Top 10 Tips: Hosting a conference

Suzy Pierce, conference coordinator at Aizlewood Business Centre in Sheffield, on hosting client events.

Suzy Pierce, Aizlewood Business Centre

1. Complete a booking form. This will mean you have a physical copy of your arrangement with the client.

It will be a reference for you when checking you have provided what the client has asked for and will also give you the clients contact details.

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2. Have you asked the client if they would like refreshments? If so, what refreshments? Lunch as well?

You need to know beforehand to make sure you can provide them what they are wanting. It is highly unlikely you will be able to get a buffet on the day.

3. Do you have all the equipment required?

Offering a projector, TV, flipcharts, whiteboards etc is an important extra service people often need for conferences.

4. For those conference delegates travelling by public transport, provide them with directions to and from the relevant bus and train stations, so they won’t get lost. For local events, bus and tram directions and times are appreciated.

5. If delegates are travelling by car, make sure you offer clear directions on how to get to the nearest parking facilities.

If there is no parking at the venue, make sure you signpost delegates to an alternative place to park e.g. public car parks or side roads.

6. If there are customers visiting from out of town, make sure you inform them where the nearest hotels are, so they have the option to stay if they wish. They will appreciate that you have a better knowledge of the area.

7. You must have signs for visitors directing them to the conference room and to the toilets. Many people will feel embarrassed asking, providing them with signs and directions will be appreciated.

8. If the conference is open to the public, make sure people are aware of the event.

Increase awareness by promoting on Twitter, Facebook, your website and in the media.

9. Make a back-up plan. Have alternative options for the client in case something goes wrong.

This way you will have already allowed for changes in advance, so the conference can continue to run smoothly.

10. Finally, provide a friendly service with smiles! Make sure people feel welcome and enjoy their experience.

This will build your reputation and increase the likelihood of return customers.