Sunday, August 9, 2015

7 Simple Steps to Planning a Successful Convention

Whether you are planning your first convention or your 15th, there are sequential steps that must be taken in order to be successful. The most important thing is to give yourself enough time to complete the tasks at hand. 1-2 years of planning is pretty standard fare for event planners because sponsors, exhibitors and even attendees are taking more time to commit to your event. 
Below are seven steps to make your convention planning journey less stressful.

7 Steps to Success

1.       Focus first on the why and the what.

Most planners spend their energy initially on securing sponsorships and getting attendees to register. Move these actions to the back burner and spend time developing why this conference is important to your attendees and what content you are going to deliver to them.

If you are unsure, ask attendees to help you out. Past convention goers will tell you what you need to know. There are many online crowdsourcing apps, but a simple online survey can also do the trick.

2.       Once you have step 1 formulated, answer the following questions:

Who should you invite?
When should the convention be held?
Where should it be?
How many days will the convention be?

Take time to noodle your responses and hopefully you have a committee to help you with this part. Come up with several options for when and where. This will help you narrow down where to send your RFP.

3.       Establish a general budget.

It doesn’t have to be perfect, but have buckets of money set aside for the following categories:

Meeting Rooms
Audio Visual
Food & Beverage
Marketing and PR
Accommodations and
Marketing Materials

4.       Recruit your speakers.

Now that you have your content identified, find the right speakers to fit the bill. You can ask for submissions on your website, social channels and email blasts but make certain these presenters can meet your content guidelines.

5.       Send out the RFPs.

Let me caution you on this one; sending out eRFPs is easy, however the time to evaluate 50 responses is time-consuming. In addition, there are ethical considerations when sending out RFPs to destinations you do not plan to consider. Send out at least three, but make certain these suppliers can fit the bill for your convention.

6.       Invite Attendees.

Now that you have the content, speakers, venue and date in place, this is the perfect time to start inviting your attendees to come to your convention and build up excitement about the event.

Consider running presentation videos on your social channels, ask your speakers to guest blog for you and share your social postings with their network. Do the same with the venue and CVB. The more virality you have with a post, the higher your social signal appears and the potential to garner new attendees.

7.       Work on Sponsors and Exhibitors.

These segments want to see who is coming to your conference both in terms of quality and quantity. They want to know that the attendee is within their “sweet spot” target. Conversely, don’t recruit sponsors and exhibitors who don’t fit your event demographics.

Now that these steps are completed, sit back and watch your convention run smoothly. You have the right people at the right place at the right time. Proper planning has allowed you to reap the rewards of less stress when your big event comes!

Why Kalahari is perfect for Your Next Convention

Kalahari Resorts and Conventions allow you to go beyond your typical convention to an unconventional experience that's beyond belief. 
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