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6 Sure-Fire Ways To Increase Event Registrations

July 2020

how-to-increase-event-registrations

The overall success of an event is measured by attendance, engagement and feedback, as well as more traditional metrics such as revenue. Therefore, it’s important to do everything you can to ensure your event is well attended.

In this article, we’ll look at 6 sure-fire ways you can increase event registrations. From promoting an early bird registration to collaborating with influencers in your field, there are a number of ways to increase the hype around you event and translate that into registrations. Read on to check out our top tips.

6 Ways To Increase Event Registrations

Collaborate With An Influencers To Promote Your Event

The rise in influencer marketing over the past few years has shown how effective it is to use influential figures as part of your overarching strategy. And that’s no exception in the events world, either.

One way to increase event registrations is to engage with an influencer in your industry and ask them to promote your event. And they don’t have to have millions of followers either. Micro-influencers (someone with between 1,000 and 100,000 followers) can be just as effective for promoting events in a specific location.

When seeking out an influencer to promote your event, it’s important to consider how engaged their followers are and how well their personal brand aligns with your organisations. Essentially, you want to seek out the influence of someone who has an audience very similar to yours in order to drum up event registrations.

Build A Stand-Out Marketing Campaign

The key to more event registrations is to make your event stand out and to clearly convey why a person should attend. To achieve this you should build a stand-out marketing campaign with the aim of driving event registrations. Think eye catching graphics and imagery and compelling copy, all deployed in the right way.

A well thought out marketing strategy makes all the difference for event registrations. Your event should have a website that makes it easy to register with as much information as possible about the event itself, speakers, facilities, transport and accommodation. As well as this you could use a combination of on and offline marketing to reach your target audience too.

Remove Barriers To Attendance

In marketing your event you should address all the objections or questions a person may have about attending. At the very least you should be answering the question ‘Why should I attend?’ but you should also be striving to provide solutions to other problems too.

Lack of transport or accommodation could feasibly hold a person back from registering. Therefore, in planning your event you should take steps to overcome this. For example, you could lay on shuttle buses from the nearby train station or strike up a deal with a nearby taxi or rideshare service to make your event more accessible. You might offer accommodation for free or at a discounted rate of attendees.

All of these perks and bonuses should be promoted in order to entice people to sign-up and attend your event.

Offer A Discount For Early Bird Registration

Your marketing strategy doesn’t start when tickets go on sale. It begins way before that. Therefore, you might consider starting your campaign by collecting email addresses of people who may be interested in your event. You can do this by offering Early Bird Registration to anyone who signs up. Early Bird registration usually involves a discount and puts those who sign up first in line for tickets before they go on general sale.

This is a fantastic way of drumming up interest and creating a buzz around your event, and goes a long way to increasing event registrations.

Play On FOMO

You can also boost event registrations by creating a sense of urgency. Your job is to convince people that they absolutely cannot miss your event and use this as a catalyst for their registration. For example, you may have a headline on your website which shows how many tickets are remaining. This is a very simple technique which can be used to nudge a person into committing through fear of missing out.

Reward Loyalty

If your event happens every year, don’t forget those people who have come before! Reward loyalty by offering them Early Bird registration, or even making them a VIP. Even an email that acknowledges they have been before and you are looking forward to seeing them again can go a long way.

Another way to incentivise more people to register for your event is to create a referral scheme. This will encourage people who do sign up to share the event with their friends and colleagues. Don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth!

Get More Help & Advice With Event Planning

If you have been given the responsibility of planning an event and would benefit from some expert support, contact us! We are an award winning event management company with over 25 years of experience in organising, planning, promoting and executing successful events. From theme development to finding speakers and promoting your event, we are experts in all aspects of event planning and management and we’d be happy to help you.

How To Introduce Speakers At A Conference

July 2020

how-to-introduce-speakers

One of the biggest challenges for an MC or host is introducing speakers at an event. At best some introductions can feel awkward or stilted. At worse, they set the wrong tone with an audience and cause them to switch off. For these reasons it’s best to craft an enthusiastic and well-structured introduction when introducing speakers at a conference. 

How To Introduce Speakers At A Conference

Plan Ahead

Your introduction should aim to build up a speaker to the audience. It should build trust, credibility and likeability from the off and help your speaker put their best foot forward.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to craft a summary of the individual that clearly explains who they are and why they are best placed to address the audience. Questions you should aim to answer include:

  • Who are they?
  • What do they do?
  • What are their main achievements?
  • What are they going to talk about?
  • Why is that relevant to this audience?

In answering all of these questions you should be able to craft an introduction that elevates your speaker and prepares the audience for their presentation.

Communicate Your Speaker’s Credibility

Your speaker is most likely a leader in their field or industry, so make the most of this in your introduction. Of course, there’s absolutely no need to reel off the person’s whole professional background. In fact, that’s the opposite of what you should do. However, you should aim to give a succinct overview of the person as a professional and summarise their career highlights.

Ultimately, you want the audience to listen to your speaker and engage with what they are saying. Therefore, by summarising their credentials you give them reasons why they should do just that.

Be Enthusiastic

Enthusiasm is contagious when delivered in the correct way. For that reason, it’s so important to deliver your introduction with passion and excitement. It’s not just about what you say either, but how you say it. Smile when you speak and be animated in delivery. If you seem genuinely enthusiastic about the speaker, your audience will feel the same.

Be Brief

While there are no hard and fast rules about how long an introduction should be, it’s wise to keep it short and sweet. To achieve this, seek to answer the questions listed above with no extraneous information. Launching into a complex biography of the person’s life will most likely bore your audience to tears and wonder why they bothered attending in the first place!

Be Accurate

It goes without saying that you should do your research for your introduction. Make sure beforehand you know exactly what the speaker will be talking about so you can summarise it effectively. As well as this, be sure to fact check all the information you have, such as their current job title or how to pronounce their name.

It’s advisable to have a conversation with the speaker beforehand and ask if there is anything in particular they would like you to include – or not include.

Have A Sense Of Humour

It goes without saying that you must not make jokes at the expense of your speaker. However, a little sense of humour can go a long way. That’s not to say that you should channel your favourite comedian for your introduction, though!

