Conferences are important business events in a wide range of industries. It’s crucial to plan your conference well in advance to ensure it will be memorable for all the right reasons. Here are the key things that you need to organise.
Your conference budget
If you’ve run a conference before, this should give you a starting point for the budget that you’ll need. However, if you have already been given a set budget to work with, you’ll need to plan for your costs to fall within that number.
Create a spreadsheet of all your likely costs, and then prioritise them. If you need to cut back, cut back on less essential items first. Your conference costs could include:
- venue hire (to lower your costs, try and avoid booking around peak demand times such as holiday periods or when big local sporting events or festivals are on).
- flights/accommodation for conference attendees who are travelling long distances to attend.
- food and entertainment expenses (though these may be included in the cost of venue hire).
Try to build a buffer into your budget if possible for any unexpected costs that may occur.
In addition, you may be able to offset some of your conference costs if you can arrange for sponsorship. Potential conference sponsors could include other organisations who benefit from the products or services that your organisation provides.
It’s crucial to find a suitable conference venue and to book it well in advance. Look for a venue that:
- is conveniently located for the majority of people attending your conference.
- has hire fees fall within your budget.
- has the capacity to cater for your planned number of conference participants.
- has all the conference facilities you need. This could include audio-visual equipment and furniture, as well as sufficient meeting rooms and a flexible layout.
- is close to accommodation, restaurant/bar and entertainment facilities.
- has sufficient power outlets and wi-fi available.
Your conference venue should be easily accessible by car or public transport, and it should have sufficient parking facilities. It should also be accessible for any disabled conference participants that you may have.
In-house catering facilities are important for all-day conferences or those that run over several days. Your conference should have scheduled morning and afternoon tea breaks, as well as a lunch break. These breaks are important because they allow conference participants to mingle and mentally recharge in between attending sessions.
Make sure that you (or your venue) caters for different dietary requirements, such as having vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options available, as well as both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages if you are having any after-hours conference events.
You may need to contact conference suppliers to provide a range of items, such as:
- branded bags and satchels
- promotional t-shirts and caps
- drink bottles
Items like these can enhance the memorability of your conference long after it’s over.
Conference planning checklist
You should plan your conference well in advance to avoid any last-minute hiccups. Checklists can be very useful in planning for any conference. Depending on your specific conference needs, your conference checklist could include the following items.
1. deciding the date/s
2. setting a budget
3. deciding on the number of attendees
4. choosing a suitable venue
5. inviting participants
6. delegating conference roles (e.g. designated conference organiser/s)
7. organising flights and accommodation for people who are travelling to attend
8. planning the conference goal/s and agenda
9. deciding on a conference theme related to your conference goal/s. Try and be creative with your theme as it can help to make your conference more memorable.
10. planning the content of conference sessions (such as topics and presenters)
11. organising necessary material from suppliers
12. organising catering
13. booking restaurants or other conference-related, fun activities. Again, be creative with activities as they can also make your conference one to remember.
14. building a dedicated conference web page to house all related information
15. promoting your conference
16. preparing the venue on the day/s
17. developing a survey to collate post-conference feedback. This information will help you with planning future conferences.
How we can help with conference room hire in Perth
The Ellis Room at Bendat Basketball Centre in Floreat is available for conference hire. Its features include:
- a convenient location, just 20 minutes west of the Perth CBD.
- a capacity of up to 500 people.
- potential to partition the room into separate areas.
- a built-in AV projector.
- Free undercover parking.
- lift access.
- bar facilities.
Contact us to find out more about our function room hire for your next Perth conference!