Conference Checklist

Preliminary planning - 24-18 Months to Conference

Preliminary Planning

  • Consider dates, duration, size of meeting and composition of participants
  • Consider conflicting events, festivals & sporting events
  • Confirm required number of session halls and exhibition space
  • Contact previous organisers/conference organising committee and establish what information/stats can be passed on
  • Appoint a Professional Conference Organiser (if appropriate)
  • Consider and select appropriate venue and range of accommodation
  • Confirm official languages of conference and need for translators
  • Confirm organising committee – promotions, treasurer, social and sponsorship and exhibition officers
  • Appoint subcommittees
  • Select social events and venues
  • Consider programme structure and theme


  • Identify financial responsibility
  • Prepare conference budget
  • Set up bank accounts (if applicable)
  • Set registration fees – early bird and late registration
  • Establish reporting methods
  • Prepare cash flow chart
  • Consider tax implications and VAT reclaim possibilities
  • Set up reporting timelines for frequent budget review
  • Contact the Business Tourism Unit to discuss the Conference Ambassador programme

18-12 Months to Conference

Sponsors & Exhibitors

  • Confirm build-up and breakdown times
  • Confirm size of exhibitions hall, stand allocations and opening times
  • Prepare a list of potential sponsors & exhibitors
  • Prepare sponsor benefit package
  • Prioritise sponsor invitations
  • Confirm sponsorships


  • Select accommodation venues
  • Negotiate room rates
  • Make block bookings
  • Sign contracts
  • Pay deposits (if applicable)

Speaking Programme

  • Invite international, plenary and keynote speakers
  • Confirm conference themes
  • Select call for papers topics
  • Design and distribute call for papers (if applicable)


  • Confirm booking procedures
  • Select ground transport company
  • Provide schedule and numbers


  • Prepare marketing plan and budget - consider print and online promotions to promote conference
  • Consider promoting conference at other complementary conferences
  • Design conference logo
  • Design website

12-6 months to Conference

Speaking Programme

  • Receipt of all abstracts to the call for papers
  • Confirm all call for papers and other speakers
  • Book speaker accommodation


  • Prepare database of potential delegates
  • E-marketing using database
  • Select appropriate publications for advertising
  • Further website development where appropriate
  • Design/print letterhead
  • Organise press and arrange press releases
  • Design/print preliminary brochure (where appropriate)
  • Design, print and distribute registration brochure (where appropriate)

Staging and Production 

  • Select audiovisual company (if required)
  • Agree on stage set and production
  • Select and book entertainers
  • Ensure all contracts are in writing

Social Programme

  • Approximate numbers based on past conferences
  • Confirm theme and entertainment
  • Organise all relevant transport associated with social programme
  • Prepare accompanying persons programme

Conference Accessories

  • Select and order conference bags and name badges
  • Select and order other merchandise
  • Confirm sponsor donated goods

6-3 Months to Conference

Marketing/Promotion – depending on the size of the conference this may need to be done earlier

  • E-marketing using database
  • Design/print preliminary brochure
  • Design, print and distribute registration brochure
  • Arrange press releases
  • Design/print conference program
  • Print menus/tickets (if appropriate)
  • Organise tourist information for delegate bags
  • Confirm booking with delegates and provide general information required


  • Confirm plenary and keynote speakers
  • Invite and confirm other speakers
  • Arrange speaker travel
  • Confirm audiovisual requirements
  • Confirm final arrangements
  • Order speaker gifts

3 Months – Conference

  • Confirm all other requirements with venue
  • Confirm final numbers
  • Confirm menus with caterers
  • Distribute speakers’ packs
  • Arrange pre-conference storage and delivery
  • Confirm sponsor signage
  • Prepare and confirm conference run sheet
  • Prepare and confirm social programme run sheet

Post Conference Administration

Send letters of thanks to speakers, sponsors, suppliers, venues, etc.

Send invoices for outstanding accounts

Submit requirements for any support received – e.g. Conference Ambassador Programme

Prepare final financial report





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