Try and find a balance to your humour and read the room. If you’re delivering your introduction and notice a joke has gone down like a lead balloon, it might be best to leave out anymore and stick to the facts.

Get Help With Conference & Event Management

If you’re planning a conference and would like some help and support, we can help. The KDM blog is packed full of articles designed to support you in planning and hosting a fantastic event. Furthermore, our experienced team of Event Managers are on hand to provide flexible help with event management should you need it, from sourcing speakers to boosting event engagement. For more information, please contact us. We’d love to help!

A Guide To Finding & Securing Speakers For A Conference

July 2020

Finding and securing event speakers

Finding and securing speakers for your next conference can be a tricky task. As speakers, panellists and special guests make up the majority of a conference, it’s fair to say they’re a pretty big part. So when it comes to sourcing speakers then there’s no doubt that the pressure is on.

This is why having a robust strategy for finding and securing speakers is so important. In this guide, we’re going to help you formulate a strategy that will support you in finding the very best, and most appropriate, speakers for your conference.

How To Find & Secure Event Speakers

Step 1: Make A List

Every good strategy starts with a list! First, you’ll want to start with a list of topics you’ll be covering at your conference. You don’t have to formulate an ‘angle’ as such as this point, but brainstorm the topics you’d like a speaker to talk about. When it comes to choosing the right speakers for your conference, you want to ensure they are relevant to your audience and subject and they are influential (or an authority) in their field.

This list will support you in choosing the most appropriate people to approach about speaking at your event. It’s entirely possible that you may have someone in mind already, however you always want to have a back up plan just in case they’re not available.

Step 2: Do Your Research

If you don’t have anyone specific in mind, there are a number of avenues you can explore to find speakers. The first of these is the National Speakers Association. This body is a collective of over 3,000 professional speakers who can be hired to speak at events like yours.

Another method of finding speakers is through a call for speaker proposals or abstracts. By putting out a call for speaker proposals, you can create a pool of speakers who are interested in attending your event. This can save you a lot of time, however doing this successfully requires a robust and well thought out plan to get your call in front of the right people.

You can also turn to the power of social media to source your speakers. Industry leaders are more often than not quite active on social media platforms (especially Twitter and LinkedIn), presenting you with an opportunity to engage with them and approach them about your event. This is a particularly good idea if you are interested in approaching someone who is not a professional event speaker. This, however, is a long game and involves building a relationship with the person through engaging with their posts and content and participating in online discussions.

Finally, if you don’t feel comfortable engaging with a person in this way, or don’t have the contacts to help make an introduction, you can utilise the services of an event planner. At KDM Events, we have forged strong relationships with event speakers and can quickly get in touch with them about your event, taking all the leg work out of finding and securing speakers.

Step 3: Make Your Pitch

When you have a list of speakers you would like to attend your conference, it’s time to make your pitch. If you aren’t using a middleman to handle this part of the process for you, then you’ll need to approach them and make your pitch.

Social media is a great way to strike up a conversation and build relationships. It’s advisable not to go straight in with your pitch but rather engage with the person first before suggesting that collaborating at your event could be a good idea. Further to this, if possible, try and pitch your event to them either over the phone or face to face – not by email or direct message. This will give you the best chance to communicate your passion and enthusiasm.

A great angle to take when pitching your event to a potential speaker is to position it an opportunity for them. Clearly explain to them how speaking at your event will benefit them. For example, you may be inviting a big client or industry player that you can introduce them to or speaking at your event will build their portfolio for other conferences. Don’t forget to mention the perks of attending too, such as free meals, accommodation and networking opportunities.

Step 4: Share All Relevant Information

Once you have pitched your event to a speaker and they are interested, or the right speaker has been found through a third party, you must ensure you provide them with all the relevant information. A great way to do this is by creating a handbook or pack that can be handed out to all speakers.

It’s important to ensure that all the details of your conference are communicated to speakers so they know what to expect. For example, they need to know what the conference is about, its theme, who the target audience is, where it is being held, who else is speaking at the event and what technology and facilities they will have available to them on the day.

Doing this will give your speakers confidence that your event is organised and being managed correctly.

Step 5: Be Communicative

Booking speakers well in advance – and having a plan B – is without doubt the most sensible thing to do. However, if you do book a speaker far in advance then it’s essential to be communicative. Stay in contact as much as possible. Let them know how ticket sales are going, who else will be speaking, the topics that are being discussed and any other pertinent information.

It’s also important to ensure that all travel arrangements are made for your speaker well in advance and details of this are communicated to them.

Step 6: Always Have A Back-Up Plan

In a perfect world nothing would ever go wrong. But, unfortunately, that’s not the case. Things do go wrong. People get ill, they have emergencies to attend to, travel plans go awry. And you have very little control over these kinds of events.

When you have assembled your main speakers, have a list of back up speakers you can draw upon should the worst happen. Many event management companies who source entertainers and speakers will have the capability to draw upon a catalogue of other speakers in cases like this, which means less stress for you. However, if you are going it alone make sure you have your plan B in place well in advance so you can handle hiccups like this with (relative) ease.

Finding The Right Conference Speakers With KDM Events

At KDM Events, we have over 25 years of experience in conference and event management. Therefore, we have a lot of contacts we can draw upon to help you source the best conference speakers for your event. What’s more, we can manage the whole process for you. Simply tell us what you need and our Event Managers will make contact, pitch, negotiate and secure big-name speakers for your conference while you focus your energies on other areas.

Should you need it we can also support you with any other planning needs you may have too. From strategy and theme development to travel management, entertainment and venue sourcing, we can chip in to support flexibly as and when you need it. Or, if you’d rather outsource the whole process, as an award-winning event management company delivering successful events every day throughout the UK, we’re well placed to use our expertise to take charge and deliver the best event possible.

To find out more, contact our team today for an informal chat. We’d be happy to help with any and all aspects of planning your event.

5 Questions To Ask When Sourcing A Venue For A Conference

July 2020

5-questions-to-ask-a-conference-venue

Finding the right venue for your conference can be a lengthy process, not least because there are so many elements to consider. To help you choose the best venue for your event, we’ve put together a list of things you should consider and questions you should ask before making your final decision.

