Planning a conference is one of the most rewarding things you can do. The sense of satisfaction that comes with watching throngs of attendees interact with what you worked so hard and long to create keeps us coming back for more, despite the sometimes-crazy hours, stress and hard work. But, as we all know, planning a conference is also a huge project not to be taken lightly. To help you in your journey, we’ve created a quick and dirty high-level guide on how to plan a successful conference. This guide provides a solid foundation for those who are new to conference planning, and veteran planners should find a few new tips and ideas, too.
Your conference budget is one of the most important tools of any conference planner, as it provides an overview of revenue and expenditures. Your budget is not only a guide, but also an important reporting tool.
Each event has fixed costs, like AV and your venue, and variable costs, like catering. If you’re just starting out, start with a budget template or the budget from your previous year’s conference.
Conferences are notorious for running over your budget. Here are 2 common problems and how to address them:
Perhaps you’ve got too many cooks in the kitchen, i.e. you’ve got multiple stakeholders telling you what to do, each with their own priorities. All of those requests add up. Counter this by revisiting the goals of your event, as a way to prioritize those requests. That means you’re going to be saying “no” to people. Be prepared for those conversations with a well-thought-out explanation of the event goals and priorities.
The cost of business varies by city, and you underestimated how much it would cost in a new location. To avoid this, be sureresearch the differences in labor, taxes, lodging, food and beverage in a new city before you start budgeting for your event.
Check out seven more reasons events go over budget, and what to do about it in our blog: 9 Reasons Why Conferences Go Over Budget (And What To Do About Them).