Firstly, you are going to want to start with a goal. Don't go into conference planning blind. Make sure you have clear outlines of what you want to accomplish, what would be considered a win, who is the target audience and what is you budget?
1) Decide a theme: Make sure the theme is a clear cut tagline as a theme that will be easy for both your team and attendees to envision. The theme is likely going to be something key you wish to highlight to your audience.
2) Design a delegate journey: A long conference will be built by a collection of touch points that make the event true to its name. Touch Points includes everything from point of contacts, to transport, to food, to audio-visual. Ensure these touch points continue to cover your theme and your goal.
3) Set roles within your team: Between you and your team, the following sectors should be covered: physical planning, marketing, administration and facilitators. If all of these roles are covered, then you shouldn't run into any surprises on the day.
4) Book the venue: When researching the appropriate venue, you should consider: size and seating, location, audio-visual capabilities and amenities. Remember! These need to be in line with you goal and you should keep that in mind when looking. For example: if you would like a very basic AV set up , with just projection and mic's, then a venue with a full AV team to assist may not be the best fit. Decisions like this will begin to eat up your budget.
5) Arrange people and service: We advise, creating a checklist of people you will need to make the conference successful. Try to think outside of he box, do you car park attendance or doormen? The obvious would be: speakers, caterers, venue set up etc.Book them in advance to secure them sooner and keep them in the loop with any changes you come up with.
Having your services lined up will help when it comes to making an agenda. Especially regarding speakers and if they are only able to stay until a specific time.
6) Prepare the venue: Normally, the venue will have a team that will do the majority of the set up, regarding equipment. Utilize that this is often a feature that is already included in the booking. Make sure to book the appropriate time for set up and don't assume that you can. Often, venues will book back to back, with a set up team in between. However, this may stop you from having access to the building. Make the staff aware, in advance, of any staging requirements etc or anything you will be doing yourself. Having teams responsible for setting up is helpful. As long as they are all fully briefed, then everything should go smoothly.