6 Tips for Planning Corporate Conferences on a Tight Timeline

Published on: Tuesday, August 30, 2022 - 7:00am
6 Tips for Planning Corporate Conferences <span>on a Tight Timeline</span>

If you’re involved in corporate conference planning, it probably feels like everything has changed from three years ago.

In some ways, that’s absolutely right. We’re dealing with labor shortfalls, equipment shortages from supply chain issues, and higher costs of goods. Companies have less bandwidth and fewer resources to pull off events on short notice.

The biggest repercussion of these constraints is really just the need for time. Events can still proceed smoothly and successfully, but you must plan ahead to get what you need, when you need it, at the price you want.

But what if you’re past that point already? If you’re planning a corporate conference just a few months out, take a look at the six tips we provide in this post to help you make the most of the time you have.

New Era, Old Problem

Waiting until the last minute to plan is not a new problem. It existed three years ago, and ten years ago, and probably 100 years ago. The difference is the era in which we’re living.

Compressed timelines are more difficult to pull off today than they were in the past because of all the relatively new constraints in the process. Three years ago, we had an abundance of everything. Today, scarcity rules.

For example, the labor shortage hit the AVL industry particularly hard. When live events shut down in 2020, many people left the industry to look for work elsewhere. According to Avixa, 38% of our industry hasn’t come back. And on top of a shrunken workforce, we’re seeing double the live events this year compared to 2019.

There are shortages in people, in companies, and in equipment. The person working your event is likely coming directly off another event. Resources are booked tight, which means less availability and more inflated costs as you get closer to the day.

Tips for Corporate Conference Planning on a Tight Timeline

To pull off the best event possible with what time you have, it’s critical to give your AVL partner enough information to be successful, and to not kill themselves doing the job. Even if they can pull it off, an AVL company worth their salt will not want to work your event again in the future if it sacrifices the well-being of the business, their other clients, or the limited employees they’ve fought to keep.

Infographic: 6 Tips for Planning Corporate Conferences on a Tight Timeline

Since you’re planning a corporate conference on a limited timeline, follow these tips to use what time you have as effectively as possible.

  1. Talk design and budget. If you haven’t already, get in touch with your AVL partner to discuss your budget and design ideas. The earlier this conversation happens, the higher the likelihood that they can offer creative solutions that meet your needs at your price point.
  2. Share your production packet. Send your production packet over to your AVL partner when it’s 50% complete. Companies can’t plan their work on 24-hours notice, and even rough information will be incredibly helpful. At the very least, provide them with start and end times as early as possible. Avoid insisting on certain brand-name gear, as that will limit options and availability, and could dramatically increase price.
  3. Plan travel schedules and call times. Thinking ahead about call times and transportation will help you coordinate appropriate arrangements for your crew. Arrange flights or rides with enough time to arrive unhurried at the event location, taking into account possible airline delays. Consider how best to arrange the transportation schedule so that you have a well-rested crew for your event.
  4. Take care of your crew and communicate your plans. Look for ways to take care of the crew so that they’ll be in top form during the event AND so they’ll want to work with you again in the future. Remember to plan enough time for them to eat, and consider providing food. House them in the same hotel as the event, or very close by. In a constrained labor market, crews have their pick of jobs. We’ve seen some say they’ll no longer work a certain recurring event because of long hours or no meals.
  5. Connect all leads immediately. As soon as your contract is signed, put your AVL partner in touch with all the event leads (venue, client, production, talent). Make sure all the right people are talking as early as possible to get the ball rolling and avoid problems caused by lack of coordination.
  6. Acknowledge that last minute will mean sacrifices. If you’re working with lots of lead time, you’ll probably be able to get everything you want exactly the way you want it. If you have a shorter timeline, though, realize that you may not get your first choice of people or equipment. You’ll be limited by what’s available, and it will be difficult (and more expensive) to insist on some of the details.

Book Way Ahead for Corporate Conference Planning

When you’re planning a corporate conference, if it’s last minute for you, then it’s definitely last minute for a provider. So instead of waiting to book your AVL partner, book them the same way you secure your talent — far in advance. When you’re lining up your speakers for the following year, decide on your AVL partner at the same time. You’ll foster a good working relationship that can continue through future events, and you’ll get the event you wanted without paying a last-minute premium.