Organising a conference can be an enjoyable experience, but it can also be a very time-consuming project, especially if you are not an experienced or full-time event organizer or you’re being expected to do it on top of the day job. If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to organising your conference, it’s worth thinking about a conference management service (CMS). Most organisations will be flexible enough to be as involved in or as hands off as you need, so whether you’re just after a little bit of administrative support, or require a more comprehensive service, here are some of the services you can expect to receive from experienced and dedicated event specialists:
1. Online delegate registration, accommodation and administration
Let’s face it most of us are put off by the thought of administration. A CMS will collate your delegates’ information, create a list of attendees, process and co-ordinate accommodation requirements and distribute joining instructions using specialist event planning software.
2. Production of conference materials
If you don’t want to be involved with large volumes of printing, you can expect to have all of this managed for you. Typically this would include all printing, folder and booklet assembly, the production of any sponsors’ material, name badges, certificates of attendance to your delegates and feedback forms.
3. Events and social programmes
Residential conferences will often involve some sort of evening social event or activity, or partner programme, so it’s worth having all of the research into local attractions and activities done for you, particularly if you are not local or familiar with the area.
If you’ve never organized an exhibition before, let the experts do it for you. They’ll deal with everything from coordinating sponsors, arranging stands and providing structural support.
5. Catering and menus
Whether you need teas and coffees or a full banqueting experience, let the experts take the stress out of choosing your menu and provide you with a range of delicious and budget-appropriate food and refreshments for your occasion.
6. Budget preparation
If you don’t have a head for figures, why not enlist help in organising your budget? This can range from helping you to decide on your delegate fees, to collating and updating information on income received and providing a full post-conference auditing service.
7. Audio Visual provision and support
Most venues are able to provide audio visual (AV) equipment offering data projectors, TV screens, a range of microphones, flip charts, recording and streaming equipment, PA systems and maintenance. Additionally, the support of a trained technician to help with your chosen AV services is well worth having.
8. Help desks
A help desk manned by staff who are familiar with the venue and local area can never been underestimated. They can deal with everything from directing your delegates, to photocopying, making local travel arrangements, being a point of contact and answering questions on just about anything.