5 Questions To Ask An Event Venue

Is the venue accessible?

First of all: location. Your chosen venue should be accessible, with good links to public transport. This is especially necessary if your delegates will be travelling from far and wide to attend. Further to this, does your chosen venue have parking? If it is not a hotel, is it close to accommodation for people wishing to stay overnight?

When it comes to choosing a venue, location should be one of your top priorities. Getting it wrong could result in low attendance, which has the potential to spoil even the most well crafted events.

How much does it cost?

Alongside a list of ‘must have’ requirements and facilities, budget is one of the biggest driving factors in picking a venue. Therefore, before you start getting quotes and speaking to venues have a firm idea of how much you want to spend and stick to your guns.

It is easy to be tempted by all-singing, all dancing venues that cost the earth. But if you have a set budget to stick to you’re less likely to give in to that temptation.

Like anything, it’s important to be sure you’re getting good value for money. We’re certainly not suggesting you go with the cheapest venue you can find! Instead, do you research and ask questions. Be absolutely clear of what is included in your quoted price (and what isn’t) and check out customer reviews, too.

Does it have everything you need?

A comfortable, inviting venue with high standards of service and the appropriate facilities will leave a lasting impression on your guests. So make sure you explore what facilities are included.

It’s important to see this through attendees eyes, so take a moment to think about the facilities they would both want and need from a venue. For example, parking, wheelchair access, refreshments, Wi-Fi, charging points and places to sit and network are all very important facilities.
As well as this, consider what facilities you will need to make your conference a success. These include: function rooms, smaller meeting rooms, electrical equipment, seating and stationary.

Is there enough room? Or is there too much room?

Size matters and when it comes to choosing a venue you need to ensure it is appropriate for your needs. This will depend on the size and scope of your event. If there are to be multiple sessions happening at the same time, you will need more rooms. If all guests are invited to a keynote speech at the end of the conference, an appropriate amount of space will be necessary to accommodate everyone.

A venue that is too small can be a disaster in terms of event engagement and attendee satisfaction. Similarly a venue that is too large may give the impression that your event isn’t well attended, even if everyone you invited turns up!

Can you have a look around before booking?

We would highly recommend going to see your chosen venue beforehand to better understand if it suits your needs. In stopping by to conduct a site visit you can gain a lot of important insights into the venue, its staff, and the way it is run.

As well as this, you will be able to see the venue first hand and visualise your conference in that space.

Strapped For Time? Try Our Free Venue Finder Service!

Finding the right venue that ticks all the boxes can be time consuming. But here at KDM, we’ve got a secret weapon to give you a head start. Our free Venue Finder service gives you unfettered access to our database of venues across the UK. Through this, you can quickly and easily create a shortlist of venues for your conference or event with our support, all of which meet your exacting requirements.

As we’ve worked with most of these venues before, we can work on your behalf to negotiate the best rate and lead the contracting process, saving you time and money.

To take advantage of this free service, contact us today. Our team would be happy to listen to your requirements and get you started with this free service.

7 Ways To Boost Engagement At Your Next Event

July 2020

Event Engagement

There’s nothing worse than a boring event is there? You know the ones. You dread attending, you drag yourself through the day(s) and you let out a deep sigh of relief when you leave.

If you are looking to host an event, the above is exactly what you want to avoid. And that comes down to event engagement.

What is Event Engagement?

Event engagement is the extent to which attendees participate and engage with your event. This can be measured in a variety of ways from social media activity to polls and more.

Event engagement spans way beyond the actual event itself. In fact, it starts in the run up to the event and continues for quite a while afterwards. Therefore, it is important to give more than a little thought to how you will encourage attendees to actively participate and engage with your event.

7 Ways To Boost Event Engagement

In this article, we’ll explore 7 ways you can boost event engagement at your next conference or meeting. Many of these can be adapted to suit the size and scope of your event. The point is that you plan your event with engagement in mind, because this is what will leave people with the best impression of your organisation, whether they are external guests or employees.

Understand Your Audience

When you’re planning an event, you should take the time to really get under the skin of who will be attending. Dig deep and explore their motivations for coming and what they might want to take away with them (and we don’t mean a boat load of freebies – but that can help!).
When you have a clear idea of who your audience is and what they want, you can plan speakers and sessions they engage with.

If your event is an annual one you can use feedback from the year before to understand what attendees enjoyed and what they didn’t. This will go a long way to informing your planning. You could also do some research and see what kind of activities and sessions were held at a similar event. While you wouldn’t want to copy this exactly it is a good place to start for inspiration.

Build A Community

Whether your audience is made up of people who work for your organisation or external individuals in your industry/sector, building a community around your event is a sure-fire way to increase engagement before, during and after.

You could achieve this through creating a dedicated event hashtag on social media or making a private group on Facebook that attendees can join. As well as this, you could create a sense of community in the build up to the event by sharing ‘teasers’ on social media or through email marketing. This will create a buzz about your event which will get people talking and engaging with each other before they even step through the door.

Engage Through Social Media

Social media is your biggest (and cheapest) asset when it comes to event engagement. It can be utilised to great effect both in the run up, during, and after your event to drum up and maintain engagement.

The first way of doing this is through an event hashtag, as mentioned above. As well as encouraging attendees to engage key insights, opinions, photographs and videos on social media with the hashtag, your organisation can also use it to ask questions or share behind the scenes information and insights.

Live streaming is also a fantastic tool in your arsenal when it comes to event engagement. You might choose to live stream a session or conduct a one to one Q& A session with speakers to broadcast on social media.

You can also use social media after the event to look back at key moments, post photographs and videos.

Use Technology

Other forms of technology are also another fantastic way to drive engagement. For example, virtual and augmented reality can be used both in sessions and outside of them to encourage engagement through attendees.

A mobile phone app specially developed for your event can also be a fantastic way to keep people engaged. This could be a home for updates to the schedule and important announcements and also a way of interacting with speakers and sessions. For example, attendees could use the app to take part in a quiz or contribute to a poll.

Shake Things Up

No two people are the same. We all find different things interesting, therefore only catering to one type of person is a sure fire way to alienate a large portion of your audience.

