Event and Conference Planning Checklist
How to Plan an Event
Are you planning your own event? Why not consult our helpful Golden Jubilee Conference planning checklist?
At the Golden Jubilee Conference Hotel, we have many years experience of hosting events ranging from large residential conferences to small workshops or training courses for less than 10 people.
Careful and thoughtful planning will ensure a successful event. Our team are happy to help you through the process, to ensure all your requirements are fully met. We are also happy to suggest some options for you or we are happy to recommend experienced Professional Conference Organisers (PCOs) familiar with working in the Golden Jubilee Conference Hotel.
POINTS TO CONSIDER:
- What is the key purpose of your event and how will you measure its success? Is it a conference to highlight a new initiative, share findings or gauge opinions? Or is it a meeting to discuss current work plans, future strategies, or to stimulate thinking and encourage collaborations?
- Define your outcomes. What sort of experience do you want your delegates to have and what information to you want them to leave with?
- Are there any specific objectives or goals that need to be met?
- What are the dates or date options that you are looking for?
- Give yourself enough time to prepare and to ensure that your venue is available. Create a timeline of all the the required tasks and key order or confirmation dates.
- Registration - how are you going to register your delegates? Are you going to use one of the many products available online or have a bespoke registration system created?
- Have you got enough resources in your department or organisation to make all the arrangements and provide administration support? For bigger events you may wish to consider using a PCO or events company for all or some of your event organisation.
- There are many time-critical tasks involved in organising a successful event.
- How many delegates are likely to attend?
- What is your budget? Do you need to get additional funds from third-party sponsors? If so, they may require exhibition or display space, branding on your materials or an opportunity to speak.
- How much of your budget will you allocate for speaker costs?
- Will you be charging for attending the event? If so, you will need to create pricing options. How will you collect payment?
- Badges - what sort of badges do you want for your delegates and how will they be produced.
- Staffing - what support staff do you need? Remember, registration staff, roving mics, walking signposts!
- Will you be providing handouts or a 'goodie' bag?
- What sort of conference or meeting facility do you need? Theatre style, cabaret style, classroom style, boardroom style or a combination? View our conference rooms for ideas.
- Do you need any syndicate or breakout rooms?
- Do you need a display or exhibition area?
- What sort of audio visual requirements do you need?
- What sort of technology do you want to use if any and what support do you need? Will you be encouraging delegates to use social media during the event?
- How many coffee or refreshment breaks do you require?
- Is networking an important element of the event? You may wish to consider how refreshment breaks can help this process.
- Where are your delegates coming from and how will they arrive? We have car parking and concierge collection from Glasgow Airport (subject to availability).
- Is your event residential? If so, what standard of bedroom do you want for your delegates and what other leisure facilities can our venue offer? We have a gym, swimming pool, free wifi, restaurants and bars. We also have a dedicated Guest Experience Manager who can help plan leisure activities.
- Have you thought about the Health & Wellbeing of your delegates and, indeed, yourself. Selecting a venue that can support Health & Wellbeing is a major plus.
- Is the venue DDA compliant? Do you have any delegates with accessibility requirements or who need any special facilities or features?
- Are you having any VIPs attending the event and do you need any special arrangements for them?
- Is there likely to be media interest? If so, should you have a press room or communications centre?
- Do you need to access support services such as photocopying and printing?
POINTS TO CONSIDER WHEN PLANNING YOUR EVENT TIMETABLE:
- Create a balanced timetable so that delegates are not sitting for a long time.
- A variety of presentation styles and tools will keep your audience interested. Consider using smart phone apps, social media or other technology aids.
- Using syndicate rooms for smaller groups will add variety, as well as encouraging people to take part in discussions.
- Have you thought about ‘walk and talk’ meetings or syndicate sessions. Getting your delegates moving really stimulates the brain, is a great social leveler and provides some welcome exercise. We are happy to provide information on a variety of walking routes in our grounds.
- Are you having a closing session or plenary to summarise the outcomes?
- Don’t want your delegates to dash of early? Sometimes it’s a good idea to keep your key speaker to last to ensure they are engaged to the end.
- Choose a menu that is suitable for you. A heavy three course meal could tire out your delegates before the afternoon session, so a lighter buffet may be more appropriate.
- Make sure your venue can support food intolerances, allergies and specialist diets. And remember, a significant proportion of your delegates are likely to be vegetarian.
OTHER IDEAS YOU MAY WISH TO CONSIDER:
- Have you considered creating an App for your event and having your delegates use smartphones or tablets to interact with the programme.
- Have you thought of live webcasting or video conferencing?
- Have you thought of having an offsite visit to show relevant best practice, take part in a fun activity, or particularly if you have overseas delegates, show a local landmark or tourist attraction.
- You may wish to create a social programme for delegates' partners or 'leisure' options for delegates to extend their stay.
- Does your venue have suitable grounds for delegates to take a post lunch walk or an outdoor teambuilding event?
- If you are having a residential event you may wish to consider providing evening entertainment. We can give you a number of ideas and can usually arrange this for you too.
Once you have decided on the format of your event, you should always:
- Go on a detailed site visit to ensure that your venue meets all your requirements.
- Get to know the events team and your event planner so you are confident that they are looking after your individual event requirements and that customer care is a priority.
- Ensure that the events team at the venue fully understand your objectives and priorities so that they can help you achieve a successful event within your budget.
- Discuss your technology requirements to ensure that they can support your aspirations and provide bespoke wifi accessibility if needed.
- You must be totally confident that the venue is experienced at successfully delivering events.
INFORMING YOUR DELEGATES
Every event organiser will attract and register delegates in different ways but delegates will all require the same information prior to the event, such as:
- What time does the event start and finish?
- Tell them about any food and refreshments that you will provide so they can pre plan. So if you are providing a fork supper after an evening lecture or a breakfast buffet prior to commencing let them know so they come ready to enjoy the food and avoid wastage.
- Details of how to get to the venue and/or details of transport and departing options.
- Options for delegates with disabilities or dietary requirements.
- An event programme with timings.
- If you need them to participate with smartphones or tablets it is useful to send them the app prior to the event.
- If you wish to encourage social media, circulate the event hashtag in advance ie #goldenconference
- A list of who is attending. Delegates like to see this so they can plan networking opportunities.
- A floorplan showing exhibition stands.
- The wifi password of the venue.
ON THE DAY:
- What handouts do you require and what can be prepared in advance? Will you need to photocopy last minute information?
- Are your presenters using PowerPoint and do you need to create a template for the event so that all the slides are consistent.
- Are your presenters sending their presentation in advance or bringing it on a memory stick? It is always advisable to get presentations a few days in advance.
- How will you badge your delegates and what type of registration desk do you require?
- What sort of signage do you need for your event and what can your venue provide?
- How am I going to evaluate my event? Do I need to issue evaluation forms to delegates? If so, how will I collect and analyse the completed forms?
- What support can your venue provide on the day to ensure your event runs smoothly?
Conference Planning Checklist – Further Support
Even if you use our conference planning checklist, planning your event can seem like a huge challenge. Why not consult the Golden Jubilee Conference Hotel’s events team? Our events team are happy to help plan any events taking place here and work with you to ensure your event is a complete success. Call them now on 0141 951 6006.