Online Conference Planning

Written by Serena Berger
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The Internet can dramatically simplify the conference planning process. Not only can you allow guests to register and pay instantaneously, but you can also save your company the cost in time and money of mailing registration forms to anyone who might decide to attend the conference. Additionally, participants can quickly access the itinerary of the conference once it is posted on the website, saving you from fielding dozens of phone calls each day asking about it.

Providing Information for Guests Online

Another advantage of planning your conference online is that you can provide participants with several relevant links. These could include links that directly take them to the website of a hotel with which you have arranged for special rates. You can also provide them with travel information, such as directions for reaching hotels and the conference venue from major airports and transportation hubs.

Depending on where you are holding your conference, you may be able to complete many of the tasks associated with it online. Some hotels or universities that offer rooms to be used for conference space allow you to reserve particular rooms through their website. You may be able to reserve rooms, specify equipment that will be needed, and arrange for catering all through the conference venue's website. This can be very useful, as you may be in a different time zone than the conference location, so contacting the conference center during business hours can be difficult.

While you can plan most, if not all, of your conference online, you should try and speak with one of the coordinators where you are reserving space at least once. If you speak with them early on in the planning process, you minimize the possibility that your reservation may be lost or never printed. Though planning online dramatically simplifies the conference planning process, it adds the risk that you may not have a person with whom to speak should problems arise. It is safest to combine both offline and online methods in planning your conference.

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