What is a User Conference?

While many companies hold meetings for their internal staff to disseminate directives or knowledge from management, other companies or associations hold what is called “user conferences” to pass knowledge and best practices down to their customers or members who use their products and services. Attendance varies anywhere from 200 – 20,000 based on the offerings of the hosting company. 

Purpose of User Conferences

Many software companies and associations offer “user conferences” to bring together their technical experts to provide extensive educational learning experiences to teach their customers how to maximize the potential of their product. 

Almost always, there is a trade show or expo component, so partners who offer complementary solutions to the specific industry can showcase the latest and most up-to-date offerings of new products and services. It is also a fabulous opportunity for the hosting company’s sales force to be in front of hundreds or thousands of customers to sell upgraded solutions to customers who may have a previous or older version of their product. 

A technical lab can be set up on the tradeshow floor. The lab is staffed with technical experts who are set up with a computer for each of their software solutions offered. Customers can then sit one-on-one with an expert and learn how to utilize their software to glean every last drop of capability from it to make their businesses run smoothly and more efficiently. 

Another significant aspect of holding a user conference is that attendees love networking with other business owners. They’re able to discuss and share the unique ways they have learned to use the software and have a chance to bounce ideas off one another. By sharing these best practices, they often come away with brilliant ideas to improve their businesses and are very energized and excited to institute what they have learned! 

Typical Audience

Invitations are sent to a complete customer base with the hope that the owners, presidents, CEO’s and basically the top decision-makers will attend. Many companies also send various IT and operations professionals, so they receive this high-level training on products and services offered.

Sourcing Requirements / Budget Drivers

Because this type of conference typically requires a large number of sleeping rooms and meeting space, it is best to plan to source at least a year out, preferably longer, ideally two years out.  

You will need a general session room, a meal room, a tradeshow room, and 10 to 40 breakout rooms depending on the planned amount of education sessions and how large your conference will be.

During contracting, be sure to include a clause that allows you to bring in an outside audiovisual vendor without penalty. This is typically a large cost-saving tactic and will likely be allowed unless there is a strict contract in place between the venue and another A/V partner.

You will need to be sure and provide appropriate breakfast, breaks, refreshments, and lunches to these attendees. Your company will need to decide if this will be a break-even or profitable event, and the budget will need to reflect revenues versus expenses. 

Sponsorships will typically be sold to cover the costs of meeting expenses; don’t forget to check with the hotel about any marketing fees they will charge you to brand in their hotel, which can be a significant hit to the budget! 


  • Sourcing for accommodations, meeting space, meal space, trade show, A/V
  • Budget creation and management
  • Full program creative design with brand integration
  • Stage design and décor for the entire event
  • On-site operations personnel and travel directors
  • Sponsorship prospectus ideation and creation
  • Sponsorship management
  • Full scale, flexible registration websites
  • Registration services via web and call center
  • Name badges and signage
  • Presentation templates and branding
  • Décor and entertainment sourcing and coordination
  • Transportation coordination
  • Audiovisual management
  • General Session management
  • Meeting room assignments
  • Meeting room management
  • Keynote speaker selection and management
  • Trade show and exhibit management
  • Freight management
  • Meeting kits and fulfillment
  • Promotional products and attendee incentives
  • Professionally designed confirmations and reminders
  • Real-time payment processing
  • Comprehensive cost reconciliation
  • Post-event attendee evaluations 


These types of meetings are what we call in the meeting industry, “space hogs.” They require a significant amount of meeting space for the general session, meal room, trade show, and lots of breakout rooms. For the hotel to give up this space, they often require you to book a commensurate block of sleeping rooms. A company will need to closely examine their business verticals and products to determine if they can viably fill the room block, as even though their attendees will pay for the rooms themselves, the company is still liable for any attrition. A company will also need to monitor the expenses versus revenue often and closely to ensure you meet your financial goal, whether it be profit or break-even, and adjust your offerings if your revenue is or isn’t meeting expected goals.

Creative Tips

Creating cohesive branding for signage, registration desks, expo entrance units, kiosks that ties your conference together seamlessly giving it an upgraded, polished,  and professional feel. Using bright, eye-catching graphics and colors will keep attendees engaged and show the level of attention that went into planning the event.

Keep the same branding and color palette for the mobile app, website, and printed promotional materials leading up to the conference to create an attention-grabbing roadmap that attendees will not mistake for spam or junk mail.

Why Brightspot?

With decades in the industry and Certified Meeting Professional designations, our meeting planners are highly adept at skilled negotiations, planning entertainment, audiovisual, and food and beverage very economically and efficiently. Let us assist you with elevating your event to a higher level with our fresh ideas and recommendations. Brightspot uses proven processes and has history tools we use to make informed decisions on attendance, guarantees, room blocks, etc.   

We also have forged strong industry vendor relationships, so we know the perfect people to reach out to in cities and venues in which most large user conferences are held, typically saving you money! Brightspot meeting planners are very responsive and will do anything to ensure your user conference is the absolute best one ever planned for your company. We are highly anticipatory and problem solvers to stay ahead of any challenges, which are always part of planning a large conference. Adept at pivoting, we can also be flexible to assist with any last-minute items our clients may need.  

Brightspot is here to take all of the logistics of planning the event off of your plate. This allows you more dedicated time to focus on content creation, strategies, and hosting the leadership team. Drop us a line, and let’s start thinking up bright ideas!