To combat this try and shake up the formats you use, the length of sessions and the way in which attendees engage with your event. By keeping it varied you have a better chance of appealing to all types of people and keeping them engaged.

Smaller aspects such as seating layouts can also make a big impact on engagement. For example, a theatre style setup is more conducive to a speech. However, for breakout sessions and workshops, a collaborative classroom style set up may encourage engagement from attendees.

Build In Networking Opportunities

Many events offer a great opportunity for networking. Especially if you carve out time in the schedule to allow for that to happen. Networking opportunities can be seized in the form of regular breaks where attendees can congregate together and have an informal chat outside of planned sessions.

You may also consider ice breakers to ‘warm’ up your audience and help them get to know one another better. Of course, how far down the line you take this will depend on how big your audience is. For larger audiences, building in networking time is probably the best way to promote networking. While ice breakers can encourage it in smaller groups.

Have Fun

Games are a really good way to encourage engagement. For example, you might organise a treasure hunt or team building game that appeals to the competitive nature of your attendees.

Games can also be used to great effect to encourage networking and getting to know one another.

Interactive games and elements can also be a great way to put people at ease and encourage them to relax and have fun.

If your conference or event takes place over several days, consider offering delegates some form of entertainment or activities during their down time. This doesn’t have to be all singing and dancing. It could be as simple as a drinks reception and dinner in the evening or a tour of the local area. Doing things like this avoids people withdrawing of an evening and encourages them to keep engaging with the event in all areas.

Need Support With Event Engagement?

If you’re struggling to come up with creative, out-of-the-box ideas for event engagement, we can help! We are event specialists and we’re well versed in a range of tried and tested formulas that boost event engagement and get people talking about your event.

From team building activities and treasure hunts to conference and event management, we can support you with all aspects of your event – or just the parts you don’t want to do yourself! What’s more, we can also support you with post-event management to inform your strategy moving forwards. For an informal chat with one of our Event Managers, contact us today. We’d love to talk with you about how we can help.

How To Organise A Conference: A Step By Step Guide

June 2020

Conference Planning Guide

Organising a conference is no mean feat. From guest speakers and venues to entertainment and catering – not to mention everything in between – there’s so much to think about. For some, taking on such a mammoth task can seem quite overwhelming. However, with the right can do and proactive attitude, along with quite a bit of planning, you can navigate your way safely to organise a memorable and engaging conference for all attendees.

How To Organise A Conference

But where to begin? As an award-winning event management company, we’ve headed up more than a few conferences in our time. So, to help you, we’ve put all of our expertise and knowledge into this handy step by step guide. In this, we’ll talk you through each part of the journey, from planning to execution.

Ready? Let’s jump in.

Step 1: Pinpoint Your Goal

When you hurtle headlong into organising a conference it’s all too easy to start with the elements you know you’ll need: venue, entertainment, and food. But hold your horses. Before you even start Googling for suppliers or getting quotes from venues you need to take a step back and see the bigger picture.

Successful conferences start with a clear goal in mind. What are you hoping to achieve through your event? And how will you make it engaging for your intended audience?

Before you delve headfirst into the nitty gritty of organising your event, do some planning first. Questions you could consider are:

  • What is the purpose of my event?
  • What elements will help me achieve my goal?
  • Who is my audience?
  • What do my audience want from this kind of event?
  • What will set my event apart from other events?
  • How will I measure the success of my event?

As well as this, it may also be worth considering at this stage the 4 ‘W’s’. These are:

  • Why am I holding this event?
  • Who is my event for?
  • Where will my event take place?
  • When will my event take place?

Brainstorming this and having a clear goal in mind will illuminate the path to planning a successful conference. Once you know the answer to the above questions you can devise a strategy which is focused on achieving what is laid out in front of you without getting sidetracked.

Step 2: Prepare A Budget

Money talks. So preparing and understanding your budget is one of the key aspects of the whole planning process.
Your budget will dictate quite a few things. It may be that you have to compromise or prioritise certain things over others in order to meet both your core goals and your budget.

When you know exactly how much you can spend, break it down even further by assigning mini-budgets to different aspects of the event (i.e. venue, accommodation, etc). Doing this will help you, and anyone else, through the quoting and negotiation process.

Remember that your budget doesn’t just mean how much you’ll be spending, but potentially how much you will earn too. If your conference is open to the general public and you’ll be charging a fee for tickets or registration, then your budget will support you in pricing this. Furthermore, don’t forget there are certain avenues you can explore in regards to sponsorship or funding that may be relevant to your event, too. So do your research!

Step 3: Decide How You Will Manage The Planning Process

Whether there is just you involved in planning your event or you’ll be delegating tasks to a wider team, it’s crucial to have a way of tracking and managing the planning process.

This can be achieved through the set up of a simple spreadsheet which lists tasks to be completed, who is responsible for them and the deadline.

With so much to do, it is easy to lose sight of what has (or hasn’t) been done. And when this happens, things start to slip through the cracks. So ensure that you have a robust plan as to how the planning process will be managed and be sure to communicate this to anyone who is working with you in this project.

Aside from spreadsheets, there are a whole range of technologies which can be utilised to help you stay on track. These include messaging apps like Slack, video conferencing programs like Skype or Zoom, and project management software such as Asana or Trello.
The best advice we can give is to have one central place where everything related to conference planning lives. It’s also vital to have regular update meetings to ensure that everyone involved is on track.

If you are working alone on this, then ensure you have all the information you need in front of you and regularly ‘check-in’ with progress. Remember, there is no weakness to delegating tasks. In fact, it’s the smart move. So if you can, find someone to support you with certain parts of the process so you can keep spinning plates elsewhere.

Step 4: Choose Your Team

This step may actually come right at the very beginning of the process, depending on how you work. But regardless, assembling a crack team of colleagues (or event planners) to support you in organising the conference is one of the best moves you can make.

How you structure your team depends on the size of it. If you have a very large team working under you then you may have the scope to divide them up into sub-teams and appoint sub-team leaders. Different aspects of the event can then be delegated to each team. For example, you could appoint a marketing team who will be responsible for spreading the word about the conference.

