By Jessica Ferguson
National Business Development Manager, Arinex
Having worked in the business events industry for nearly two decades, I understand the complexities and challenges that come with planning and organising a conference.
I also understand that after the pandemic, organisations and associations are highly motivated to reunite their members and industry stakeholders. There are, however, several reasons why scheduling a conference for 2024 and beyond might be a smart move.
In most cases, holding a successful conference requires more than one year of planning and preparation.
During the tender response and early planning stages, a Professional Congress Organiser (PCO) needs the time to thoroughly research and develop the growth and revenue acquisition strategies needed to either launch an inaugural event or re-build your conference post-pandemic.
Once the agreed strategies and objectives are in place, the work of selecting venues, securing high-demand speakers, selling sponsorship and exhibition space and executing creative marketing campaigns begin. All of which require significant time investment to ensure beneficial outcomes are achieved for the host organisation.
While the impetus may be there to bring your conference back in 2023, planning on a tight deadline may result in overspend and fewer opportunities to compare venues, catering, accommodation and other services to secure the best price for the conference budget and value to delegates.
There is a growing demand for event venues, accommodation providers and suppliers – especially those that have been able to adapt to new safety protocols and offer flexibility with the now common last-minute flurry of registrations. This is creating a challenging scenario for event planners with a number of venues already blocking out significant periods of 2023 as they near capacity.
In addition, the business events industry relies heavily on skilled workers throughout the entire supply chain to plan and execute events. With the high demand for events in 2023, the skills shortages that emerged in 2022 are showing no signs of abating.
It is vital for organisations and associations to be proactive in their approach when planning a conference and to start the process early. This means scheduling for 2024 and beyond and working closely with your PCO from the early stages to ensure that all necessary preparations are made in a timely manner to mitigate the evolving resourcing issues impact on your conference objectives.
Neither Arinex nor any other PCO want clients to miss out on delivering a high-quality event because they could not secure the right venue, suppliers, sponsors and exhibitors, speakers or accommodation needed to attract maximum attendance.
Recovering from the pandemic and rebuilding a successful event with a robust strategy is possible, and your PCO is the key to making this happen. By working closely together and giving your PCO the time required, you’ll be able to create an event that exceeds your expectations and those of your attendees.