10 Tips on how to make your conference memorable
At Birchwood, we offer a vast variety of conference venues for your meeting, event, seminar or training – all of which will impress your guests and delegates. Our venues provide great lighting – both natural and electric, and available are full audio-visual capabilities including data projectors, PA systems, microphones, video conferencing and translation booths. While we offer a complete package, there are many tips, secrets and tools that you can implement to ensure a memorable, unique and special conference or event is held.
Here are some of our tips and secrets to plan a memorable conference or event:
Make a list of required items and tasks
Tip 1: Plot the road ahead
‘Failing to plan is planning to fail’ – Benjamin Franklin.
Your first task in planning a conference or event should be that of streamlining your tasks. You need to start with knowing the direction that you are going in, and where you want to be, before trying to get there. Picture the end-result – what does success look like for you? Make a list of all the tasks and requirements that are needed from A-Z – pre-event to post-event. Then, ‘eat that frog’ – meaning start with the tough tasks and work your way through to the easiest. Getting the difficult stuff out the way will ease your mind, and lighten the load on the path to a successful conference or event. Also, don’t leave any task off of the list – make sure you include everything, from finding the right and best guest speakers, developing and creating dynamic and powerful presentations that integrate and promote your company brand and vision as it should. You need to leave your audience with a powerful message, impressive content and stunning visuals. Make certain that your presentation colour scheme is aesthetically pleasing, but provides clear communication of your information and desired result
Tip 2: Target the right audience
Putting on a presentation is only as good as the audience you have viewing it. Your next task is to get the right people to the event. Begin by strategically deciding on who the most appropriate audience should be. Who would benefit from your presentation as well who would further promote your brand after the event, what media spaces are they in, and how can you maximise on their reach?
Timing is also a key part of this process as failing to give your desired delegates sufficient time to plan and then further book accordingly, will result in likely poor attendance. Source locations, physical, print and online, where the desired audience would spend their time and begin by advertising and promoting the event there – and once you’ve started this, generate buzz by creating new content consistently. Also, it is beneficial to no reveal every detail just yet – make it a process so that the users will keep referring back to your website or social media feed to see if there has been an update. This also encourages the users to get in touch with you to find out more hence creating leads to later follow-up on, should that person still be required to book.
Tip 3: Choose the right venue
The reason this is important is two-fold. Firstly location, in that where your conference is held will either encourage or deter users from booking. Are you hoping for many international delegates or others from specific provinces? Then you will want to be as close as possible to the airport. This then links to transport, does the venue offer a free shuttle service from the airport to the hotel.
Other items to consider, are things like connectivity. Is WiFI available throughout the property, and is it reliable and further free? You need to ensure that your delegates can connect as they wish to, and also, that the internet connection can accommodate and effectively maintain your content should you wish to stream, video-call or use any form of online presentation tools. Next is furniture – can the venue comfortably fit the required number without it feeling crowded. Delegates who don’t feel comfortable, will not pay attention to the content that they should be looking at.
Tip 4: Spacing
Linking to the above point, spacing and size are imperative. This is a double-edged sword as you certainly don’t want your delegates to be in a venue that is clearly too small for the number in it, or further, that the delegates feel lost, drowning in a venue that is obviously too big. A larger, slightly emptier room also gives one the impression that you clearly did not get your desired audience number to attend. We want to assist you in tailor-making a solution for you, ensuring that you are comfortably accommodated in your conference venue and feel that the spacing is ideal, not too big or too small. Over 60 venues on our property allow us to select the best possible venue for you.
Tip 5: The Facilities
We now look at what is outside the conference or event room. These details are critical to the comfort level of your delegates. Ensure that you check that the venue has sufficient bathrooms and that they are not far from the room that you will be in. Maya Angelou said it best when she said that ‘….people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel’. It is obviously imperative that your delegates don’t remember feeling anxious about the distance to the bathrooms or refreshment area. At Birchwood, all our of conference centre buildings on the property have their own bathrooms and refreshment stations. They are also all completely universally accessible meaning that any delegate, regardless of ailment or disability has ample access to these facilities too without delay or hindrance.
Tip 6: Adaptability
Life happens which means that even your planned and booked number of delegates may change on the day. Perhaps a booking didn’t go through correctly or a payment has yet to reflect. Can the venue be versatile enough to adapt to last-minute situations that may arise? You may need additional chairs, tables or increase bandwidth on your WiFi. The venue may be required to increase the refreshments, coffee, snacks and staff on the day. Our award-winning hospitality understands this concept very well and knows that every client and conference is different – all requiring a unique set of skills to ensure the best possible result. We pride ourselves on being able to adapt and accommodate last-minute requests due to our 20-years experience.
Tip 7: Back Up Plan
Plan B should always be in your pocket just in case that once again, life happens. Speakers may cancel on you, you may have strict dietary requirements that were not informed of, larger power supplies, availability of backup generators, or even weather may affect the success of your conference. Always be certain that no matter the circumstance, that you have a plan of what you would do in that situation. This would be on your list from point 1. Lee Child said it best, ‘Hope for the best, plan for the worst’.
Tip 8: Greater On-Site Engagement
You’ve managed to get your audience to your event, and you’ve got their attention by creating incredible presentations and providing outstanding speakers and guests to see. Now, what else can you do to take advantage of this captive audience?
The answer lies in engagement and activities that encourage interaction with your brand with innovative and creative methods. Social media is a great tool to start this. Registering a hashtag, and using QR codes for ease-of-access to your social media pages gets your guest interacting with the brand immediately. Ensure that any selfie, group photo or shot of the venue carries your hashtag and tags your brand page. Start a campaign or competition promoting users taking photos or completing a challenge in finding something, and then posting it online using the above. Almost every smart device has GPS location capabilities, and getting your users engaging with this will be to your benefit. It’s a fun and unique way for your guests to gain product knowledge and engage with your brand.
Should the digital approach not appeal to you, encourage a physical activity or team-building exercise that has some form of incentive. If all your delegates are from the same company, this is a great way to get individuals who perhaps don’t necessarily work together to get to know each other better.
Tip 9: Reputation
The venue you select will most definitely have hosted previous events and delegates and understanding what others have said about is an important factor. Sites such as Google Business, TripAdvisor and Facebook allow users to rate and review brands. These reviews are honest and candid – without marketing jargon and professional photos. Find out if the property has won any awards, and if these awards link to your desired event with them. What are they good at and what are they not skilled in?
Tip 10: Value
If your goal is to make a profit from your event, or if your CEO is watching that budget closely, examine closely what you get for your money. Is it ‘bang for your buck’? Our conference packages are clearly defined and we don’t withhold any information on what is or isn’t included. All inclusive package deals usually include so much more for your money, rather than individually selecting items and pay separately.
We hope that these 10 tips helped you, but naturally, our on-site experts in event and conference organisation and coordination are ready and waiting to be with you every step of the way – from quotation to post-event feedback.
Contact us today if you are looking for a conference venue for your event.