By Lachlan Nicolson |
Organising a conference for the first time can be stressful. There are so many elements that could make or break a good event... But don’t stress, the staff here at TCT (The Conference Team) are here to help you with your next event.
Here are ten tips to get you storted on making your next conference a successful one.
1. Plan early
If you’re running a big show, you’re going to need a big room. In our experience, conference venues can be booked up quickly. We recommend for large events to plan 12-14 months in advanced if possible. That ensures you get the right venue locked in for the right time. Be one step ahead so you’re not disappointed!
2. Get vision
Put your conference vision down on paper. What are you trying to achieve? What are the keywords, general content themes and ‘take-aways’ you want people to encounter or experience during this event? Keep it simple and keep it focused. If your purpose for your conference isn’t clear, you will struggle trying to gather people. People come to conferences to unite around commonality of what they are passionate about and committed to. If you can clearly articulate the vision and focus of your event, people will parter with that vision and attend.
3. Stay close
Don’t spread your physical locations out too far. Conference attenders love to get a stretch around the lobby but don’t have them crossing streets between multiple venues. Keep everything relatively close so commute is simple.
4. Clarify everything
Have you ever hunted around a conference website trying to find the information pack only to discover it doesn’t answer any of your questions? People don’t just want the time and date, they want dress code, parking location, dietary information and more. Create a good pack of information and email it to your attendees well before the event. Make information easy to access!
5. Make an entrance
First impressions last. When your conference delegates arrive you want to make their first experience delightful. This could mean investing in some signage and branding, or creating a good checkin procedure to allow guests to flow in and not be stuck in lines. Having the right lighting, temperature degree, subtle music, complimentary water and a friendly face at the door makes a big first impression.
6. Bad food is frowned on
The most talked about thing after a conference can sometimes be the quality of food! Offering the right amount of refreshments and a well balanced menu will go a long way to keeping your delegates satisfied. Compliment your guest by offering vegetarian and gluten options in your menu. Meals also make fabulous networking opportunities and create a healthy buzz of chatter around your event as people meet one another.
7. Offer Wifi
Everyone loves and wants free wifi - it’s that simple. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs; now includes wifi.
8. Room service?
Are your guests sorted for a place to stay? A good conference planner will offer a partnered hotel option for guests to book at the nearest hotel with easy access to your event. A comfy bed and room service will mean your guests can get a good rest and be fresh for the next day.
9. Times up!
A great conference will never run dry and never run overtime. People have flights to make, office emails to answer and most importantly; a depleting attention span. If you promise to finish at a specific time, ensure that you keep your promise to the attendees. No one likes sitting in a conference staring at their watch wondering who’s running the show.
10. Keep it fresh
When the day is over, surprise your guests with something special. It could be a free download pack of the slides, or maybe a complimentary drink. Always create opportunities for your delegates to be talking about your event when they leave (positively!). Don’t forget to thank them for attending, and invite them to future events.
Is your next event sorted? Talk to us
Where ideas meet solutions.
The expert team in conference, events and incentives. Click the banner below to learn more.
By Lachlan Nicolson |
7 years ago Steve Hui took his first Business Class tip to New Delhi, and began to witness a whole new world of travel - A world where people knew your name and service levels were high. In that – he was hooked.
Deep in research, Steve discovered that not all points and not all airlines were the same.
Due to different cost structures, different geographical hubs and different strategic reasons for running loyalty programs – different airlines had sweet-spots where they were a lot cheaper to fly on points with than others. We asked Steve to share just his top 3 tips for understanding points...
1. Make sure you collect the points
Points can be accumulated normally in three ways, from flying, from credit cards and from retail partners.
Earn points From flying.
When you earn frequent flyer points on a paid ticket. It is best to link up your flight with your frequent flyer booking in advance of travel as claiming the same points after travel is more cumbersome and requires records of your boarding pass.
• Points don’t combine.
Points from different frequent flyer programs cannot combine. Think of them as independent currencies, you need enough in each currency to be able to redeem them for a flight.
• Airlines have alliances and partners.
There are three major airline alliances globally, Oneworld – which consists of Qantas, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, American Airlines and others. Star Alliance – which consists of Singapore Airlines, Air NZ, United, Lufthansa, Thai and others. Sky Team – which consists of mainly northern hemisphere airlines such as Delta, China Eastern, China Southern, Air France, Korean Air.
When you fly with one airline in an alliance, you can credit your points to someone else in that same alliance.
Where do i put my points?
It is always best to allocate the points to the airline program where you will most likely plan to use those accumulated points for a future redemption, in other words – don’t put points into a frequent flyer program which you are unlikely to accumulate enough points to use – otherwise those points are quarantined and may later be wasted if it is not enough to fly with.
Earn points from credit cards.
Earning points from reward cards is the best way to earn a lot of points, it is also the most predictable ways to plan for a trip. Generally a person’s spending level is consistent every month. This works especially well for small business owners who can pay their business expenses via cards – as they can spend a lot and hence earn a lot of points for a flight very quickly. This is one of the rewards beginning to gather in popularity as people begin to realise the ease of benefits.
