Keys to organising a successful conference (PART 1)
Many professionals, who take on the responsibility of hosting and planning a conference, do so over and above their “day job” as an academic, medic, or professional in their field of speciality. Therefore, there may be a knowledge gap, manpower or time shortage, or a combination of all of these factors. This is where a PCO (Professional Conference Organiser) such as Promaco Conventions can help. We offer a wide range of service and skill support and will offer these as a complete service, if this is the level of support required, or alternatively, offer their services individually to manage specific aspects of the event that the committee or association headquarters’ team wish to outsource. We are happy to manage as much or as little of the conference that the client requires.
- Start early
It’s never too early to get started. Venues get booked out early andyour preferred dates might no longer be available or keynote speakers, sponsors have already committed to another event on their calendar. Two or three years maybe seem like a long time, but time goes very fast and soon your conference will only be a year away. The earlier you start, the less pressure the committee will feel in getting everything organised.
- Build a strong committee
I could probably write a whole blog about building a committee (which I will at a later point), but the most important thing is that you choose the right people for your needs. Do you need a lot of sponsorship for your conference? Then you need committee members with good industry contacts. Are you organising an academic conference and have to review a lot of papers? Make sure you have some people on the committee that can assist with the review of the papers.
- Engage a PCO early
A PCO will do most of the work for you, so the earlier you hire a professional for assistance the more time and money you save. PCOs also know where rates are negotiable with suppliers and make sure get the best rates possible.
- Strategic planning
Once you have a PCO on board, they will assist you with the strategic plan of your upcoming conference. Setting a theme for the event is just as important as sticking to a timeline and not missing important deadlines
Setting a budget early on and making sure the event is viable to run. Setting goals: do you just want to break even or should this conference make a profit? The PCO will take care of the whole financial aspect of your event; set up a trust account and receiving of all monies, banking and the production of regular reports. No financial decisions are made without the Conference Chairs signing off.
Click here for PART 2