Planners Toolkit – Things to Know When Planning a Conference.

Mar 9, 2020

Planners Toolkit – Things To Know When Planning A Conference

Whether you are a novice planning your first event or an experienced planner who is used to the hard work and detail that goes into organising events, it’s good practice to develop your own version of a planner’s toolkit. It makes your life easier, making sure you don’t forget any important steps and ensuring everything happens on time. Here are some things to consider when planning a conference, in particular in one of our unique and historic locations on the DCU Campus.

Why?

Determine why you are holding the conference and who it is aimed at? What would you like your delegates to come away with? Maybe you want to educate them on a specific topic or gain some more knowledge sharing from the attendees? Is it to generate revenue? Secure new clients or gain publicity? Keep your goal in mind as you plan the event, always having it as a top priority.

Create a Wish List

If everything were to go to plan, what exactly would your event look like? How many attendees would buy tickets to cover your costs and how much do you need to make a profit? Try to form a general idea of what your ideal venue will look like, the catering you are hoping for and the location of the conference, so you have a good place to start.

Set a Budget

How will you pay for the event? Do you have investors or sponsors or are you planning the conference on behalf of your employer? You may need to have a little flexibility on your budget depending on the exact requirements of the event. Make a budget spreadsheet detailing the major costs associated with the event, making sure to take advantage of any equipment provided by the venue. Include important factors like room hire, staff, AV equipment, signage, refreshments, printing and promotional material and giveaways. Don’t forget to budget for the marketing and advertising of the event and build in a 10% contingency in case costs run over. You might even consider finalising your budget with your venue so they can advise on any additional costings that you may have overlooked.

Book Your Venue

Of course, cost will be a factor when deciding the location for your conference but it’s never worth sacrificing quality for the sake of a budget. Your event venue is the first thing people will notice so make sure it’s a good one. Make sure your conference venue is easily accessible from the airport and the city by public transport. Check with the venue what is included in the cost of room rental and if they can provide refreshments – doing this will save you hiring external equipment or caterers which can have huge costs. Review all contracts and cancellation policies carefully before going ahead with any bookings. If you’d like to learn more about our flexible conference venues in DCU, our staff are happy to help.

Book Your Speaker

Depending on the nature of your event, you may want some interesting speakers to shed some light on your topic. Your ideal speaker may be the President of Ireland but for budget reasons (and to be more realistic !), choose more viable options. Remember that you get what you pay for when it comes to quality, experienced and knowledgeable speakers. Professionals won’t appear for free. Make sure your speaker and chosen topic are relevant to the specific audience of your event.

Choose Your Vendors & Set Agenda

Reach out to your network to identify the speakers and items for giftbags which will best help you achieve the conference’s objectives and are within your budget. Choose your vendors carefully and make sure to shop around for the best value and ask about bulk buy discounts. You might even poll some potential attendees to get an idea of exactly what they’d like to see. Draft a detailed schedule for the day’s events, making sure to include formal speakers, group workshops, networking time and very importantly, some break time so your guests don’t lose focus.

Market Your Event.

Depending on the size and capacity of your event you may need an event website with online registration. Create a logo and colour scheme for your event and display it on all of your promotional materials. Use local listings if appropriate. If you are inexperienced in marketing, you may wish to use professional help to ensure the success of the event. You should also engage with the local Convention Bureau who can offer practical and financial advice.

If you’d like to host your event in one of North Dublin’s conference venues, contact our experienced event staff in DCU today. Not only do we offer flexible rates, we are also in a wonderful historic location that will make your Dublin event stand out from the crowd.

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