The word conference can strike fear into the hearts of those in business that have not had to deal with one before. Unlike a conference call, which can take place at the desk without having to think about any other factors, a real live, physical conference involves a lot of organisation.
There is the choice of venue for a start. It has to be in a place where all delegates are able to attend, and therefore it may have to be close to an international airport or a main railway station. The venue itself is only one consideration, but still needs to tick a number of boxes. Is it large enough? Does it have audio-visual facilities? Will they provide catering? It will also have to be situated where there is enough hotel accommodation nearby and enough availability for the given dates, to comfortably provide rooms for all attendees.
A very long to-do list!
Once the venue is determined, there are a host of other practicalities. Invitations have to be sent out. Is there anyone in the company who has time to design and administer this task? Delegates will need conference packs, name badges, and instructions on how to get there. You will need to keep track of replies and travel and hotels booked and paid for. Dietary requirements have to be taken into account, as do other things such as access for disabled. A budget has to be drawn up and adhered to. You may need banners and posters printed or videos made.
If the conference is longer than a single day, entertainment in the evenings is another feature that must be planned. A guest speaker is a popular choice, or you may wish to lay on a cocktail reception or even a disco. Some companies will use a conference gathering as a good opportunity to host an awards ceremony. Here again, you may need the services of an experienced MC. Above all, everyone who comes to the conference needs to leave feeling impressed, happy that they have been well looked after and that the trip has been worthwhile.
The merits of conference organisers
Ideally, the very best way to proceed is to hire in experts. This really is a specialised business in itself. Manchester, situated almost bang in the middle of the UK is a highly popular choice to hold conferences and many companies who gather there call on a conference organiser in Manchester, to see them through the set-up stages, execution and enjoyment of a successful event.
Even the largest businesses rarely have the staff who can take on the gargantuan task of conference management on top of their everyday roles. With such an important occasion, it is not worth leaving things to chance. It is a logistical challenge and the best way to get it right is to trust an expert who can pull it off for you in style.
Above all, a conference is a gathering point, a chance to meet and mingle and network in a more relaxed setting, whether for a day, or a week. Ensure that your delegates enjoy the experience by making sure all the little things have been taken into account.