Ensuring Conference Success: Key Tips for Association Leaders
INTRODUCTION: As associations gear up for their conferences and events, the potential for revenue generation and member
engagement is significant. However, these opportunities can unravel without proper management. In this article, I share crucial tips that
association leaders should consider when planning their conferences.
Venue Selection and Location: One of the critical factors often overlooked is the venue selection and location. While Australia boasts numerous excellent venues, leaders must consider attendees and their travel time. For instance, if international delegates are expected, ensure there are accessible international flights to the chosen location.
Venue Layout & Operations: Choosing a venue is more than just aesthetics; it requires considering the operational aspects. Too often, inexperienced Board members make venue decisions without understanding the intricacies of conference management. Involve a conference organiser or an experienced event consultant in the decision-making process to ensure practical considerations are accounted for.
Security Precautions: Security is often treated as an afterthought, but it plays a crucial role in preventing disruptions. Instances of unauthorised individuals consuming delegates' food or causing disturbances highlight the importance of adequate security measures. Prioritise security to maintain a safe and uninterrupted event experience for all attendees.
Event Insurance: Event insurance is frequently overlooked, leaving associations vulnerable to unexpected risks. Consider the potential costs if the conference must be cancelled due to incidents like extreme weather. Clarify responsibilities for venue costs and ticket refunds to protect the association from financial setbacks in case of unforeseen circumstances.
Registration Fee Collection: When registration is open, the question of who collects the fees arises. Engaging a professional conference organiser (PCO) is a common practice, but it's essential to clarify where the registration fees go. To mitigate risks, it is advisable to direct all registration fees into the association's bank account. Instances of a conference organiser going into administration, leading to financial difficulties for the association, underscore the importance of this precaution.
CONCLUSION: By carefully considering these key tips, association leaders can enhance the planning and execution of their conferences, ensuring a successful and memorable event for all participants. Proper venue selection, operational considerations, security measures, event insurance, and clear fee collection processes contribute to a well-managed and resilient conference experience.
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