The Ultimate Conference Planning Checklist


Conference planning is a skills and conference planners are masters at juggling many details at a time.  There are many tasks that need to be done so you’ll definitely want an experienced conference planner on your team. To give you an idea of the type of preparation that goes into conference planning, I’ve listed The Ultimate Conference Planning Checklist. Give us a call and we’ll handle all of the details.

18 months before the event

  • Set goals and objectives.
  • Consider date possibilities.
  • Prepare guest list.
  • Work out “promotional action plans”.
  • Set protocol for communication with all involved in the event, from staff, sponsors, exhibitors, speakers to registrants and press.
  • Set or confirm the budget, as well as “financial reporting procedures”.
  • Decide on a calendar of staff meetings.
  • Consider drawing up a master schedule of printing requirements.
  • NB!: “Send meeting requirements to selected sites with requests for written proposals”. Bearing in mind that some of the best venues get booked well in advance.
  • Review site proposals, organize site visits, select the right sites – based on the event needs and budget.
  • Get insurance cover.

15 months before the event

  • Arrange promotional strategy.
  • Get going on event PR and work on press release.
  • Continually monitor budget.
  • Decide on theme and graphics. Post on website where necessary.
  • Source outside suppliers
  • Outline requirements for: advertising, air travel, AV, decor, destination management, transport, catering, entertainment, freight handlers, furniture, media and PR, photography, modeling agencies, printing, props, registration services, security, speakers, temporary personnel, translation equipment.
  • Invite and confirm keynote speakers.
  • Decide on catering, work on menus and negotiate prices.
  • Work on floor plan.
  • Send promo materials to prospective delegates.
  • Confirm AV equipment order.
  • Organize VIP travel and accommodation.

12 months before the event

  • Review contracts with venue, budget and accounting procedures.
  • Prepare brochure.
  • Establish awards and selection of criteria where necessary.
  • Figure out 12-month media schedule.

10 months before the event

  • Outline event specifications based on available hotel function areas.
  • Compile program including topics, speakers, meal times, special events or activities.
  • Get biographies, headshots and introductions from speakers.
  • Promote meeting.
  • Confirm any remaining suppliers.

Eight months before the event

  • Mail meeting brochure.
  • Arrange award nominee lists.
  • Update function space requirements and communicate these with respective facilities.
  • Implement a reliable registration reporting system.
  • Confirm final program and schedule of events.
  • Gather all relevant info into a manual for on-site use.

Four months before the event

  • Select final award recipients.
  • Decide on materials for registration packs. Order appropriate packs.
  • Confirm food and beverage menus, conduct tastings if necessary.
  • Order any necessary furniture, equipment and awards.
  • Review registration returns and then send targeted registration invitation letters.
  • Assign on-site staff responsibilities.
  • Order event flowers.
  • Make sure the signage will be ready for the event.

Two to four months before the event

  • Open bank account in host city if necessary.
  • Make final food and beverage schedule.
  • Arrange any necessary translation.
  • Identify security needs and risk management protocol.
  • Implement weekly registration reporting system.

The day of the event

  • Receive all shipments, equipment and suppliers.
  • Get on top of VIP arrangements.
  • Brief staff.
  • Arrange daily invoice review.
  • Find out about issuing gratuities.
  • Confirm pickup of all rental and supplies.
  • Conduct post-conference debrief.

As you draw closer and closer to the event your corporate event planning checklist continues to keep you on track. If you’re in need of a little extra help in marveling guests with slick organization and out-of-this-world venues, consider calling Aurice Guyton Events for your conference planning needs.

This article was first published on Charmed Adventure.