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
  • 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
  • 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.