How to plan a conference

Planning a conference
When you’re first asked to plan a conference, it may seem like an overwhelming task – they’re not small events and there’s a lot of pressure to make sure that they go off without a hitch, especially since they’re a reflection on your business or company as a whole. We’ve put together a list of the key steps you need to follow to make sure your conference has everything it needs to be a success.

These steps aren’t strictly chronological, so it doesn’t matter if you book the venue before you get your speakers or vice versa. Also, we are making these suggestions under the assumption that you already have a planning team created for the event. If you haven’t organised a team to take responsibility for different aspects of the conference, you’ll need to do that before you start any of the steps below.

Step 1: Choose your theme

The first question you need to ask yourself when planning a conference is: how am I going to theme this event? Choosing a theme can be a great way to get the ball rolling, since it sets some parameters for your event and can make your conference space stand out from the crowd.

Different themes work better for different events; a cabaret theme could be great for a corporate Christmas party but may not work so well for a day conference with industry specialists. Choose a theme that fits with your brand values and your audience; getting the theme right means that attendees will not only remember the event in conjunction with your brand, but it could also inspire them to share their experience on social media.

For inspiration, check out our blog which shows you five great themes for corporate events.

Step 2: Decide on your budget

Before you can make any decisions regarding venues or speakers, you’ll need to decide on your budget. If you’re financing the conference without sponsors or grants, you’ll need to know exactly what budget your company has available.

You will need to split your budget on some or all of the following:

  • The venue
  • Any accommodation needed for speakers or organisers
  • Transportation for attendees, if necessary
  • Catering
  • Fees for speakers
  • Any activities you’d like to run
  • The marketing for your event

Step 3: Save the date

Plan well in advance, so the date you choose for your conference is at least six months or even a year in advance. You’ll want to choose the date quite early on in your planning process because you will need at least a benchmark date to choose your venue and organise the other services.

Make sure you don’t pick a date that coincides with another event in the area, such as a festival or national celebration. This can make it harder to book both venues and travel and can force your event to compete for attention. Also, it’s better to avoid the summer and winter holiday periods because people can miss your event if they’re on holiday.

Pick a date during the week, maybe even closer to the end of the week, since it gives attendees the ability to travel and then stay in the area instead of having to dash back to where they came from.

Step 4: Book your venue

Create a list of your requirements before you start looking for a venue. These requirements can include anything from catering services to technological support and everything in between. You’ll need to consider the size venue you need, based on the number of attendees you’re expecting, where you want the venue to be located, what kind of atmosphere you’d like, the facilities available, such as accommodation and catering, and venue transport links.

If you’re looking for a venue in the heart of London, connected to fantastic transport links and invested in history and tradition, look no further than The Brewery. With a designated specialist event design team, catering services with expert chefs, and fantastic facilities and technical options, you’ll find no better large conference venues in London.

Step 5: Line up your speakers

The speakers for your event are ostensibly one of the most important aspects, since it’s these people that your attendees will be coming to see. You will need to secure speakers who are experts in your industry and it may be prudent to find one big-name speaker who is well respected, since that will encourage other speakers to get involved.

You’ll need to consider compensation for the speakers and find out whether they need any specialist equipment or requirements.

Once you’ve organised your speakers, you can then put together your agenda and get it sent out to your potential attendees to get them signing up!


Contact us today to start organising your conference with The Brewery. With our six venue spaces, wide range of services, and vast experience in planning corporate events, you’ll be in the best possible hands to make your event a success.