However you assemble your team, ensure that the priorities you thrashed out above and the overarching aim of the conference is communicated to them. Similarly ensure your team is fully briefed regarding deadlines and how they are to update you on progress.

Step 5: Pick A Theme

Every conference should have a theme.Whether it is an overt theme or a unifying message which ties the whole conference together, having a theme in mind will support your organisational efforts.

It is really up to you as to how ‘out there’ you go with your theme and how far you take it. This will also largely be dedicated by the type of sector you are in and the culture of the organisation you work for.

Do not underestimate the effect a well-chosen theme can have on an event. The right theme can inspire attendees and also support in driving forward discussion and networking. Therefore, take a lot of time to think about a theme and ensure it is considered in all aspects of planning for consistency.

Step 6: Choose A Suitable Date

When your conference takes place is actually much more of an involved decision than you might initially realise. When you decide on a date you should ensure that it:

  • Gives you enough time for planning;
  • Doesn’t conflict with other major events;
  • Is the optimal time for maximum attendance

Holding a conference in the height of summer when lots of people are on annual leave isn’t the best of moves. Neither is planning your conference to coincide with a big event happening in the same location.

Give the date and times of your conference a lot of thought, and remember to take into account where your attendees may be travelling from and whether or not that may impact attendance.

As well as this, decide on how long your conference might be. Many take place over 2 days or more, therefore it may be necessary for delegates to stay overnight. Is this suitable for the dates you have picked?

Step 7: Decide On A Location & Venue

When you have your date, budget and theme nailed, you can then start looking at venues. Location is another very important aspect of your event, particularly as you want to be sure that it is accessible for your delegates and big enough to comfortably accommodate all of your guests.

Before you start your research make a list of ‘must have’ and ‘nice to have’ features. Doing this will help you to create a long-list which can then be whittled down into a shortlist. As well as this, keep your budget in mind and perhaps give yourself an upper limit on how much you’re prepared to spend and what criteria a venue needs to meet in order to warrant that amount of spending.

Essential factors to consider when choosing a venue are:

  • Costs – Be sure to explore what is and isn’t included with a venue to avoid discovering hidden costs further down the line!
  • Location – Delegates should be able to easily get to your venue. If that’s not the case, but you have your heart set on it then be prepared to arrange transportation too.
  • Size – You may already know roughly how many people will be able to attend. If so, use this to inform the size of your venue. It’s best to strike a balance. You don’t want fitting everyone in to be a squash and a squeeze, nor do you want to waste money on a venue that looks half empty.
  • Atmosphere – Consider your theme when choosing a venue. Does it feed into what you’re trying to achieve or does it distract from it?
  • Facilities – If you have planned breakout sessions or evening entertainment can the venue accommodate that? As well as this, does the venue have the right equipment you need? For example, do they have audio & visual equipment available, charging points and reliable WiFi?
  • Accommodation – Does the venue offer rooms for guests to stay? If not, are there any hotels or guest houses available nearby?
  • Food & Drink – Some venues have their own in-house catering services you can take advantage of, while some might require you to bring in your own. If food is available at the venue then be sure to discuss special dietary requirements and how a venue will manage this.

When it comes to venues there’s a lot to consider. Choosing the wrong venue can make or break a conference, so it’s worth taking the time to get it right.

One way to better navigate the minefield that is finding a venue is to use a venue finder service. Here at KDM we offer this service for free to clients and they can explore a huge database of venues to find the right ones for them. Further to this, we can take the lead on negotiating fees, dotting i’s and crossing t’s so you can rest safe in the knowledge that the venue is in the bag and everything you need it to be.

Step 8: Arrange Catering

If you’re planning a conference then you’re going to want to feed and water your guests for the duration. Therefore, it’s important to ensure catering is in place for the big day (or days!).

Whether you use internal or external vendors for catering, it’s still important to give a lot of thought to this aspect. No matter how much entertainment you put on for guests, breaks are always important at any type of event so plan these carefully. And that’s not just lunch and dinner, either. Remember to build in several breaks throughout the day and offer delegates the chance to grab a coffee and other refreshments.

As well as this, be sure to consider your theme when it comes to catering. In some ways, this might help you decide on the type of food that you would like to serve to your guests.

Other things to consider is how many people you will need to cater for and dietary requirements. Often you will need to confirm the final headcount with a caterer at a specific time during planning, so ensure that you incorporate doing this into your plan, especially in regards to picking an RSVP date.

Step 9: Organise Your Speakers

It is likely there won’t just be one person speaking at your conference, therefore it is necessary to make arrangements for both speakers and entertainments. Your speakers are essentially the stars of the show and will act as a very big draw for guests. Therefore, take some time to really plan your strategy here in order to execute it well.

Like a music festival, it’s a good idea to choose a ‘headline’ act. This should be someone who is well-known in your industry and able to speak on the theme or unifying message of your conference.

To execute this part of planning effectively, start by making a list of potential speakers you would like to invite. Then, decide how you will contact them. Depending on how eminent they are you may have to get in touch with them via an agent. If that isn’t the case but you still require an introduction use professional tools at your disposal such as LinkedIn to see who in your network could make it happen.

When you have secured your speakers you’ll need to understand what equipment they may need on the day to deliver their speech and whether they have any special requirements. For example, will they bring their own laptop with them? Will they need a projector? Do they have any dietary requirements? Will they need accommodation and transport arrangements to be made on their behalf?

All of this should be considered with every speaker you secure. Furthermore, it’s best to have a few back-ups speakers prepped well in advance just in case one of your “A-list” speakers has to pull out.

Step 10: Arrange Your Entertainment

Keeping your guests engaged beyond the scheduled talks and workshops is important, too. One way to achieve this is by laying on entertainment throughout the day to keep the energy high and guests involved.

The type of entertainment you arrange will depend on the size and type of conference you are holding. For example, if you are hosting a dinner in the evening you may arrange for a piano player, singer or even a DJ for afterwards. You might also consider entertainers such as comedians, illusionists or motivational speakers.

Some conferences also have entertainment stations throughout the day for delegates to engage with. This could be a Virtual Reality stand in the lobby of a hotel, a treasure hunt or even an interactive team building session (such as an Escape Room).

