It may feel like you’re herding cats sometimes, but managing a company trip or organizing a client conference doesn’t need to be as difficult, or stressful. In fact, it can be pretty fun and rewarding. From big conference and expo to small company trip to attend an event, the planning and management doesn’t change all that much. The grandiose nature does.
If you’re planning a company trip or organizing a client conference for the first time, we compiled a quick roadmap. Even if you’ve had a few small events under your belt, you may find some value. So without further ado, let’s dive in.
First and foremost, know the basics
Have you ever asked a team member when X conference is, because they’re planning it, but they can’t give you a date? This happens often, and it doesn’t build a lot of confidence about the event. This makes it very important to know the basics first when managing.
Important basics to know include:
- Days and times of the event
- Corporate travel agent
- Hotels the team will be staying at
- Contact information of conference rep
- Other attendees
- Team that is going from your company
These key aspects of a company trip or client conference are essential to planning, management, and the success of the event.
Put your team together
The team is usually made up of the people that are attending the trip or conference. For instance, if you’re attending a client conference, you may have your marketing team and business development team as part of the team. Of course C-level will also be on the team, but they might not be as hands on as the others.
You can sometimes have people outside your team as well. For instance, if you’re planning to have handouts available to explain your business, you will need the designers on your team. You will also have vendors as part of your team too, getting things printed, shipped, or set up.
Understand and document your company’s positioning, or purpose for attending
This is a very important part of managing a company trip or client conference. If you and your team do not know the why and what, things could quickly go sideways and a lot of company funds are wasted. So what is positioning?
Positioning is the why and what, or reason you’re at an event or company trip. For instance, if you’re attending a conference, your “why” is to make connections and create new business opportunities. Your “what” is the technology, product, service, or whatever that can make the why happen.
Once positioning and purpose are made clear to the whole team, everyone goes to the conference or trip with a very clear agenda and strategy for success. It’s so simple, so many companies forget to do this. Don’t be one of them.
Develop a conference event or company trip brief
A brief is pretty much what the name entails, a “brief” or quick summary of the conference event or company trip for the team to have for quick reference. A brief can also be used by upper management to make decisions about the event or trip. Here’s what your brief can have:
- Location, dates, and times
- Booth number if exhibiting
- Promotion items
- Team (who’s going)
- Dress code or uniform
- Speaking opportunities
- Map of area and key places highlighted
This is typically all on a standard brief, and it can be a simple document or PDF with each area highlighted with explanation and images below. It’s important to note that the brief is ever-changing, so be ready to update it at least five to 10 times before the event or trip.
Get the paperwork in order as early as possible
This is important, mainly because it can save you from stress and going crazy as the client conference or company trip gets closer. There is normally a lot of paperwork involved, so get the documents in order as fast as possible.
This could be signing a contract, making a down payment, and organizing logistics from an exhibitor booth vendor. It could also be as simple as registering everyone from your team and sending in payments for event badges to be ordered and ready for when you show up. It all just depends. Start early and be prepared.
Company trips and client conferences are very exciting, and could be a lot of fun. If you’re in charge of managing an event, it may seem a bit stressful at first, but there are tips and tricks you can employ to ease pre-event anxiety. Know the basics and develop a brief can be the best places to begin.
Do you have any useful event management advice? We want to hear from you.