Top tips for planning an overseas conference

A
successful conference requires planning for every eventuality and
ensuring delegates have every opportunity to participate, learn and
network. If however you want an event that isn’t just successful but
stands out from the rest, you need to give consideration to the unique
touches. There is lot to take into account when planning a conference,
particularly abroad; here’s how to make it a success:

1. Everyone loves a check list

An
event abroad requires a clearly defined event scope, extra planning and
a longer lead time. Make sure you’re able to plan your requirements
well in advance so you have time to research, source and organise
everything. Ideally give yourself 18 months before the event.   

Once
overseas, you can’t always hire something in at the last minute so you
need to ensure you’ve got everything packed. Make sure your check list
includes not just the obvious such as the lighting, styling and set but
also things that you might need for last minute changes such as a
printer. The simple things like pens and paperclips always come in
useful.

2. See it for yourself

When sourcing a
venue overseas, think about your own experience in the UK and search for
similar venues. Hotel chains will often have international standards in
place. Conduct a FAM trip beforehand to visit the venue. Nothing beats
visiting the facilities and seeing the opportunities and potential
pitfalls with your own eyes.

3. Taste it for yourself

Whilst
at the venue, make sure you arrange for a food tasting to ensure the
quality of the food matches the profile of the guests. See if the venue
can set up a hospitality room for the event – a place where delegates
can mingle in to the night.

4. Plan ahead

Book
hotels and flights well in advance of the event – you don’t want to be
frantically dashing around at the last minute, paying over the odds. And
make sure your team arrives early enough to recover from the flight and
settle in. They’ll need to be fresh to oversee everything.

5. Sweating the small stuff

If
the event requires a bespoke set to be planned and designed to fit a
theme, then make sure it suits the venue in terms of design but also
practical details too. Ask for detailed plans including floor, rigging
and power information, and make sure you check these during your FAM
trip.

6. Can you do it locally?

Check out the local
suppliers such as entertainment, crew and AV. A local team can be
on-site and provide the security of knowing the venue, location and, if
required, the language too, but don’t rely on your team’s linguistic
skills; the hire of a translator to have on hand at all times is
invaluable.

7. How do you get it there?

Airlines
often offer deals for groups and are worth contacting before booking. In
terms of getting everything required for the conference to the event;
if it’s reasonably local, such as in Europe, then shipping via haulage
and trucks is the most cost-effective solution.

8. Powering the event

Most
conference venues will provide audio and visual equipment, lighting,
computer stations, television screens, and many other types of
electronics, but make sure you check the power outlets. Are you able to
configure all the presentations, and are the power levels the same?

9. Where is the team?

If
you’re travelling with a large team, staying at the venue may not be a
financial option for everyone, especially if you’re hiring a glamorous
5-star location. Make sure that you can place them all nearby to avoid
delays, and always keep a contact sheet with everyone’s details with
you.

10. Entertaining the delegates

Catering which
gives a nod to local cuisine is welcome but don’t go overboard. After a
long day, delegates will appreciate comfort food that will sustain them.
Delegates often feel disappointed that there isn’t time to visit the
city that the conference is held in, so see if you can arrange a simple
tour.

Any comments? Email zvernor@mashmedia.net

ConferenceNews Guest Author

Conference News hosts great guests on its pages. Our Blog section is the collection of the best opinions in the UK and international events industry.

ConferenceNews Guest Author

Author

ConferenceNews Guest Author

Conference News hosts great guests on its pages. Our Blog section is the collection of the best opinions in the UK and international events industry.

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