Step 11: Make A Schedule

When your venue, vendors, speakers and entertainment is secured, you need to make a robust agenda. This shouldn’t be a collection of loose times but a rigid and detailed plan of what will happen from start to finish.

Your main agenda will be the one that guests see. It is a timetable of the day and will lay out what is happening and when. Alongside meatier speeches from the speakers you found earlier, you might also consider incorporating workshops, team building activities, networking opportunities and regular breaks.

As well as this agenda, you should also have a timetable formulated for staff who will be working the event and anyone else involved. This should detail what time the venue can be accessed from, what time the conference starts, break times and lunch times, and any other prudent information. Having this to hand and distributing it will ensure that everyone is where they should be at the right time and avoid any mishaps.

Step 12: Market Your Event

Ideally, you will begin marketing your event as soon as the date of the conference is agreed and the venue is chosen.

This is best done through a multi-channel approach that uses all the different technologies and tools at your disposal. We recommend using a mixture of PR, social media, and both online and traditional marketing to raise awareness of your conference.

If your conference is for internal employees only marketing is still important. Spread the word through internal communications and posters. Be sure to have a way for guests to RSVP, too! This will help you to see how effective your marketing efforts are and keep track of how many people will be in attendance on the day.

Step 13: Be The Host With The Most

When the big day arrives it’s time for all your hard work to come together.

As long as you have the right contingency plans in place, if something goes wrong you should be able to get things on track quickly.

At the start of the day ensure that everyone behind the scenes has been briefed. Also make sure that everyone knows who they should report to in the event of a problem.

Providing you’ve covered all of your bases then you should be able to go with the flow and enjoy the fruits of your labour. But, if something goes wrong, don’t panic! Deal with it calmly and be sure to reflect on it afterwards.

Step 14: Follow Up

After all that you probably want to know if your conference was a success and to leave people with a positive impression of your organisation.
Therefore, it’s important to follow up with delegates and speakers.

Be sure to reach out and thank everyone for coming and making the conference a success. For speakers and entertainers the personal touch will go a long way so make a point of thanking them over the phone or face to face if you can.

You should also take steps to collect feedback from delegates and find out what they thought of your event. You can do this in a number of ways, however one of the best and easiest ways is to send attendees an online survey by email.

This should all be done as soon as possible after the event – ideally the next day – so it is fresh in people’s minds and they feel motivated to provide feedback.

Do you need help with organising a conference?

We told you there was a lot to think about!

Hopefully the above information will provide you with a road map of how to go about organising a successful conference in the future.
Should you need any help with this process, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. As experienced Event Management professionals we have headed up more than our fair share of conferences and we would be happy to support you in making yours a success should you require it.

At KDM Events, we can help with all steps of the planning process. What’s more, our flexible approach means we can be as involved as you like. To find out more, contact us for a friendly chat with one of our Event Managers.

What are the different types of conferences?

June 2020

Different Types Of Conferences

As an award-winning event management company, we’ve seen our fair share of conferences. In fact, we have supported the planning and execution of a huge number of conferences across the UK, from London to Scotland and everywhere in between! This wealth of experience means that we have experienced a wide range of different types of conferences and understand what works – and what doesn’t!

Different Types of Conferences

A conference is, by and large, a congregation of people coming together to discuss and share information and ideas around a chosen subject. Usually there are presentations followed by Q&A sessions or discussions. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to categorising an event, which is why the term conference broadly encompasses a whole range of events. In this article, we’ll summarise the different types of conferences and their purpose.

Press Conferences

Press conferences are most likely one of the most well known types of ‘conference’ outside of the business. Often spearheaded by a politician, celebrity, sportsperson, the police or renowned figure, they are used as a way to spread important information. The audience at press conferences are mostly made up of journalists and PR professionals whose job it is to broadcast and disseminate the information shared. A press conference usually begins with the key speaker (or speakers) delivering a speech before the floor is opened up to questions.

Annual General Meetings

An Annual General Meeting (or AGM) is a formal gathering of a company’s shareholders. Held every year, at this type of conference the directors of the company will deliver a presentation relating to the company’s performance and plans for the future. Following this, shareholders normally vote on a range of issues laid out in the agenda. They will also elect a new board of directors.

AGM’s are compulsory conferences which must be carried out every year. As a result, these annual gatherings often pull out all the stops to make them as engaging as possible. This includes hiring a dedicated venue and organising food and entertainment for attendees.

Conventions

Conventions are annual events that usually take place on a large scale. The purpose of a convention is to bring people together with a common passion to enjoy discussions, entertainment and more around a certain topic. Conventions aren’t always business focused. In fact, in recent years a number of fan and enthusiast conventions based around entertainment have become popular. These include comic conventions (such as San Diego Comic Con), technology conventions (such as E3) and science fiction conventions.

Conventions tend to happen over one or more days and are usually open to anyone who would like to attend. To that end, they are more often than not ticket only events.

Product Launches

Product launches are events organised by businesses to build excitement and awareness around a new product. Usually attended by a large audience of influential people within the related industry, the key goal of a product launch is to share information about it and get maximum exposure to the relevant audiences.

At these kinds of events there are usually product demonstrations, speeches, Q&As, and entertainment. Press packs and product samples are also handed out in order to feed the core goal of the event.

Conferences & Events With KDM

There is no black and white definition of what makes a conference and what makes a meeting. Therefore, you may find the following events are also categorised as either/or ‘meetings’ or ‘conferences’:

  • Seminars
  • Workshops
  • Conclave
  • Board meetings
  • Exhibitions/Trade shows

Each of the above types of events are all individual in their own right. That is, their primary goal differs. And, really, when it comes to planning an event, it is not the category that it falls under that matters. It is, in fact, the core goal.

Having a clear and achievable goal that you would like to achieve through your event is the sole driving force in the planning process. Should you need help and guidance in defining this, or support in planning an event to meet your goal, contact us today. Our team is made up of an ambitious and experienced group of Event Planners with extensive experience in organising some of the biggest and best events to take place here in the UK. We look forward to doing the same for you!

What is the difference between a conference and a meeting?

