Last week, Ian Thomas and Nathan Shrubb (from our research team) co-hosted (with Acorn T-Stats) our Destination Insight: Tourism Trends event in Westminster. With speakers from VisitEngland, TripAdvisor, Olery, Acorn and the English Premier League, the event sold out well in advance, but that’s not to say organising the conference was a walk in St. James’s Park. This is what Nathan had to say about the experience…
There is a certain amount of trepidation when deciding to host an event. Persuading speakers to give up their valuable time, persuading potential delegates to part with their limited funds, sorting a venue which is just the right location, size and cost, ordering catering for a variety of dietary requirements, attempting to stick to a budget, and then the endless emails. It’s enough to make any organisation question hosting any conference, event or meeting, at all. However, having just organised and co-hosted an event in London, despite us being based in the North East, I feel encouraged to offer some top tips that will hopefully encourage organisations to become hosts and make the process that little bit easier.
1. Find your USP. What will attract potential delegates. Will your event be cheaper than other similar events? Will the event have amazing speakers? Is there a unique theme?
2. Flexibility. It is nigh on impossible to plan for every eventuality, something (lots of things) will go wrong so be prepared to think on your feet and have a number of contingency options in place.
3. Delegation. Delegate jobs to each person in the organising team, ensuring tasks are allocated to suit strengths. Regular team meetings in the build-up to the event are also a good idea. They will allow for collaboration and opportunities for team members to share ideas and concerns.
4. Communication. Regular and direct communication is vital. Phone calls are preferable as the likelihood of miscommunication is reduced. They can also be friendlier and personable (depending on your telephone etiquette). If you have to email then do so as if you were speaking to the person face-to-face. Be polite, be friendly and be helpful. Be prepared to communicate with the venue, caterers, speakers and delegates right up to the ‘thanks for coming, we hope you enjoyed the day’.
5. Review and evaluate. Throughout the whole process each aspect should be reviewed and evaluated to ensure you’re not just going through the motions and simply ticking boxes. More importantly send the delegates a feedback survey so that you’re in a position to improve your next event.