Organizing a Global Conference Tour: What You Need to Know

Any event, large or small, requires a lot of planning and organization.  Putting together a global conference tour naturally multiplies the amount of work to be done.  Even if you and your global meeting planner get preparations underway early and you have superior organizational skills, there are still a lot of elements to juggle and many things that could go wrong.  Drop one ball and they might all come crashing down.

To say that organizing this massive affair is challenging would be an understatement.  The good news is that you’re not reinventing the wheel.  Many other events host before you have faced similar challenges and you can learn from their mistakes and successes.  What steps can you take to eliminate snafus and ensure the best possible outcomes from your global conference tour?  Here are a few suggestions to set you on the right path.

Get a Jump on Promotion

The sooner you start promoting your event, the sooner you can garner interest, followers, sharing, and of course, registration for your event.  This can deliver early revenue, boost your overall numbers, and help to make for a much more successful event in the long run.

Even if you and your corporate meeting planner don’t have all relevant information early on, you can start with basics like dates, venue, and a few key speakers or topics, for example, just to generate interest and get people to sign on for updates.  From there you can keep followers informed, dole out new information to keep people hooked, and hopefully meter sign up to avoid a huge rush at the last minute.

Ask Your Global Meeting Planner for Help Finding Partners and Sponsors

Any time you’re planning an event, you’re going to need help.  No man is an island, and frankly, there’s just no sane reason to go it alone.  When you’re operating on the scope and scale of a global conference tour, with multiple cities and events catering to an international audience, the task of management gets exponentially more complex and expensive.

This is why it’s so important to nail down trusted partners and sponsors early on, to help you manage logistics, spread out costs, and engage with a large enough audience to support your event (by tapping into partner contacts and communities).  Your corporate meeting planner should be able to help you find and connect with similar businesses and partners in global locations to get collaborative efforts underway.

Select a Qualified Staff and Delegate Responsibilities

You certainly want professionals capable of managing logistics, so a strong background in the organization is essential, but you also need people who are skilled at customer service to interact with event staff, vendors, and attendees throughout the planning and execution phases.  You simply cannot manage every aspect of a global conference tour on your own.  You need qualified assistants so you can delegate responsibilities.

The importance of finding the right people to work under you cannot be overstated.  You and your global meeting planner need to select experienced professionals with the right disposition to remain calm under pressure and provide helpful, kind and attentive service.  This will not only significantly reduce your own burden and stress but also ensure a positive and fruitful experience for event attendees.

Create a Plan and Stay Connected

On the one hand, you don’t necessarily want to micromanage the many vendors you’re working with.  These professionals know their jobs and once you provide them with the layout of your event, they should be able to manage their part so you’re freed up to attend to other details.

That said, communication is a key component of ensuring everyone is on the same page and your event goes off without a hitch.  You need to schedule a time to connect with vendors throughout the planning and execution of your event to keep tabs on progress, iron out wrinkles, and stay on track for success.

Keeping the lines of communication open with event staff, speakers, and attendees is also imperative, so make sure you and your corporate meeting planner set up adequate and intuitive channels for communication and properly manage outreach efforts like sharing of information. 

Let Attendees Participate

Engagement is essential to providing a positive and memorable experience for event attendees, and the best way to boost engagement is by encouraging participation.  Says Todd Bludworth, President & Principal at AMI, “You can hire a dozen qualified industry luminaries to talk at event attendees for two days and deliver a ton of interesting and valuable information.  Unfortunately, this tactic is also likely to put half the class to sleep.  You need to engage your audience if you want to host a successful event.”

Encouraging participation could be as simple as adding workshops to the event agenda, where attendees have the opportunity to work in small groups or even receive the one-on-one attention that challenges the mind and creates a more immersive learning experience.  You and your global meeting planner could also add gamification and experiential elements that provide a fun and competitive atmosphere.  Both strategies can facilitate participation and help to make your event more memorable and successful overall.

Feed your audience

You naturally want to focus more on the speakers than the dinner menu, but you definitely need to provide food options, and you want to make sure they’re just as impressive as the people at the podium.  Nothing will sour an otherwise positive event experience faster than insufficient or inadequate sustenance.

Don’t Forget to Collaborate with Your Corporate Meeting Planner on Plan B Planning for the best but expecting the worst is a wise attitude when it comes to navigating the tricky waters of organizing a global conference tour.  All those moving parts make for a labyrinth of potential blunders and mishaps.  You need to be prepared to pick up the pieces and hit the ground running without missing a beat, so try to envision potential setbacks and create a plan for how to handle them with minimal impact and downtime.

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