June 2020

Conferences and Meetings

Meetings and conferences are events in which a group of people come together to share information. What sets the two apart is scale, formality, and the overarching goal of the event. In this article, we’ll explore the key differences between conferences and meetings. In particular, we will explore how each of the two can be used in a business setting to achieve an end goal.

What is a eeting?

A meeting is a congregation of people who are called together to formally discuss a subject or topic. Meetings can vary in size. Generally, they are composed of two or more people whose purpose is to come together to share information and opinions around a certain subject. Meetings do not always happen face-to-face. In fact, they can be carried out virtually either over the telephone or via video conference (i.e. Skype or Zoom).

Examples of different types of meetings are committee meetings, board meetings, staff meetings, team meetings and committee meetings. These can happen in staff rooms, offices, function rooms, restaurants, and cafes. Indeed, anywhere a group of people can convene to discuss matters on their agenda, either face to face or virtually.

By and large, there is usually an end goal to a meeting. They are commonly used to deliver key organisational updates, open discussion between colleagues, share ideas and give progress updates on a project.

What is a Conference?

A conference is a meeting of people who come together to share information (or ‘confer’) about a chosen topic. While meetings are generally focused on a key outcome, conferences tend to be bigger and involve bringing together key players in a field to discuss and share information around a certain subject.

Conferences are usually made up of a series of talks and discussions that are organised in advance. They may also feature breakout sessions, Q&A sessions, guest speakers, team building sessions, training, and workshops.

Examples of different types of conferences include academic conferences and business conferences. These are more commonly held in large venues as conferences tend to have bigger guest lists. They may, for example, be held at a hotel which has a large function room able to accommodate for a larger audience.

What are the key differences between a meeting and a conference?

As can be seen above, the differences between meetings and conferences largely come down to scale and scope. Meetings are, by and large, made up of one group of people meeting each other to discuss and share ideas. Often there is an agenda and end goal, where attendees walk away with key points of action to execute in their roles.

Alternatively, a conference is much more about disseminating information. Typically, the guest list for these types of events is much bigger and therefore they are held at bigger venues to accommodate the audience. Often conferences are broken down into chunks and held over a day, or even several days, whereas meetings tend to be much smaller – confined to a morning, afternoon or (in some cases) a day.

Meeting and Conferences with KDM

While there are key differences between meetings and conferences, it does not mean that one is more important than the other. When it comes down to it, the reason why you are gathering a group of people together (small or large) is the most important thing. What’s more, in both you are sharing information and encouraging engagement. Therefore, it is important for both meetings and conferences to be well planned, organised and executed.

If you would like help in planning your next meeting or conference, we can help. We are an award-winning events management company with over 2 decades of experience in providing support to organisations looking to deliver a wide range of events, be that a conference, corporate event, team building activity, or Christmas party. For more information, and to speak to one of our experienced Event Managers, contact us today. We’d be happy to help!

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How to Choose a Venue for a Conference

June 2020

Searching for a Venue

Choosing the right venue for a conference is an important part of the planning process. It forms the foundation upon which the rest of your event will be built. Get it wrong and you may end up with a space too small for the number of guests, or unsuitable for the type of event you are looking for.

When choosing a venue for a conference, there are a few key elements you must consider. In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps you need to take to choose the right venue for your conference.

1. What’s Your Budget

Budget is everything when planning a conference. No matter how creative or big your ideas are, if you haven’t the money to pay for it then it’s a huge waste of time. So, before you even start brainstorming venue ideas work out exactly how much of your budget will be given to the venue.

Knowing your venue budget right down to the last penny will help you to make a shortlist much quicker. That’s not to say you should entirely rule out any venue that falls over budget (you can still negotiate). But keeping your budget in mind will certainly help you to rule out venues that fall way out of range and aren’t worth spending too much time on.

Bear in mind that there are some factors that can bring the price of hiring a venue down, such as the day of the week or the time of year. Similarly, being flexible with your dates may help you to get a better price. These things are worth keeping in mind as you move forwards, as they may help you to get a bit more bang for your buck.

2. Location, Location, Location

Location is important because it will influence how many people attend your event. Ideally your chosen venue should be accessible by public transport, near to hotels, and have plenty of parking for attendees. The easier it is for your guests to get to a venue and stay there should they have to, the more likely they will be to attend.

Of course, there are ways around this if your dream venue isn’t located near train stations or airports. For example, you could arrange for guest transportation to take them to and from the venue to make their journeys simpler. However, choosing a venue that ticks these boxes will leave more time (and money) for other things.

3. Size Matters

The size of your venue matters. If your guest list is 1,000 people strong but your chosen venue can only safely and comfortably accommodate 500 people, then you’re going to have a problem.
Similarly, a venue with huge capacity is not a cost-effective choice for a smaller audience.

Simply, size matters. So take a look at your guest list or invitee list and decide on the capacity you’re going to need. Some venues may have several conference rooms suitable for different party sizes. Having a rough idea of how many people will be in attendance will help you choose the right sized venue for your event.

4. Explore What’s Included – And What Isn’t

It is not safe to assume that some features and facilities will automatically be included in venue hire. This could lead to a huge misstep further down the line as you have to plough more money into securing features you thought you were getting as standard.

To avoid this, be sure to ask lots of questions. If you there will be a presentation over the course of your conference, is there AV equipment available you can use? If you are planning on serving food, do the venue have the facilities? If so, do they allow for outside caterers or can you only use their in-house team? What are the different configuration options for a room? How many people does each room seat? How accessible is the venue for wheelchair users or attendees with reduced mobility?

The best thing to do before choosing a venue is to write down all of the questions you can think of. Be sure to explore all avenues so you can feel confident that all bases are covered and you won’t hit any stumbling blocks further down the line.

5. Make a shortlist

When you have taken all the above considerations into account, you should be able to create a shortlist of venues. This consists of all the venues that tick the boxes of the elements you’ve considered above.

Try and keep this shortlist…well, short because you’re going to be getting quotes from them all in the near future. If your shortlist is too big it could make the process more lengthy than it needs to be, which will keep you focusing on other parts of conference planning.

6. Use a Venue Finder

Finding your perfect venue can be a time consuming process. If you’re juggling this task with other areas of event management it can also be quite daunting. For this reason, we offer a handy venue finder and hire service to help you to find the perfect venue to meet your needs and budget.

