How to Prepare a Proper Planning Checklist

A conference planning checklist is definitely required. Conference or event planning is a very complex arrangement and since not all conference planning tasks can be kept in mind, an appropriate checklist is necessary.

This conference planning checklist is intended to facilitate the process and include various activities that should be performed to assure the successful conference organization.
The list may be more detailed than you may require, or it may not list items you will require. Modify it, or supplement it with details according to specific needs.

You don't have to do all of this by yourself.
Set up your Conference Organizing Teams


  • Determine conference name and main topics.
  • Determine the location
  • Set the conference time-scopes (dates)
  • Set the daily start and end times
  • Create preliminary budget


  • Contact appropriate hotels, business centers and conference halls for conference space
  • Arrange site inspections to compare properties
  • Take a camera with to photograph any defects / damages that were there before you took the venue
  • Research venue capabilities - square meterage, audio-visual and IT equipment available
  • Research and compare accommodation options/prices
  • Research and compare banquet options/prices
  • Research and compare suppliers of necessary goods
  • Research parking issues and transportation routes
  • Confirm dates, hours and prices.
  • Negotiate contract


  • Apply for industry experts or government ministers for keynote speakers
  • Make a preliminary list of potential speakers
  • Contact potential speakers
  • Research the terms of performances
  • Finalize list of speakers
  • Schedule speakers' deliveries
  • Agree the performance schedule with speakers
  • Send official invitations
  • Negotiate a contract with speakers
  • Make accommodation bookings
  • Assist with travel if required
  • Arrange hospitality and transportation as required


  • Write conference marketing plan.
  • Create the list of potential sponsors
  • Negotiate contracts with sponsors
  • Create conference theme and logo
  • Create promotional plan - Internet campaign, TV/Radio campaign, printed materials
  • Design and print brochures, tickets, advertising materials, invitations
  • Promote event to prospective exhibitors
  • Arrange advertising
  • Make announcements in appropriate journals and newsletters
  • Make announcements via TV/Radio
  • Make announcements on appropriate web sites
  • Make a promotion at appropriate conferences
  • Organize advertising materials distribution
  • Ensure publicity through appropriate societies
  • Design and order t-shirts, freebies, name tags, presents etc
  • Develop an exhibit guide


  • Organize conference teams and committees
  • Organize account department system of payments
  • Organize staffing, volunteers/staff registration
  • Organize system of participants registration
  • Organize accommodation for staff/volunteers
  • Make a preliminary list of participants
  • Plan banquets, entertainments, catering
  • Elaborate schedule of events for each conference day
  • Finalize list of participants
  • Organize accommodation for participants
  • Organize conference premises decoration
  • Organize purchase of necessary things
  • Book banquets, entertainments, catering
  • Send invitations to all participants
  • Book technicians for audio-visual equipment
  • Book technicians for IT equipment
  • Book light and sound engineers
  • Ensure audio-visual equipment is operational

Onsite Management

  • Organise presentation committee
  • Arrange delegate activities
  • Arrange social programs and functions
  • Confer with Banqueting manager - food and beverage needs
  • Arrange for your inspection team to check for any defective equipment being supplied
  • Check Disaster Management compliance, emergency evacuation
  • Check Fire and Para-Medic compliance


  • Ensure updates of registration forms and website online links
  • Establishes delegate payment policy
  • Ensure registration packages will be delivered 2 days before the day
  • Organize exhibitor registration


  • Arrange the quick clearing of the venue
  • Ensure that your teams are not causing any damage that you will be liable for when they say they were not responsible

This last part might appear ludicrous, but it is always the one issue at the end of a conference or event that leaves a bad taste, jeopardizes professional working relationships and will cause you un-necessary expense.

Conference Planning and Preparation Topics

About Planning Early
Before You Start
What Type of Venue - City or Countryside?
Conference Budget Checklist
Conference Planning Checklist
Event Planning Checklist
Conference Organizing Teams
Conference Planning with Siyabona
South Africa Conference Venues
Planning Accommodation and Booking Guide