The company is going on a conference trip and you have been assigned the task of arranging it all. With a pinch of panic, you remember last time you did something similar – the thousands of questions about where you were going and when you were leaving, the lost plane tickets and the participants who went to the wrong hotel. Your poor colleague who felt like a burnt out daycare lady because of all the usually well-behaved colleagues who suddenly turned into five-year-olds.
A conference trip is both a fun and valuable opportunity for colleagues to come together, discuss important topics, develop new connections and get to know each other. For you as an organizer, however, it is a challenge that requires a lot of time, commitment and careful planning – without proper organization, the result will suffer. Here we list some of the most common pitfalls you can encounter when organizing conference trips, and what you can do to avoid them.
Your colleagues are curious about what you’re planning and they’re bombarding you with questions. Where are we going? What are we going to do? When is dinner? Where are we going for drinks? It is common to collect all such information in one or more emails that are sent out a little before the conference, but by doing that, people will more likely than not lose or forget the information they’ve been sent. Instead, you can gather all the details of your trip directly in an event app. With the Program feature you make sure that everyone has access to everything they need close at hand. And you can also link individual program items to relevant information and downloadable material.
Another thing that takes a lot of time and energy answering all the participants’ questions about their own personal journey. Can you send my plane ticket again? Who do I share hotel rooms with? Which workshop group do I belong to? Have you remembered that I am a vegetarian? Save time and energy while showing your participants that their needs are important to you, by gathering tailor-made information about each individual participant in their own app – it’s easily done by uploading an excel file in the feature My information.
A common challenge on conference trips is how to keep participants happy and engaged while waiting for something – for example, if the flight is delayed or if you’re spending alot of time on a bus. These are perfect opportunities to play games or prepare for workshops. With Gamification in the conference app, you encourage your participants to open up, carry out tasks and take part of important information to collect points. With the event app’s Activity feed they can share pictures, talk with each other between different buses or train cars and like and comment on each other’s posts – it’s a great way to prepare for the conference and raise the mood.
No matter how long a conference you have planned, it never feels like there is enough time to both discuss important issues, do teambuilding exercises, host problem-solving workshops and have fun. To maximize the benefit and pleasure of your conference trip, you can use the travelling time for a workshop session. Using the Dialogue and Information features in your event app, you can distribute tasks, divide people into workshop groups and let everyone send in their contributions to assignments. Also, keep everyone informed and excited by sending out Push notifications.
No matter how well organized a conference trip is, one must always be prepared for a certain amount of chaos. Participants run around like wild chickens, the restaurant is double-booked and the opening speech drags on. With dozens or hundreds of people scattered across a large area, it can be difficult to inform everyone about important changes – in that case Push notifications are unbeatable. With a few simple clicks, everyone’s phones light up with the latest info and you can be sure that all participants keep track of what’s happening at short notice. You can also use push notifications as an icebreaker – maybe invite everyone a spontaneous round of “mingle bingo” while you wait for the conference room to be cleaned?
Do you know what everyone thought of your last conference trip? Are the participants happy? Did you discuss the right things and at a level that suited everyone? Did you achieve your goals? Everyone has high expectations of their conference trips, but it’s not as common to actually measure the result. With the help of surveys and evaluations, you can both keep track of the level of knowledge before the meeting (so that you can adapt the discussion topics to what everyone thinks is most important), check on the situation during the presentation (so that you don’t miss something important) and see what the participants liked after the conference (so that you can improve the concept for next time). With an event app, it becomes easy for you as an organizer to create surveys and analyze the results, and for the participants it’s really easy to answer questions and contribute with their thoughts.
Those were the pitfalls – but what about the success factors?
Aren’t there a lot of cool things you can do to create a really great conference trip? Of course there are! Our clients have been through most of what can happen during conference trips and they have some great insight that we’d love to share with you!