Corporate Event Planner Tips for a Successful Convention
A convention is a great way to bring a large number of like-minded people together for learning, networking, and celebrating shared achievements. However, with large numbers of people come new sets of challenges in planning a successful event. Here are a few tips to consider when planning your next convention.
1. Confirm Setup Times
Setup times are critical when planning your convention. Most conventions require large production setups for the General Session or main meeting. It’s important to create a detailed agenda for your setup and share this with your venue, AV team, decorator, and anyone else involved with your setup. All parties need to work together to complete their setup requirements on time. If the setup is delayed, you might have to pay overtime rates for labor, and your dress rehearsals could be cut short.
2. Review Safety Procedures
Ask the venue’s head of security to attend your pre-con so everyone can review the safety protocols together. Re-confirm your plan of action in case of an emergency, so everyone is aware of the necessary steps that are to be taken. Some key questions to ask: Who is to be contacted first in case of an emergency? Does the venue have a doctor on-site? Where is the nearest hospital?
3. Plan for Arrivals
Main arrival day presents many challenges, one of which is hotel check-in. If you have a large number of attendees arriving within a short time period, ask your hotel if they can pre-key rooms. This can be tricky, but if done successfully, this will eliminate long lines at hotel check-in and speed up your registration process.
Extra tip: Add a hospitality area with lounge furniture and beverages for those attendees who arrive before hotel check-in time and have to wait for their room to become available.
4. Use Local Resources
The CVB (Conventions & Visitors Bureau) is a great resource and can provide great value-adds usually at little to no cost. Some services that the local CVB can provide:
• Welcome signage at the airport
• Goody bags with coupons and information on local restaurants, activities, etc.
• CVB staff member at your registration desk to answer questions and provide recommendations on nearby attractions
5. Stay Ahead of Schedule
An easy way to keep your attendees happy is to keep them well-fed! Re-confirm setup times for your f&b breaks and meal functions with your Banquet Captain. Ensure food is set early in case your meeting is running ahead of schedule. Being a few steps ahead of the agenda ensures your attendees won’t be waiting to eat, and you keep the event on schedule.
6. Manage Event Flow
Moving lots of people through a large venue can be difficult. If you have multiple breakout sessions or meetings co-occurring, plan to have plenty of directional signage. In addition, ask the venue if they can spare some of their staff to assist in directing attendees. Having a friendly face help with directions provides an extra level of service and keeps your event running smoothly.