Gone were the days when you could leave your conference management tasks to your department assistant. Today’s conference attendees are more demanding and require sophisticated, top-notch events. They want a return for their time investment. In fact, some receive dozens of conference invitations each month, and of course, they select the most sophisticated one. So, on top of your priorities is to make your conference as seamless as possible and to meet the expectations of your guests. This could mean quality networking opportunities, educational or entertaining.
Organizing for such an event is not something you can do in-house. You might want to hire a professional conference organizer or a conference management company if you want to hold an outstanding event. So, how do you choose a skilled conference manager? Here are some smart tips to guide you through the process.
Understand What a Conference Manager Is
Before you jump right on to the selection process, it is important to understand what a professional conference management service is. A conference manager is a person or company that specializes in managing conferences. The manager will act as the consultant in the conference organizing committee, and oversee the execution of its decision.
Do you need a conference manager? With the increasing need for more sophisticated conferences, you might need to hire a conference manager every time you’re planning for a conference. This is particularly true if there are areas of conference planning which you cannot provide, especially when it comes to the right technical facilities, resources, knowledge and time. A conference manager will come in handy in this case. Due to their experience and expertise, your conference organizer will provide advice on various perspectives of the conference and steer you in the right direction towards success.
Services Offered by Conference Managers
Conference managers differ on the range of services they provide, but the following are the general areas most of them cover:
- Support in the budding process.
- Venue search, evaluation and price negotiation.
- Delivery of the conference, such as:
- Timeline management
- Supplier contract management
- Logistical management
- Administration tasks – on-site staffing
- Programme handling
- Financial management: book keeping, taxation guidance, bank account reconciliation and budgeting.
- Conference marketing and promotion.
- Accommodation and transportation management.
Most conference organizers will provide most services listed above, but you might find others with a higher degree of expertise in specific areas. If you need help in only one aspect of the conference, make sure that your organizer has expertise and experience in that specific field.
You should have at least three names of conference organizers. The best way to find the best ones around you is through recommendations. The internet can also be a good place to search. When you interview the candidates, be sure to ask the following questions:
- What’s your experience organizing this type of event?
- What is the company’s key business?
- Are you technologically advanced
- Do you subcontract some services?
- Is your staff sufficiently experienced in handling conferences?
Asking these questions will help you spot the right person or company to work with. You can also check online for a conference management company to provide you with their services.