Planning a conference is a major undertaking. There is so much more to do than meets the eye – from hunting for the perfect venue, booking the right speakers, marketing the event and getting the right technology setup, an event professional’s work can feel like it’s never done.
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or planning your very first conference, we’ve put together a list of our favorite resources to take some of the stress out of the event planning process.
1. Selecting Your Venue
Selecting the right location for your conference is critical. Here are some tools to help you pick the venue that best fits your conference’s needs.
- Cvent’s Top 100 US. Meeting Hotels List
We love Cvent because they make it easy to search for meeting venues that match your conference specs. Simply share your event location, dates, and size, and Cvent will share available venues that will fit the bill. Want to jump to the best-of-the-best meeting hotels? Just click the link above.
- 6 Things to Consider When Hosting Events in Non-Traditional Venues
Hotels and convention centers not your thing? Non-traditional venues make for a unique conference setting, but offer a few challenges that traditional venues don’t. Before committing to a non-traditional venue, make sure you think about these often-forgotten details of unconventional conference spaces.
2. Booking Conference Speakers
Having relevant, interesting speakers at your event is critical for drawing in a large, enthusiastic audience. Having a great speaker on your schedule can be the tipping point for someone on the fence about attending. If your event is known for having engaging speakers, you’ll build up a positive reputation that will help make it easier to attract attendees year after year.
- Eventbrite’s Guide to Sourcing Speakers for Your Next Conference
If you’ve never booked speakers before or have struggled to land your dream speaker, Eventbrite’s guide is a great starting point. They break down the step-by-step guide to determining who you want to come to your event and how to convince them that presenting your conference will be worth their while.
3. Nailing Marketing & Promotion
All of your other event planning is for nothing if you don’t fill the seats in the venue. Here’s how to make the most of your event marketing efforts.
- Brandwatch’s Event Marketing: How to Successfully Promote an Event
Conference marketing is an ongoing task, requiring a lot of work and collaboration across many teams. Brandwatch shares their top event marketing strategies and tools for generating interest in your conference.
- Sli.do’s Top 10 Ways to Integrate Social Media into Your Events
You know social media is important, but are you doing your best to maintain your presence during your event? Sli.do shares great ways to incorporate your social media into your event so that you can keep up the momentum you built during the weeks leading up to your conference. (If you’re interested in using a social media wall during your event, check out our advice here.)
4. Choosing the Right AV & Technology
Every event needs technology; for some, all that’s needed is a simple microphone and speaker set-up, while others will require a high-tech event production with video walls, touch screen kiosks, stage lighting, and more. No matter where your conference falls within that spectrum, it’s important that you have all of the equipment you need to make the messages you share you at your conference heard loud and clear.
- Hotel Audio Visual: You Don’t Have to Use the Hotel AV Company
Most hotels offer in-house AV services. What many people don’t know is that these services often come with inflated prices and lack of up-to-date technology. Learn why "bringing your own" AV (with the help of an outside AV vendor) is a more cost-effective conference AV strategy.
- How to Use Event Technology to Improve Attendee Experience
Curious about how you can engage and excite conference attendees? Learn why you should go above-and-beyond the standard event technology setup.
5. Improving Attendee Experience
It ??s the first day of your event, and you have a packed house! Now, it ??s time to make sure your attendees have a great experience.
- Event App Bible A good event app offers attendees a seamless, simple and enjoyable conference experience. However, finding and implementing the mobile app that works best is easier said than done. We love the Event App Bible for offering insight into different app options, project management tools, and trend information.
- Eventinterface’s Conference Food and Beverage Planning Tips
Figuring out how much food and drink to order for your event can be tricky – overestimate and spend more money than you need; underestimate and face a group of hungry, cranky attendees. Eventinterface’s guide shares practical insight to help you determine the quantities to order.
- Collective Next’s 5 Tips for Facilitating a Breakout Session
Breakout sessions allow attendees to get creative and engage in insightful discourse. However, they aren’t always easy to successfully facilitate. Collective Next’s tips are based on their own experience running break out sessions that are actually productive.
6. Securing Conference Sponsors
There’s no beating around the bush here: conferences are expensive to run. Thankfully, sponsorships can make running a captivating event financially feasible.
- Bizzabo’s "Catching The Big Fish: The Event Sponsorship Guide"
We love Bizzabo’s ebook, which guides readers through every aspect of conference sponsorships: from finding good fit sponsors and pitching your opportunity to them, to promoting your sponsors without overwhelming your attendees, this book answers many of the common questions that event professionals have during the sponsor search.
- 7 Great Event Technology Sponsorship Ideas
Looking for fresh sponsorship opportunities to present to potential sponsors? These seven ideas seamlessly blend engaging technology with high-value promotional opportunities for your backers.
We want to know: did we miss your favorite event planning resource? Let us know on Twitter!
*This post was last updated on 10/09/2017.