If you're organising a business conference, you want the event to be the very best it can be. But how can you make it a great conference, as opposed to a merely good one? You want people to be competing for places at the conference next year, and this means providing a great experience and developing a positive reputation for the event. Here's how you can deliver a great conference and ensure it becomes a hot topic of conversation in your industry sector:
Hire a great venue
Your conference needs to be in a suitably-sized, fit-for-purpose facility, which gives you various design and set-up options. You must be able to customise the site to suit the specific needs of the conference. The facility should be well-equipped with technology, have great catering facilities and the furniture should be comfortable too.
Make the conference accessible
The conference needs to be accessible in terms or location, but also from a cost perspective. You should look to book a facility in a central location, which people can get to easily by road and rail. If the conference location is off-the-beaten-track, it may dissuade people from coming. Price is also important - you can't overcharge for attendance, but equally, you don't want to make tickets too cheap or people will assume the conference isn't worth attending.
Secure a great sponsor
If you can secure a well-known, reputable sponsor for the conference, it gains instant credibility. Not only will you have more funds at your disposal for planning a great event, but you're more likely to attract the attention of the people who matter. After all, you want important people to attend the conference.
Attract high quality guests
If you're able to secure the attendance of high-profile industry figures - whether as a keynote speaker, or simply part of the audience - this will attract other people. If the leading lights are known to attend the conference, you may have many more applications next year, as others look to do their networking at your event.
Secure quality speakers
For many people, the decision to attend a conference or not will depend on who is delivering the main address, or addresses. You need to attract interesting individuals, who are well-known and have something interesting to say. Getting a big name as your keynote speaker can do much of your marketing for you.
Choose a suitable theme
What are the big talking points within the industry? Or the issues which aren't being addressed, but need to be? Your conference needs to be relevant to recent, current or future developments within the industry sector you are working in. Business people need to see value in attending, learning from speeches, workshops and seminars, and networking with others in the context of the conference theme.
Provide learning opportunities
If the schedule allows, organise meetings, seminars and workshops, allowing attendees to discuss the theme in smaller groups and get some of their networking done. Inevitably, many of the attendees will be looking to talk with others - whether they are new contact or old. It's important to facilitate this process, by making suitable time available during the day. Don't just organise one lecture after the next.
Consider the small details
It's important to think about the little things, such as decorations, signage, the quality of the acoustics, the room temperature and quality of the seating. You also need to ensure there is a strong a reliable Wi-Fi service, with sufficient bandwidth for multiple users accessing the network at the same time. And don't forget the catering! Tea, coffee and biscuits is the absolute minimum, but if you want to impress your guests, you should provide hot and cold food as well.