It takes quite a lot of know how when it comes to arranging conferences these days. RiverBlogger has compiled a few tips on arranging conferences after observing all the planning going into conferences at the Riviera on Vaal Hotel and Country Club:
Before the conference:
- Depending on the size of the conference, you might need at least 6 months to a year to arrange the conference.
- Start by booking your venue. The Riviera on Vaal Hotel and Country Club offers a variety of different conference venues, including an executive boardroom.
- Define the key players of the conference and tailor the programme according to their needs.
- When deciding upon the timing of the conference, remember to include time for registration, social breaks and travelling.
- When choosing the venue, remember to consider the accessibility for the delegates, the size of the venue, possibilities for break-out rooms suitable for small group discussions, space for tea or coffee and stand space for sponsors if you will be using any.
- Decide who will be the speakers at the conference and invite them with as much notice as possible. When arranging the conference, try not to include yourself as one of the speakers and invite only those you know will speak well.
- Decide on the delegate fee before advertising the conference. The cost should cover venue hire, accommodation and the speakers’ fees and travel costs. It is also here where you need to decide whether you will be making use of sponsors.
- Give advance notice of the conference date and time for delegates to be able to slot it into their diaries. Include a designated contact person and telephone number in all correspondence and publicity.
- Write to all speakers confirming their topics, the date and the audio-visual aids that will be available at the conference venue. Also confirm their accommodation requirements. Ask if they would like to provide delegates with written précis of their presentations.
- Ensure that you have a bank account into which delegates can pay registration fees and keep accurate record of payments coming in.
- Send programmes and registration forms to all requesting them.
- Remember to add a cancellation clause in the registration form, as well as a higher late booking fee.
- Ask delegates about dietary requirements in the registration form.
- For accommodation purposes you can provide delegates with the Hotel’s contact details and ask them to arrange any additional accommodation on their own. Do not end up becoming a travel agent.
- Check final numbers with the Hotel two weeks before the conference, decide on the menus and finalize the arrangements.
- Provide the Hotel with a complete list of delegates and speakers for allocation of accommodation.
- Prior to the conference, prepare delegate packs, including a name badge, delegate list, programme, pad of paper, speakers’ notes, pen and dinner invitation if applicable.
- Also prepare appraisal sheets to be completed by delegates at the end of the conference, as well as their attendance certificates.
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Follow our blog and receive more conferencing tips in RiverBlogger’s next post, including tips for at as well as after the conference.