As a new year begins, so it is natural to think about how to do things better in the twelve months ahead. Whether this involves minor logistical tweaks or a full overhaul of your business operations, this is a great time to think about how to make your conference planning even better ion2018.
Here are some ideas for conference and event planning New Year’s Resolutions.
A badly-planned budget is a conference’s worst enemy. Even if you are not intending to make a profit on your event, it is important to not make a loss that would be detrimental to your organisation’s bottom line. Retain a firm grasp of the key figures – how many people will be there, what are your limits when it comes to day rates, speaker costs, catering etc. Don’t forget to factor in every cost, even the less obvious ones such as transport, insurance, printing, security...
It is easy to slip into easy habits, such as going with the same venue or caterer each time. However, as a repeat customer, you hold a fair bit of power. Make 2018 the year to try and renegotiate costs with your regular suppliers and secure more favourable rates in return for your continued loyalty. If they refuse to budge on costs, perhaps you could see if they would agree to add in any extras for nothing. Even small things like nicer biscuits or better-quality paper for the invitations can make a big difference to how your delegates enjoy the day.
WORK ON YOUR CONTACT BOOK
You can never have too many contacts. Whether you decide to attend more networking events, do some internet research or visit more trade fairs to source new suppliers, now is the perfect time to see who else is out there who could help you with your event sin 2018. Reach out to your fellow event organisers too – is there any possibility of sharing ideas and good contacts?
FACE UP TO GOING ‘FACE-TO-FACE’
Many people can find talking on the phone daunting, and would much rather send an email. While this can work well, it does lack the personal touch of actually interacting with a potential delegate, speaker or supplier in ‘real time’. An email cannot convey tone of voice, neither does it allow for a conversation to ebb and flow and move in unexpected directions. The same goes for site visits. You will gain far more out of physically looking round a potential conference venue and meeting the events team there than simply browsing the website.
SUSS OUT SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media is a crucial element of pretty much every area of business and in 2018, its dominance looks set only to rise even further. Make the most of this free, interactive means of communication to generate interest in your event in the run-up to it, and to keep the buzz going afterwards. If you think you should know more about social media than you do, make a resolution to go on a course this year.
SPOT THE TRENDS
Finally, keep your eye on how the event planning world is progressing in 2018. Look out for key trends in the education, training and conferencing sectors and see how you can make the most of them in your specific role and organisation. Are people moving more towards video conferencing, or are certain speakers in great demand? If you can keep pace with the popular ways of thinking, and even try to predict them, your events in 2018 will become known for their relevance and innovative approach as much as their content and engaging delivery.