Ultimate Checklist for Conference Planning
Conference planning is a very complex undertaking. Depending on the conference requirements, conference planning can start as early as two years prior to the actual conference. Hence, setting and sticking deadlines is key to make sure everything and everyone is on the right track.
In pre-set timeframes, the following checklist outlines all activities conference organizers should think of, and plan ahead of their conference:
24-18 Months Prior to the Conference
- Determining the objectives (name, theme and main topics) of the conference.
- Deciding the language of the conference.
- Setting the conference date.
- Planning numbers of the required halls, sessions and exhibition space.
- Evaluating the available conference destination and venue.
- Establishing the conference budget.
- Researching and evaluating the conference committees.
- Research and collecting the target audience and creating a list of potential participants.
- Define the list of the possible speakers.
- Detect and contact with the possible partners as scientific and industrial societies.
- Establishing the list of possible sponsors (official authorities, scientific foundations, companies, etc.)
- Deciding the strategy of sponsorship and booth offers/rates.
18-12 Months Prior to the Conference
- Selecting the conference venue.
- Creating the marketing plan of the conference.
- Determining the communication channels.
- Contacting with the possible sponsors and speakers.
- Researching and deciding how to gather and manage registrations and abstracts.
- Creating the conference website and setup the online conference management system.
- Creating promotional plan. (Internet campaign, TV/Radio campaign, printed materials)
- Opening the communication channels such as email and social media accounts.
- Designing and printing the brochures, advertising materials, invitations.
- Planning and organizing the participants travel arrangements such as, hotel bookings and excursions.
- Setting up the registration fee and conditions.
- Setting abstracts collection start- end, evaluation and author payment deadlines.
- Update the content of conference website and integrate the communication channels.
- Sending the first announcement – invitation letter.
- Announcing invited speakers and their information.
- Sending "Call for Abstract" announcement including the topics and deadlines.
12-9 Months Prior to the Conference
- Updating the Invited speakers.
- Declare conference program at glance.
- Decide the social program of the conference.
- Registering the conference on a variety of online event/conference calendars.
- Starting to collect registration, abstracts, bookings, payments, etc.
- Send reminder emails such as abstract submission and early bird deadlines.
9-6 Months Prior to the Conference
- Arrange the offered services of the invited speakers such as flight tickets, accommodation, etc.
- Managing of the registrations and scientific submissions.
- Promoting and advertising the conference with selected communication channels.
- Emailing to the participants and speakers the updated information about the conference.
- Replying participants emails and requests.
- Reminding for the deadline of the early registrations.
- Update the supplier contracts within the registered participants.
6-3 Months Prior to the Conference
- Reviewing and evaluating of the abstracts by conference chair committee.
- Finalize registrations, flights, hotel bookings for organizing committee and invited speakers.
- Notify the presenter authors about the results of their evaluation results.
- Continue to replying participants emails and requests.
- Specifying content of the social program.
- Reminding the presenters of the accepted abstracts about the author payment deadline.
- Preparing detailed conference program.
- Designing the name badges.
- Designing and announce the draft of the conference program.
3-1 Months Prior to the Conference
- Following the registrations and accommodations.
- Making of the reminder for the participant payment.
- Making of the reservation with the process of approval-cancellation.
- Announcing the final conference program.
- Determining technical equipment and decor applications.
- Determining the presentation rules and notifying the presenters authors.
- Concluding the transport and logistic procedure.
- Purchasing the supplies (badge paper and holders, ribbons, attendee folders, etc.)
- Updating of the number of guaranteed participants for supplier.
- Making of the operation file and the registration list.
- Preparation of the accommodation, tour and transfer list.
- Preparing the conference mobile app and announce the download link.
1 Month Prior to the Conference
- Making of the content for the book of the conference
- Curating the participant kit.
- Sending final email promotion for conference registration including onsite procedure.
- Controlling of the preparations.
- Preparing registration packets and print badges.
1 Week Prior to the Conference
- Finalizing the conference script.
- Finalizing the registration check, name badges & registration list.
- Making print and online copies of any speeches, videos, presentations, etc.
- Shipping the materials to the venue.
- Ensuring all promotional items such as; gifts, plaques, trophies, etc. on site.
- Making the required payments to the suppliers.
During the Conference
- Assignment and rehearsal of the operation team.
- Preparing the registrant information brochures.
- Making a meeting about the center of the conference, the committee and the operation staff.
- Setting up the registration table.
- Check-in the registrants' records, distributing the name badges and guiding the speakers and the p
- Checking the room set-ups and media in each room.
- Finalizing the participants list and their bookings.
After the Conference
- Making the payments and the reconciliation.
- Reviewing the invoices and submitting the final payments. (income, expenses etc.)
- Reviewing the analytics and preparing the reports. (final registration data, documentation etc.)
- Running post-marketing activities.
- Sending emails of appreciation to the registrants, speakers and sponsors.
- Sending post-conference surveys to evaluate the conference.