-demand badging needs
Four to two months prior to event
Get sign off on look & feel of event website
Go live with your online registration
Develop marketing content, e.g. blog posts, newsletter articles, Facebook Ads
Request logos from corporate sponsors & partners
Create your Facebook event page
Use LinkedIn to market your event
Set up your event influencer marketing campaign
Eight weeks prior to event
Send reminders to registrants
Confirm travel & accommodation details for staff, speakers etc.
Remind speakers about presentations & content
Release press release about keynote speakers or VIPs attending
Launch event influencer campaign
One week prior to event
Review your master plan to make sure nothing falls through the cracks
Produce seating cards, name cards
Close registration and provide final number to venue & caterer
Collect all presentations on USB sticks
One day prior to the event
Take delegate packs to reception area
Put up signage to guide attendees to conference room from the hotel/venue reception area or main entrance
Place “Keep these seats free’ cards on two or three seats near the entrance of the conference room , so that latecomers can slip in easy
Check the room layout and make sure it’s appropriately set-up
Check the heating/cooling of the room
Check the technical equipment including screen, projector, AV
Delegate tables: Check that the water, drinking glasses, pads and pens or pencils and name cards are in place
Find out the location of toilet facilities, including disabled access
Check that no fire drills are planned for the day
Check fire drill procedures and find out about emergency routes out of the conference room
Find out exactly what the lunch options will be and what the seating arrangements will be
Set up registration desk with delegate badges lined up alphabetically or on-demand badging facilities set up
Direct delegates so they know where to find the toilets
Ensure that tea/coffee facilities never run out
Ensure you have copies of phone numbers, directions, instructions, parking permits, seating charts & guest lists
Throughout the day of the event
Tidy the reception area
Meet any further speakers arriving for the event
Give the pre-lunch presenter the 5-minute signal before lunch is due
At the end of the event
Collect any badges offered to you
Send post event survey through your mobile app or via email
Up until one week after the event
Wrap up financials: gather all receipts and final registration data to update the budget
Write thank you notes to partners, sponsors, staff, media, volunteers etc.
Give attendees access to your community
Conduct a thorough evaluation
While there are many tools out there to make your event planning easier and streamlined, you also need an awesome looking event website and registration tool that puts your brand right, front and center. Swoogo can help, so why not get your team involved and book a free tour or subscribe to our awesome newsletter?
Want more Unconventional?
Fill out the form below to be updated when we publish more good ish.