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Are you the lucky one who gets to organize a conference? Planning a conference is a great adventure, filled with creativity, problem solving and a fantastic event at the end. We'll take you through the ins and outs and the do's and don'ts of organizing a conference.
Roadmap for organizing a conference
Organizing a conference is a unique opportunity to connect, share inspiration, provide a networking platform and put your company or organization in the spotlight. Whether your goal is to increase brand awareness, attract new clients, or simply share your knowledge with the world, there is always a reason to step into this adventure!
Before you panic at the thought of all that's involved: breathe in, breathe out. We are here to guide you through this adventure. From pinning down the perfect venue to arranging the tastiest catering, we'll discuss it all. And you know what the fun part is? Organizing a conference can be just as fun and inspiring as the conference itself!
Step 1: Determine goals and target audience
The very first thing you need to think about is: what do you want to achieve and who are you doing it for? Clearly define your goals and your target audience. Do you want to share knowledge, encourage networking or perhaps both? Who do you want to attract: professionals, students or a mix? Put this clearly on paper, because this is your compass for the rest of the organization of the conference.
Step 2: Determine date, location and format.
The second step in organizing a congress is to determine the date and location. Choose a date that is convenient for your target audience and check the competition.
Zwolle is an ideal city to organize your congress. Zwolle is the 2nd rail hub of the Netherlands and quickly accessible. By train from Amsterdam you can get there in an hour and by car the city is usually traffic jam-free to drive to. The city offers a long list of unique venues, a welcoming atmosphere and a historic city center. For the location of your conference, we already have a few recommendations in Zwolle: Lumen Hotel & Events, Zwolse Theaters, De Nieuwe Buitensociëteit, Bilderberg Grand Hotel Wientjes, Landstede Sportcentrum, Hotel Mercure and Academiehuis Grote Kerk. Rather be outside Zwolle, but still in the area? Then check out Bij Lampe in Raalte or Mooirivier in Dalfsen.
You should also look at the form of the conference. Depending on the objectives and target audience, the congress can take place live, online or in a hybrid form. A live congress is ideal for a complete experience in a beautiful location, an online congress makes participation accessible and a hybrid congress combines the best of both worlds, allowing it to attract both online and offline participants.
Step 3: Budget and sponsors
A good budget is the backbone of any congress. Determine what you can spend and what you can save on. And think about sponsors! These can be both financial and material contributions. Material contributions can be goodie bags or technical equipment, for example. Or perhaps there is a local photographer or videographer willing to offer his or her services in exchange for exposure. Consider approaching local businesses in Zwolle for sponsorship; it's a great way to get the local community involved! Be creative and see what fits your theme and target audience.
Step 4: Speakers and program
Now it really gets fun! Who will be speaking? Go for a mix of well-known names and hidden gems. Zwolle has a vibrant community of experts and professionals in various fields, so don't forget to consider local talent. Provide interaction and variety in the program. Workshops, discussion panels, get your audience involved! And don't forget, breaks are ideal for a moment of networking and relaxation.
Step 5: Catering and transportation
Organizing a conference is not just about what happens on stage. It's also about the experience! When the location and program are fixed, it is time to arrange practical matters. There are numerous high-quality catering companies available in Zwolle. Stern Partyservice is ready to fulfill all your culinary wishes. From coffee breaks to elaborate dinners. And for transportation? Touringcar company IJsseltours BV will take your guests from A to B.
Step 6: Marketing and ticket sales
Time to let the world know your conference is coming. Make use of social media channels, email marketing and offline promotion. Another tip: make sure ticket sales are smooth and attractive. For example, use different price categories, for early birds, students and professionals.
Step 7: Technology and decoration
The details make all the difference! Provide good technology for presentations and sound. And the decoration? That should be completely in line with your theme and goals. Create an atmosphere where people feel comfortable and can network easily. Do you need extra materials, such as stage elements, technical equipment or decoration? Korbeld Verhuur comes to the rescue!
Step 8: Enjoy and evaluate!
The big moment is here! Enjoy all the efforts and interactions. And afterwards? Evaluation is key. Ask for feedback, see what could be better and celebrate your successes!
Organizing a conference? Enlist the help of experts!
It's no secret that organizing a conference involves a lot. We live in a time where experience, inspiration and interaction are key. Simply sending information is no longer enough.