The Event Planner’s Quick Guide for Conferences (200 – 500 Attendees)

Unless you are an experienced event organizer, you may or may not be faced with putting on a conference and not know where to start.

This timeline is a basic outline of planning a 500 pax conference over a period of five months. While no two events are the same, as is every lead time, budget and target market, there are several steps you can take as an organization that will allow you to plot out and maximize your event’s success.

150 days before conference

Set up a conference website

One of your first tasks is to create a conference page and make it ‘live’ at the earliest time possible. This helps to capture early interest and possible leads, even if all of the event details have not yet been confirmed.

Set up a mailing list and a registration platform

With GEVME, you can learn how to customize your own mailing list and registration platform according to your conference needs and requirements. Target segments effectively with the right message to the right people.

Send out 1st EDM blast

Email is still considered an effective approach by event organizers to create event awareness and drive ticket sales. With your conference site and registration page now ready, you should get your first major email blast out to your invitees, including those who pre-registered (this could be from previous events or other registration channels before.) Use the GEVME Email Marketing App to create smart emails that reach out to your target audience. Open the registration portal to the first wave of registrants.

120 days before conference

Offer early bird pricing or discounts

Utilize the ‘early bird discount’ to encourage people to buy before ticket prices increase. Send an email to notify invitees of this promotion. Feel free to have more than one type of early bird discount at various stages during the pre-event.

Track your email campaign results

You should begin receiving registrations 2 – 5 weeks after your first EDM blast. By using GEVME as your preferred event management system, you will be provided with all the statistics you want in real-time to track and evaluate your campaign performance.

90 days before conference

Send out 2nd EDM blast

We have already shared how effective emails can be as a support tool, helping you get your content directly in front of your audience, and offering them something of value beyond asking them to register for your conference. With the 2nd EDM blast, present new and refreshing content about your conference to get your attendees’ attention.

Need some help with email marketing? Read more about the Dos & Don’ts of Email Marketing to get you on the right track.

Close early bird pricing and discounts

As mentioned earlier, having an expiry to early bird discounts and special pricing helps generate a sense of urgency. A good idea is to send out a notice to undecided invitees as the early bird deadline approaches, and you should see a wave of RSVPs from people wanting to catch the savings while they still can. Drive that attendance rate up!

60 days before conference

Determine your on-site registration procedure

Get in touch with our friendly Account Managers from GEVME and determine ahead of time what portable equipment you have available, and whether you have to rent equipment for on-site registration such as tablets, laptops and name badge printers. The GEVME Onsite App supports the entire event onsite experience by providing the necessary software features and event technology to provide a seamless experience for attendees.

30 days before conference

Final EDM blast

Whether you’ve been marketing for a matter of months or weeks, your event will eventually seem that much closer to you when you least expect it. With just a couple of weeks to go, it is time for your last-push marketing.

Create the final EDM that consists of:

  • event details
  • event highlights
  • updates on featured speakers
  • list of topics
  • and more…

7 days before conference

Close your registration site

Some event organizers like to keep online registration open throughout the event and incorporate any additional on-site registrations or changes directly in their registration system. However, to provide enough time for your organization to prepare for an expected number of attendees, we recommend doing so 1 week prior to your event’s opening date. This maximizes pre-registration opportunities, and also provides you with enough time to calculate numbers for session sizes, total payment received meals and more.

Compile final list of registered participants

Various reports from attendees’ listings to list of payments collected can easily be generated through GEVME and exported to Excel spreadsheets. Stay up-to-date with your attendee data.

Pre-print name badge designs

With the final list of registered attendees downloaded from GEVME’s conference database system, you should be able to generate name tag designs to be printed prior to the day of the conference. With the GEVME Onsite App, create name tag designs with your favored graphic design software and bring that design into our print template. Our GEVME staff will assist you with realizing your design vision.

Keep the name tag layout simple:

  • a small conference logo or title
  • the person’s full name in large, readable letters
  • the person’s institution

Don’t make people squint just to read names on name tags. This is a real event experience killer.

1 day before conference

Set up digital kiosks with GEVME Access

Using the GEVME Onsite feature, you will be able to check your attendees in at your conference for a smooth and hassle-free on-site experience.

Be sure to bring original invoices and any necessary paper forms with you to the conference, even if you are using a computerized system. These forms are a backup when questions or technical difficulties arise. Remember Murphy’s Law – anything that can go wrong will go wrong.

Ensure all on-site digital kiosks and printers are in working order

The best way to coordinate all the details is to walk through the registration process as your delegates would. Picture how they will think and act at each point in the day to solve problems before they arise. Go through the registration process regularly with each of your staff. This also helps to avoid running into unforeseen technical errors.

Conference day

Finally, D-day has arrived. As your delegates check in smoothly and name badges have been distributed without any difficulty or delay using GEVME’s onsite digital kiosks, the next thing to do is to simply enjoy the rest of the conference and know that your efforts put in the past five months have been well deserved.

7 days AFTER conference

Send thank-you’s and acknowledgment letters

In your thank-you notes, be sure to remind your various attendees (speakers, delegates, sponsors, etc) of the event’s success and how they contributed to the event just by being there.

Conduct a post-conference survey

You could send out a questionnaire, email or survey through GEVME. As you thank guests for coming, invite them to share what they liked and disliked about the event. Their feeding will help you greatly in measuring the success of your efforts, and help you improve your future events.

Ensure you have done everything post-conference using a checklist to stay on track.

With the time it takes to plan and organize an event, it can be easy to forget certain important elements that make a conference successful. With GEVME as your event management software, you will be able to seamlessly achieve your vision and make your event an unforgettable experience.

Whether you are looking for something as simple as a single event landing page for registration, event marketing tool, or a one-stop solution, you will be well on your way to getting your conference on the road by choosing GEVME for your event management needs.

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