Be alert, and check your card benefits regularly, as bank can change their rewards programs on a regular basis, some of the things which most banks have changed in the past year has been the introduction of points’ caps.
Some examples Steve cites are the the Woolworth Qantas credit card and the HSBC Qantas Platinum cards – which introduced a $2,500 per month cap on earning $1=1 Qantas point, and reverts to 0.5 points per $1 afterwards. In most cases, the notification of changes to cardholders is understated via a small comment in the statement.
My favourite side is the left side window, it's just my preference (I think because it's the best view for landing into Sydney looking over Sydney harbour). But here in this pic, is my left side view I sit in #britishairways #b777 #firstclass, the plane rolls onto the main runway for takeoff London to Tokyo. I love looking out the window in this point in time - the anticipation of your flight ahead as you depart the country when wheels lift-off. WHICH SIDE IS YOUR FAVOURITE?
Earn points from retail partners, promotions and other enticements.
Retailers such as Woolworths offer Qantas points when you shop with them, to encourage you to choose them over Coles. BP petrol stations offers Virgin points when you buy fuel from them.
Other retailers may have regular promotions to give bonus points if you shop with them, each airline Virgin (has the e-store) , and Qantas (has the Qantas mall) – where your transaction is tracked and points are awarded to you based on the prevailing offer. You can earn points from online shopping such as eBay, the iconic, David Jones, buying movie tickets, and many many more.
2. Don’t let points expire
After the hard work in earning the points, be sure you don’t let them expire.
Both Qantas and Virgin are pretty good, their points don’t expire as long as there is some activity in the account once every 18 months.
Activity is easy to generate if you live in Australia, and means just 1 point in or out of the account. This can be achieved from flying, or using points, or as simple as shopping at Woolworths or buying petrol at BP to generate the activity or any of the ways mentioned above.
Singapore Airlines have a three-year rolling expiry date, which can be extended once with a payment, and then expires if you don’t use it.
Cathay Pacific also have a three-year rolling expiry date, but unfortunately, no extension possible.
Use it or lose it.
3. How to find a points seat
Finding award seats is totally random, while airlines have an algorithm to seek to improve their revenue, they are also subject to a constantly changing system which involves their customers changing their flight plans. Airlines of course want to sell as many seats as possible for full price, they have data as to how many seats are free on their flights and can constantly adjust.
• Most airlines open bookings approx. 11mths in advance, Qantas opens bookings 353 days in advance, Virgin opens 330 days and Singapore 350 days in advance.
• The earlier you begin the search the better as it provides more time to search, but every day the position could change, so if no seats are available today, search again tomorrow and you may get a different result.
Steve Hui is known as ‘The points whisperer’, he has a real passion for digging out the value of reward points and frequent flyer points, and using them to fly in the best way possible.
Click here to learn more about Steve and iFlyFlat
By Lachlan Nicolson |
Booking travel is easy, right? So why invest in someone to help?
Because it’s the smart choice.
While booking your own personal vacation could seem simple enough, organising an entire companies travel spend and itineraries is not. Business Travel is complex, time consuming and without the right skills, partnerships and systems you can loose track of staff, money and grow grey hairs very quickly. Partnering with a Travel Management Company (TMC) is the smart way to cutting complexity, uncertainty, time and money.
Three reasons you need a travel management company:
How can you control what you can’t measure? If you don’t have mandated procedures and policy in place, you’ll have more expense claims than you can handle, no meaningful management information and no cost control.
A Travel Management company has experts who can provide the advice required to establish policy and procedures to suit your culture and objectives. A TMC has technology to ensure policy is adhered to with consolidated management information; providing you with invaluable data on things such as how many bookings are being booked in policy (or more importantly out of policy!). A TMC will also provide what average rates you are achieving for your top destinations, and opportunities for program improvement.
While many organisations have the desire to monitor and analyse their business travel spend, in reality other pressures and commitments can often take priority. This is where the expertise of a TMC comes in.
We will work with you to help you achieve your goals - whether that be reducing your direct costs by for example, negotiating preferred supplier deals, or indirect by streamlining your internal booking and approval processes.
Whatever your goals may be, your Client Relationship Manager will be on hand to help and provide recommendations to drive cost benefits across your organisation.
Do you know where your travellers are? This may be tricky to answer when the bookings have been made with various suppliers and Internet sites. We hear the travel stories, and it happens! People literally loose staff overseas! Whether it’s the next domestic or international emergency situation, or simply that you urgently need to know where a specific traveller is, this is where a TMC will be of help.
TMC’s have instant access to this information and most have a crisis management team in place to deal with emergencies. WTP’s proprietary travel management platform houses traveler tracking technology that gives the client the ability to track traveller locations and broadcast messages to them via text or emails.
While it is unfortunate that the need for such tools is on the increase, it is comforting to know your TMC can provide such valuable support in the welfare of your travellers.
At World Travel Professionals, we are here to help you take the stress out of travel and get you back to running your business.
Want to talk? We’re ready.
Click Here to learn more about our corporate travel services.