Meet Laura, our Senior Administrator and all round 54-Events-Guru! As far as we’re concerned, what Laura doesn’t know about events isn’t worth knowing. Having started off as an apprentice in 2011, Laura is now responsible for project administration and compliance, as well as a key member of the venue team ensuring 54 operates smoothly.
And now she can add ‘Guest Blogger’ to her list of ever-growing talents, as she’s penned five tips on how to plan the perfect conference. Today we’re sharing tip 1 & 2, and we invite you to ‘tune in’ for part 2 next week, where we’ll reveal tips 3, 4 and 5.
Over to you Laura …
5 Steps to Planning a Successful Conference
First time organising a conference but don’t have a clue where to start? Or perhaps you just need some ideas and tools on how to create a successful conference?
Yes, conference planning may seem like a daunting task but if you have a clear vision in place and have the basics covered, you are only a stones throw away from meeting success!
Through my time working with the venue team at ’54 St James Street’, the flagship home of The Women’s Organisation, I have learnt a few of the key elements that are required in the planning stages of events, meetings, conferences and training. Here, I have put together the 5 areas which I believe are the most crucial steps towards planning a successful conference:
Step 1: Plan your Business Vision
“To plan with a vision is to plan with precision.” So, the starting point is always the vision and the business plan. Gather the team together for a meeting and start creating a basic plan to put your vision to paper:
- Why are you planning a conference?
- What do you want to achieve?
- How are you going to meet your objectives?
- When would you ideally like it to take place? (Ideally, I would recommend starting to plan a year in advanced of your possible conference dates.)
- Where is the preferred location for the conference to take place?
- Who in the team will take what role in organising and what are their duties?
- Then the big one is Budget, where will the money come from and how much can you spend?
Step 2: Pick your Date and Venue
Now, for the person whose job it is to pick the perfect conference venue, there are a number of important factors you may need to consider when choosing:
· Accessibility - Ask about local transport, disabled access, carparking, amenities and near hotels if needed.
· Technical - Think about the I.T that is required for the day and find out if the venue has - projection screen, microphone & free Wi-Fi.
· Size - You may not know the amount of people who will attend your conference yet, but if you have a target amount then this should help to pick the correct sized room. (Remember -the layout of the room you require will alter the amount of how many delegates it can seat, E.g. – cabaret, theatre, horseshoe.)
· Availability - Is the venue going to be available on one of your preferred dates?
· Catering & Refreshments - Does the venue have onsite catering and refreshments, or will you need to contract another service?
Ø TIP: To help compare different venues and their facilities in the area, you may consider using a site such as Meetings Booker or for our city we have Liverpool Convention Bureau. However, note that if you do book through these sites to make the booking, then they will probably charge commission. As well as this, arranging a viewing can be very helpful to gain a better picture of the conference facilities and meeting the onsite staff can be helpful to offer some ideas.
Yep – we weren’t lying when we said Laura knows her stuff! Thanks for lending us your expertise Laura.
If you’re looking to plan the perfect conference, why not check out our facilities at 54 St James Street? Our versatile Roddick Rooms can host between 10-120 people and provides a contemporary space for conferences, training, networking and more.
If you would like to arrange a visit or speak to our team for more information, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0151 706 8100.
Remember to visit our blog next week for part 2 on planning the perfect event!