For most SME’s, planning a conference is a job that’s handed to the marketing, communications or admin team. Quite understandable, because budgets are tight and unless it’s a major product launch or you’re expecting a huge turnout, it makes sense to do it in-house.
Instead, focus your attention on finding the right conference venue – because they have experience planning hundreds of events. You can rely on their skills and capabilities.
When picking a venue, most people focus on location and look. It’s easy to think about how the setting will come across to your guests. Will they be able to access it okay? If it’s a multi-day event, is there accommodation close by? Are there any attractions close by to fill in any free time?
Of course, accessibility, accommodation, costs, staffing and food are all important, but there’s one thing that many people overlook – great AV production.
Find a venue that has all the necessary technical components you’ll need. Create a checklist for venue requirements. First, make a list of the different ways you plan to present information to your guests. This includes audio-visual equipment, stages, screens, microphones, and Wi-Fi access. Be mindful of the way the room is set up, paying close attention to seating arrangements and if you have the ability to bring in vendors in other areas (like breakout rooms).
AV should never be underestimated. Not only does it help you get your messages across better, but it shows your guests that you put time and effort into planning your event. With digital, the options are endless. Using AV equipment, you can create long-lasting messages. The technology allows you to bring it alive through visuals, video, sound, lighting and interactive capabilities.
How will you set the mood? Think about not just the music you’ll play but big screen projections, digital graphics and animations, spotlighting, logo projections, and stage design. Will you use an MC? Consider a PA sound system and get your conference rocking a concert vibe.
Consider the mood you’re trying to create, whether the event is indoors or outdoors, if there are certain areas that need to be highlighted (such as product displays), and whether there will be entertainment.
Go back to the number of guests you’re expecting. How can you make your messages as personal as possible, while still capturing a crowd? Spend some time thinking about this first before you look for your venue. Because, in the end, you know your customer best.
Choosing the perfect conference venue is an important decision. While you want to feel good about the space as you walk in, don’t forget about the other parts, like AV production. While they might not be the first things to come to mind, they’re just as (if not more) important.