Whether it is for business, educational or nonprofit purposes, conferences are critical vehicles to drive modern communication. They can be used for product launches, employee training, yearly company meetings or even as a platform to promote and generate leads. Regardless of the purpose, these events require the coordination and management of various conference services.
Conference services often include catering and lodging for attendees. This may also include planning any recreational activities that the group might want to participate in. In addition, the services usually include setting up rooms and coordinating any additional services needed by the attendees, such as AV equipment and presentation software. In the case of a virtual conference, these services may be delivered through a dedicated web portal and mobile app.
A coordinator is typically appointed to oversee the entire event. This person carries out the decisions made by the organizing committee and serves as the first point of contact with all other participants, presenters, and site providers. This person can be a member of the organizing committee or can be someone else that has the experience and energy to do the job.
The main task of a coordinator is to make sure the event runs smoothly. This includes making arrangements for presenters to give their presentations, ensuring that all necessary AV and other equipment is available, and that all other conference services are provided to the attendees.
This might mean placing coffee, exhibitors, and other amenities in places that do not interfere with traffic flow, are visible, and are accessible to all. It can also include ensuring that all registration and information tables are located in areas that do not block access, are well-marked, and are easy to find. It can also include assigning staff members to help answer questions, direct people to sessions, or provide any other service that is needed.
It might also involve providing professional development or continuing education credits for specific workshops or all workshops attended. This is common in professions that require continuing education to maintain a license to practice. In addition, it can be a great way to make connections with peers that can help you solve problems you face in your daily operations.
It might also include assigning keynote speakers and other honored guests a host or liaison, who will make sure they have what they need, are in the right place at the right time, have an opportunity to interact with attendees, and generally have a good experience. This is particularly important for high-profile people that might have a large impact on the conference, and may not have as much time as other attendees. It could also include arranging for any other special needs or considerations of any invited people that are not regular attendees.