Conference Planning Checklist for First Time Planners

June, 2 2021

Subscribe and stay up to date

No spam, we promise! You will only 
receive essential emails.
Conference planning checklist header

So you’ve become an accidental event planner? That’s how some of the best event planners got their start!

 

But we understand it can intimidating to just jump right in.

 

Here’s the Ultimate Conference Planning Checklist for all you event planner newbies wondering where in the heck to get started.

 


6-8 MONTHS PRIOR TO EVENT

Start Planning, Set Goals, Select Date + Location


  • Establish your event objectives & goals

  • Select dates and choose one that doesn’t interfere with other events or public holidays

  • Identify a venue and negotiate rates

  • Start your event master plan

  • Select potential event technology partners

  • Identify potential partners, speakers, or sponsors

  • Decide if you want to charge and what conference tickets will cost?

  • How many people do you want to attend in person?

  • Will you provide live stream to remote attendees

* start conference planning as early as possible. For a user conference, for example, 8-6 months is the absolute minimum. 12+ months will cause less stress and allow for better planning.

 

 

4-6 MONTHS PRIOR TO EVENT

Confirm Details, Get Your Event Website Ready

 

  • Confirm speakers. Have contracts signed (if necessary)

  • Decide upon event swag

  • Get speaker biography, photo, sessions etc.

  • Finalize presentation / speech topics

  • Arrange travel & accommodation

  • Set up your event landing page

  • Make sure you can easily build an event website in the look & feel you desire

  • Make sure the event website can handle increased traffic

  • Make sure the event website is mobile optimized and offers event marketing features

  • Plan your on-site registration or on-demand badging needs

 

 

2-4 MONTHS PRIOR TO EVENT

Event Marketing + Promotion

 

  • Get sign off on look & feel of event website

  • Go live with your online registration

  • Develop marketing content, e.g. blog posts, newsletter articles, Facebook Ads

  • Request logos from corporate sponsors & partners

  • Create your Facebook event page

  • Use LinkedIn to market your event

  • Set up your event influencer marketing campaign

 

 

8 WEEKS PRIOR TO EVENT

Remind Registrants + Check In with Speakers

 

  • Get sign off on look & feel of event website

  • Go live with your online registration

  • Develop marketing content, e.g. blog posts, newsletter articles, Facebook Ads

  • Request logos from corporate sponsors & partners

  • Create your Facebook event page

  • Use LinkedIn to market your event

  • Set up your event influencer marketing campaign

 

 

1 WEEK PRIOR TO EVENT

Final Review of Details

 

  • Review your master plan to make sure nothing falls through the cracks

  • Produce seating cards, name cards

  • Close registration and provide final number to venue & caterer

  • Collect all presentations on USB sticks

 

 

1 DAY PRIOR TO EVENT

On-Site Check, Final Venue Walkthrough

 

  • Take delegate packs to the reception area

  • Put up signage to guide attendees to conference room from the hotel/venue reception area or main entrance

  • Place “Keep these seats free’ cards on two or three seats near the entrance of the conference room, so that latecomers can slip in easy

  • Check the room layout and make sure it’s appropriately set-up

  • Check the heating/cooling of the room

  • Check the technical equipment including screen, projector, AV

  • Delegate tables: Check that the water, drinking glasses, pads and pens or pencils, and name cards are in place

  • Find out the location of toilet facilities, including access for people with disabilities

  • Check that no fire drills are planned for the day

  • Check fire drill procedures and find out about emergency routes out of the conference room

  • Find out exactly what the lunch options will be and what the seating arrangements will be

  • Set up registration desk with delegate badges lined up alphabetically or on-demand badging facilities set up

  • Direct delegates so they know where to find the toilets

  • Ensure that tea/coffee facilities never run out

  • Ensure you have copies of phone numbers, directions, instructions, parking permits, seating charts & guest lists

 

 

THROUGHOUT DAY OF EVENT

Check-in Throughout the Day

 

  • Tidy the reception area

  • Meet any further speakers arriving for the event

  • Give the pre-lunch presenter the 5-minute signal before lunch is due

 

 

AT THE END OF THE EVENT

Gather Attendee Feedback

 

  • Collect any badges offered to you

  • Send post-event survey through your mobile app or via email

 

 

FIRST WEEK AFTER THE EVENT

Thank You’s + Follow Up

 

  • Wrap up financials: gather all receipts and final registration data to update the budget

  • Write thank you notes to partners, sponsors, staff, media, volunteers etc.

  • Give attendees access to your community

  • Conduct a thorough evaluation

 

Looking to one-up your own events? Swoogo’s event management software is completely customizable with an open API, 30+ free integrations, unlimited conditional logic, and BYOC (bring your own code). You can literally customize it to your exact needs. Get your free demo!

 

Subscribe_Footer

View all posts

Subscribe and stay up to date

No spam, we promise! You will only 
receive essential emails.