Onsite Logistics: Prior To Start of Conference

Event Planning

All your excellent planning now comes to fruition onsite. This is the most satisfying and exciting part of being a conference planner!

Onsite Logistics:  Prior To Start of Conference

Plan to arrive at least one day prior to the conference to handle pre-event coordination and set-up.  Add additional days into your contract for larger events requiring more set up time.  Allow also for potential travel delays.

Upon arrival, walk through the venue and locate or re-familiarize yourself with:

Identify and introduce yourself to venue and vendor staff

Review any outstanding action items with venue staff and vendors to prepare for Pre-Con meeting

Check on any VIP arrangements (room drops, early arrivals, suite upgrades, etc…)

Locate, have delivered and unpack any materials shipped to the venue

Set up the registration area (see Onsite Registration Checklist)

Conduct staff orientation and training, if necessary

Supervise set-up of A/V, Exhibit Hall, meeting room arrangements and décor

Schedule speaker rehearsals (if not already done previously)

Check conference printed and digital signage and reader boards for accuracy of information and proper placement

Conduct pre-con meeting with venue staff and key players

The Pre-Conference (“Pre-Con”) Meeting

The Pre-Con is conducted onsite by the venue staff responsible for the execution of the conference.  The meeting usually takes place a day or two before the event and will review and  confirm all of the event details in-depth.

Prior to the event, the venue will create an Event Resume and Banquet Event Orders (BEOs), which compile all the details of the entire event, including:

Description of the conference, audience and host group

Final agenda

Rooming list, including:

Amenity and room drop deliveries

Food and beverage selections and details and final guarantee

Allergies or dietary requirements of attendees

Audiovisual needs

List of authorized decision makers and approved signers to the master account

Security plans

Transportation plans

Décor plans

Exhibitor set up information

Shipping and receiving plans and loading dock schedules

Registration plans


The Pre-Con will typically be attended by:

Convention Services Manager (venue)

Sales Manager (venue)

Reservations Manager (venue)

Housekeeping Manager (venue)

Front Desk Manager (venue)

Banquets Manager (venue)

Chef (venue)

Audiovisual/IT Representative (venue)

Security (venue)

Conference planner (group)

Other key contacts (group)

Critical outside vendors (e.g. decorator, A/V, production company, etc…)


What to bring to the Pre-Con:

Business cards

Contact information for yourself, your onsite team and your hired vendors during the conference

Last minute questions or concerns

List of final changes

Banquet Event Orders (BEOs) for final review

At the Pre-Con, you can expect:


Overviews of the conference, host organization and agenda

Review of the conference resume and BEOs

Final changes

Mention of you or your clients expectations from the venue staff and any special notes

Awareness of any other events happening in the venue during your conference 


Onsite Logistics:  During Conference

Create a daily timeline listing your team members and their onsite duties

If using volunteers or additional hired staff make sure they are at their designated posts on time

Check in with any outside vendors to be sure they are on schedule for deliveries, transportation, pick-ups, etc.

Place signage each day and ensure hotel reader boards are accurate

Check room set-ups one hour prior to meeting start time to ensure they have been set per your request.  If possible, have rooms set the evening prior to your start day 

Check all audiovisual equipment prior to meeting start time to make sure it is working properly and any operators are in place and have program information 

Plan a rehearsal the day before each General Session and involve any key players necessary (emcee, speakers, award winners, entertainment)

Check room temperatures – adjust if necessary

View the meeting rooms through the eyes of an attendee. Can they see and hear, and are they comfortable?

Make sure all presenters are in their meeting rooms at least 30 minutes prior to start time

Ensure all décor and food and beverage are delivered on time and consist of selected items; it is standard practice for food and beverage to be set out 15 minutes prior to the time listed on you banquet event order, however, the set up for the food should be placed prior to the 15 minute window

Request headcounts from Banquet Manager after each meal function to create a history of actual attendees served

Review and sign banquet checks at the end of each day, noting any added items and consumption costs

Verify that arrangements are in place for the next meal, session, activity, etc.

Conduct staff and client briefings as necessary

Troubleshoot any situations as they arise

Incorporate end of day wrap up meetings with key players to discuss the day and what to expect in the following days

Make a list of service issues, complaints and concerns for later negotiations and post-conference meetings

Review daily lodging no-show and pick-up lists from the venue

Sign off on audiovisual checks each day, noting any additions or changes 


Onsite Logistics:  Following the Conference

Conduct or schedule a post-conference meeting with the venue and client

Collect any materials you wish to save for archives or donate to a local charity

Pack and ship materials 

Check in with venue contact before you depart

Handle any vendor and staff gratuities

Consider giving gratuities to individuals who were particularly helpful during your event.  Be clear on the venue’s policy on gratuities, whether salaried staff can accept gratuities. Understand who the recipients are of any contracted gratuities and service fees.  Keep a list of helpful staff throughout the event, to make this process easier at the end.

Consider giving gratuities to:

Request a cash advance against your master bill for gratuities, be sure to keep a record of the total amount and how it was distributed.  NOTE:  some hotels will not allow this - you can ask about this in advance or during the Pre-Con.

Bring some blank note cards with you in order to write handwritten notes to the recipients, these may also be written in advance. 

You may also consider giving leftover T-shirts, tote bags or other goodies from the conference instead of or in addition to cash

Tips and Tricks

Stay in the know

Interested in learning more?

Give us a shout and we’d love to help!

Contact Us