Having been in the industry for over 30 years, we understand that finding the right venue involves much more than simply ticking boxes. Liaising with venues can also be very time consuming.
The good news is that our team of event management professionals are on hand to help you to find the right venue for your event quickly and easily. Using our online portal, we can access an independent database of over 1,000 venues in the UK and overseas. In addition to offering a huge range of options, we can also manage quotes, bookings and contracts – providing you with quick and easy access to important Procurement and Management reports showing your spend, savings, and booking trends

Finding a Venue With No Hidden Costs

If you choose to use our venue finder, there is no financial cost to you. Our time is covered by the commissions paid by venues to venue finders such as ourselves. This is a standard within the industry and has no impact on the venue’s pricing to you.

In fact, it’s a great benefit to have a professional team on your side with experience of hoteliers to negotiate pricing and contracts on your behalf. Venues are happy to negotiate rates for each specific booking in order to win the business. So, we work hard to negotiate the best deals for you, knowing the current deals on offer, past rates quoted and areas where venues can add value. Put simply, we thrive on getting our clients a great deal!

Speak to our team today for

If you are interested in using our venue finder services, please contact us today today. From hotels situated in the heart of bustling urban centres, to large scale conference centres, famous sporting venues, and stately properties, we can help you to select the right venue which will make your event a real success.

How to Handle Problems At Your Event

June 2020

Handling Problems

Planning an event that runs smoothly can feel like a difficult task. With so many different elements required to come together in one place or time, it feels inevitable that something might go wrong. However, there are ways to plan to ensure that problems at your next event are dealt with swiftly. And, with a bit of planning and forethought, you can anticipate any problems that might arise and ensure they don’t factor into the day at all.

In this article, we’ll explore exactly what you can do in the planning process to do just that. As well as this, we’ll take a look at the ways in which you can tackle unexpected problems, that are sometimes entirely out of your control, in a way that doesn’t impact the overall outcomes you planned for. Ready? Let’s dive in.

Planning For Problems At Your Event

There are two approaches you can take when it comes to dealing with problems at your next event. The first is a proactive approach. The second is a reactive approach.

Handling Problems Proactively

A proactive approach involves anticipating what could go wrong and putting plans in place to ensure it doesn’t. Or at least, if it does, there’s a back up plan.

For example, if you are planning an outdoor event months in advance there is no way you can predict what the weather will be like. Of course, you can plan it in the summer months to make it more likely you’ll enjoy good weather. But we all know how unpredictable the great British weather can be! So, short of hosting your event in a far-flung country where good weather is (almost) guaranteed, you need to plan for the worst-case scenario. In this case, it could be liaising with the venue to make plans to move the event inside should it be raining. Or, you could arrange for sheltered areas with outdoor heaters to ensure guests remain comfortable throughout.

This type of planning is proactive. It anticipates the problem and solves it ahead of time. The advantage of doing this is, should the worst happen, you know exactly what needs to be done in advance and have the means to do it swiftly.

Here are some examples of problems you can plan for when organising your event:

  • A speaker, entertainer, or special guest failing to turn up
  • Guests not turning up
  • Technology failing
  • Bad weather

Obviously, this list isn’t exhaustive. However, it will give you an idea of the type of event problems that you can control.

For example, when it comes to speakers and entertainers you can get the jump on any potential problems by asking them to confirm their attendance 24-hours before the event. Even then, you can also have a back-up in mind to draw upon should your first choice be unable to attend for any reason.

Similarly, when it comes to technology, you should factor in things such as sound checks or rehearsals before the main event. We’d also advise making sure that any presentations are stored on a USB drive should someone’s laptop give up the ghost minutes before, and all technology is tested prior to the event to avoid any technical hiccups where possible.

Handling Problems Re-actively

It is entirely possible that something may happen over the course of your event that is totally beyond your control. It may be so bizarre and unexpected that you don’t have a contingency plan for it.
But, even if this does happen, if you have a plan in place for how these problems will be communicated and dealt with, you can minimise the disruption they do have.

Of course, you absolutely should have a plan for emergencies. Everyone at your event should know where the emergency exits are, where they are to congregate following evacuation of the event, and who they can talk to should they discover something untoward.

Develop Strong Communication Lines

For less catastrophic but potentially disruptive elements, ensure that the lines of communication are firmly open. Everyone working at your event should know who their go-to person is if a problem arises. This may not necessarily be you, but there should be someone who is contactable at all times should something happen. Make it clear how this person can be contacted. If it’s by phone, then ensure everyone has the correct contact number and all their phones are fully charged.

Some venues may have poor reception while your inside that makes using a phone difficult without leaving the building. If this is the case, consider walkie talkies or liaise with the venue as to whether there’s any internal communications system you can use.

Any problem that arises throughout the course of an event should be reported to the relevant person quickly to allow for it to be dealt with. Your team should also be clear about this in your briefing and make any outside individuals (such as suppliers, entertainers, or vendors) aware of the steps they should take should something not go to plan.

Keep Calm & Carry On

Often, it’s not the problem itself that causes an issue over the course of an event but the way it is handled. When a problem is addressed calmly, with no one losing their heads, then more often than not it barely registers with guests and attendees.

While you can’t plan for every eventuality, with contingency plans in place, you can be ready for almost anything. And even if something unexpected does go wrong, you can be poised and ready to smooth it over without missing a beat.

The key is to stay calm and in control. Ensure channels of communication are open and everyone is briefed about what they should do in case of a problem. When you take these steps, alongside a proactive approach which minimises the impact of common problems through planning, you can be confident of an event that will be enjoyable for guests and infinitely less stressful for you.

Get Help From The Experts

If you’re new to event planning or have been tasked with creating an event much bigger than anything you have taken on before, then contact us. At KDM Events, we are experts in the field of event planning. For over 2 decades we have worked in the field and we have firsthand experience in smoothly dealing with problems. What’s more, we ensure through the planning process that absolutely everything is accounted for, with contingency plans to back it up too.

That leaves you free to enjoy the event and carry out your role within it without worrying about what may go wrong. For advice and information about our corporate event management services, please give us a call today.

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