Event planning – how hard can it be?

Peta Moore 15.3.17Has planning your next staff or client conference just been added to your never-ending ‘to-do’ list? You have great organisational and people management skills, perhaps even a little creative flair, so what could go wrong?

More and more these days EAs and PAs are given planning responsibilities for the most important events their organisations hold each year. Having a simple checklist is imperative to ensuring the event runs smoothly and should minimise the chances of things going off the rails.

Following is my list of the top five most important things to remember when planning your next event.

Define the objectives of your event
Involve all stakeholders and make sure everyone is clear on what the purpose of the event is from a business outcomes and/or behavioural change perspective. This will enable you to measure the success of the event and will ensure you have a compelling reason for people to attend.

Know your audience
Whether your event is internal or external, you should profile your delegates to understand why they would attend and what they want to get out of attending. Defining your target audience is the key to increasing attendance numbers and ensuring you develop an engaging program.

Consider all the logistics
This is a big one I know! There are many layers of checklists within this one point, but essentially make sure you have a plan and set deadlines around venue, catering, parking, accommodation, entertainment, speakers and audio visual/staging etc.

Let people know about your event
Don’t leave it to the last minute to invite your guests – give them time to plan to attend. If it is an external event, consider and plan multiple communications via different channels. An email invitation can easily get lost these days, so consider printed mail, social media or even phone calls.

Set a budget – and stick to it!
Draft a budget, including allowances for each element of the event, when you start planning. This will assist in making decisions quickly, and ensure you avoid any nasty surprises along the way.

This list is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to planning successful events. Keeping up to date with the latest event trends across technology, venues, marketing, content and audience engagement can be difficult in such a dynamic industry. As program director of the 2018 PCOA conference, it is my objective to bring together all of this information and share it with our delegates over two and a half days from December 9 to 11.

The program, not just for professional conference organisers, is developed for anyone who is involved in event planning. The best way to develop the ultimate ‘event planner to-do list’ for your next event would be to spend time sharing and learning from others, so pop the dates in your diary and keep your eye out for more details at pco.asn.au/conference

Join us for the 11th Annual PCOA Conference and Exhibition, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, 9 – 11 December 2018

Peta Moore – Program Director
PCOA18 conference


Following the success of the NSW Regional Conferencing Development Grants Pilot Program, the NSW Government has committed a further $300,000 to attract and create more business events across the State.

Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall said since the launch of the Pilot Program in August 2017 there has been an overwhelming response from the industry.

“Since launching, we have provided more than $350,000 to business events across the State, to assist with venue hire, event marketing and developing pre and post touring opportunities to encourage longer stays in NSW,” Mr Marshall said.

“It’s anticipated that the 4,600 delegates who are expected to attend the 12 events already funded by the Program, will inject around $2 million into rural and regional communities across NSW.

“We are committed to putting money where it is most needed, and the extra $300,000 will have significant flow-on effects to our local accommodation providers, restaurants and cafes, shops and attractions.

“The Liberals & Nationals have not only delivered on this key 2015 election commitment, we’ve shown our commitment to support this industry even further to ensure our rural and regional communities thrive.”

President of the Isolated Children’s Parents Association (ICPA) Bruce Paynter, whose conference received $40,000, said the NSW Regional Conferencing Development Grants Pilot Program is a fantastic initiative.

“The grant we received for the 46th Annual ICPA Conference meant that we could deliver a standout event which allowed us to fund initiatives which we hadn’t been able to do before. The help we received resulted in more delegates attending and staying longer in Mudgee and exploring the region’s food and wine and fabulous local experiences,” Mr Paynter said.

“Regional NSW has so many great locations and venues to host events, so I’d encourage new or existing business events to work with the NSW Government to identify ways they can grow and promote their conference or business event in this State.”

For more information click here


Virgin_Crew_1936v5On 3 April 2018, Virgin Australia today announced its Sydney-Hong Kong flights are now on sale, with the inaugural flight scheduled to depart as VA83 at 10am on 2 July 2018.

The airline will operate daily services between the two destinations, operated by its dual aisle Airbus A330-200 aircraft, featuring the award-winning Business Class product, ‘The Business’, which has been named the world’s best for two consecutive years.

To celebrate, Virgin Australia launched the #chopstickchallenge, encouraging people to conduct ordinary tasks using chopsticks. Virgin Australia is offering the most creative #chopstickchallenge post the chance to win return Business Class flights to Hong Kong, plus two nights’ accommodation and a dim sum masterclass at the iconic Peninsula Hotel.

Virgin Australia Airlines Group Executive Rob Sharp said: “We are thrilled our daily Sydney-Hong Kong flights are now on sale, offering a competitive price and our award-winning Business Class and cabin crew.

“Since Virgin Australia began flying to Hong Kong last year, airfares from Australia have dropped by up to 40 per cent, signalling the strong competition we have brought to this route.

“Hong Kong is a vibrant and exciting destination but is also a gateway into Asia and Europe. We look forward to offering onward connections with our partners Hong Kong Airlines and Virgin Atlantic.

“Greater China is a key pillar of our strategy and the addition of Sydney services to our already popular Melbourne flights to Hong Kong strengthens our proposition immensely,” Mr Sharp said.

Virgin Australia has also announced an interline partnership with HK Express, allowing passengers to travel from Melbourne or Sydney to Hong Kong and connect through to destinations throughout Asia. These services will go on sale later this month.

Return Sydney-Hong Kong flights are available from $549 in Economy and $2679 in Business Class at www.virginaustralia.com.

Terms and Conditions apply, visit www.virginaustralia.com/chopstickchallengeterms

Virgin Australia is a PCO Association business partner