Are you an office manager or assistant? In accounts or project management? If you’re planning a conference, organising it most likely falls on your desk. This can be exciting when you’re first tasked with the responsibility, but it quickly gets daunting when you realise there’s lots of moving parts to make it a success. 

So here’s our quick conference planning checklist to help you get started on your road to a successful event. 

Work out the essentials

  • Write down the goals and objectives of your event – it’s important to know what you want to get out of hosting the conference, as well as what you want your attendees to get out of it. Ideally you want to have measurable targets to know if your event was a success.
  • Who is your target audience? You should be very clear on who you want to attend the event, and what their desires and needs are. 
  • Location of the conference – where does it make sense to locate the event. Tip: Consider striking a balance between an easy drive for attendees, but away from the hustle and bustle of a city, with plenty of parking.   
  • Choose a date that suits your target attendees, being careful of public holidays, or any other events they may be attending – you may want to choose these dates based on your ideal venue (which we’ll get to)
  • Price – Determine if the event will be free or a paid ticket 

What is your Budget? 

This is an important question to discuss. You may need to consider catering, décor, keynote speakers and rentals. Research and plan your budget, and keep track of it as you go along.  

Choose the conference venue

Getting the conference venue right is essential – do they have options for the conference size you’re aiming for. Do they have separate areas for breakout sessions? Especially if the package offers experienced event managers to help you plan your event. Keep this in mind as you’re searching for your conference venue, as well as other key features like on-site parking and accommodation for guests and speakers, event catering, and a picturesque location. 

A good conference venue will be able to help you to get the most from your event with ease, by assisting with important event set up:

  • Event layouts – Choose seating arrangements, location of stands  
  • Event themes – Create buzz and make the event memorable  
  • Decor – Set the mood, and encourage engagement with carefully selected decor
  • Music – Along with the decor, well-chosen music can set the mood
  • A/V options – projectors, wireless presentation, digital signs, microphones
  • Food and drink – Everyone loves good food. Don’t be the event that’s remembered for letting people go hungry or thirsty

Once you’ve settled on your venue (with the date and location), it’s time to start working your way through this conference planning checklist.

Create your conference program

Pull out a large sheet of paper (or whiteboard) and list all of the major themes and topics that you want to cover. Your conference program should be designed to satisfy your audience first and foremost. 

Identify & book ideal speakers and presenters that will attract and delight your target audience. 

Marketing your event

You generally want to create buzz around your event. Get people talking. On social media, in person, and everywhere in between. 

Marketing collateral may include:

  • Conference landing page and/or Eventbrite page 
  • Custom logos and branding
  • Printed flyers
  • Paid advertisements
  • Dedicated event emails
  • Social media posts
  • Marketing budget
  • Prepare profiles and photos for all speakers

The little things

  • Finalise the running sheet for the event day (or weekend) 
  • Organise stationary supplies (name tags, pens, notepads etc.) 
  • Send reminders to all registered guests 
  • Review the masterplan as a team and confirm individual tasks 
  • Make backups for all AV presentations (use USBs)

Work with your event management team to set up and check the room layout, confirm AV is working, and direct attendees with arrival directions. The conference planning checklist will be different for every company and every event. However, this will serve as an introductory resource for you to fill in the gaps. 

Our award-winning conference venue in the Adelaide Hills is a great place to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city (only 20mins from Adelaide CBD), with picturesque views, state-of-the-art conferencing facilities,  accommodation, and free on-site parking.

Ease the stress. Let us host your upcoming conference and tap into our team of Event Planners to seamlessly slot together the elements of your conference.

Fairy lights and an outdoor deck with an Adelaide Hills backdrop, sound good? 

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