What to Ask When Selecting an Event Planner – Part 6

Do you think that a conference or event planner is a luxury?  Think again!  Did you know that if the event planner is any good they should deliver cost savings that are enough to pay their management fee plus some?  You don’t know what you don’t know until you ask! Or, until someone that cares about the success of your next conference or event tells you!

For the next 7 weeks, we’ll share the Top Seven questions to ask to get more of what you want out of future meetings, events, and conferences:

6. Do they specialize in Conference Management?

There are similarities between event planning for parties and corporate conference planning, however there are also many differences that should be taken into account before selecting your planner.

Both Conference and Social planners must assess the culture the client would like to project. Is it a formal gathering, is it strictly businesslike or is it a casual fun atmosphere? They both must establish an attendee profile to gauge the both the psychographics and demographics of the guests attending so the event can best suit everyone’s wants and needs. Size, scope, location and funding are also important factors both planners need to take into account. There are however, some major differences that need to be taken into account:

  1. Collecting Event History
    Corporate conferences, unlike other events, are usually annual instead of a one-time ordeal. A benefit of using an event planner who specializes in conference management is that they know how to review statistics from the event itself and plan a proper strategy for next year.
  2. Registration Experience
    An event planner who specializes in conference management will know how to properly set-up registration via e-mail, traditional mail, phones or online methods. They will also be able to control the masses at the check-in desk when the event starts. These are things that can often be forgotten, preparing and handing out name badges, checking people in at the start or handing the dreaded late registration for people who want to register at check-in instead of preregistering.
  3. Audio Visual
    A conference manager will know how to properly set-up audio-visual aids that your conference will require. An social event planner can do this as well but probably not to the professional extent a corporate conference will require. Ask about a lectern microphone, lavaliere microphones, front projection and a tripod screen.
  4. Food and Beverage
    Something that seems so simple, but can go oh so wrong. Weddings and parties that are hosted by individuals reflecting their own wants and needs can have whatever kind of food the host wants. Conferences, not so much. It is important to keep in mind that people from all walks of life will be attending your conference. Your conference manager will make sure that food and drinks with no cultural considerations and little dietary restriction will be served at the appropriate times. Keep in mind, all-day conference usually means lots of food. Your conference manager will know how to handle this for you.

Key Qualities of a Great Event Planner

A proper conference manager should be someone with experience in the field, someone who is involved in the field and is constantly learning more and keeping up with new industry practices.  A planner who is a competent forward thinker will make sure your corporate conference is a totally new experience for all attendees. Be sure your conference manager is all four of the key qualities a conference manager needs to have according to the Event Manager blog:

  1. Flexiblity
    Your conference manager must be able to handle to schedule changes and or changes with the planning process. He or she must also be able to successfully deal with any curve balls thrown your way on the day of the event without stressing you or the budget.
  2. A People person
    A conference manager is pretty much the face of your campaign. Your conference will reflect their skills and how well they’re able to interact with you. If your conference manager is not a people person and cannot get along with you or accommodate your needs, your event is not going to reflect exactly what you want.
  3. Organizitaion
    Organization is key when it comes to conference management. If your conference manager is not organized, it will do nothing but stress you out and it will reflect in your event.  If your event is unorganized and thrown together, attendees will notice. Organization ensures that your event will run smoothly and your hair won’t turn grey during the process.
  4. Passion
    If your conference manager is not passionate about their job and your project, it will show. You want a passionate person who is going to take huge strides to make sure that your conference goes off without a hitch and it as perfect as you imagined it. Not only will it make them easier to work with, but it will also ensure that people will want to keep coming back to the fabulous conference you put on for them.

We’ll share the LAST question in the series next week, so stay tuned! Coast to Coast Conferences & Events brings you strategic, cost-efficient, end-to-end event and conference planning, offering the latest in innovative event technologies, detailed logistics management, destination services, and hotel housing solutions. We always get the job done and we always do it right; reach out today if you’d like to know more:


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