Pre-Planning for Maximum Conference Success – By Travis Glenn

by Colleen on May 12, 2014

tl;dr – Plan out your travel, lodging, reason for going, and events, parties, and local attractions before attending a conference.

If you are a successful affiliate, or work for a company in the performance marketing industry, chances are you attend a few conferences each year. feedfront-issue-26-cover-small

I have personally established some great business relationships from attending Affiliate Summit and other conferences. One thing that I’ve found over six years and dozens of conferences is that planning ahead goes a long way.

Here is my short list of things to consider long before the conference begins:

• Travel and Lodging
Aside from standard stuff to consider, like making sure you take advantage of any deals on rooms for conference attendees, give some thought to when you will be arriving and departing. I recommend getting in the day before the conference, and scheduling your departure for the day after the conference concludes.

This is ESPECIALLY true if you are going to be exhibiting. There’s nothing worse than having travel delays, or having to stress and hustle because you’re late for the conference. Getting in the day before allows you to scout out the area, and get a good nights rest so that you start out the conference fresh.

Think of obstacles and inconveniences you’ve experienced in the past while traveling, and make accommodations to prevent those. There are a lot of amenities your room might be missing that hotels can provide if you simply ask, such as refrigerators, humidifiers, hygiene items, and more.

• Business Strategy
What is your purpose for attending the conference? Are you looking for clients? Customers? New employees? Technology providers?

As simple as it sounds, know why you are attending and come up with a list of a few main things you want to accomplish. Setup meetings, if possible, or at least know the main people you would like to talk with. Many conferences will list exhibitors and attendees in advance of the conference, so you can do your homework and come up with your hit list weeks before the show.

I’ve heard over and over that 5 solid contacts are better than 1,000 shaky prospects. In most cases, you should be focused on the several most valuable, in-depth meetings you can secure, as opposed to 30-second rounds of handshakes and business card exchanges with everyone you see.

• Events, Parties, and Local Attractions
The events and after parties, that occur in conjunction with the conference, are great places for networking. One thing that is often overlooked is checking into other non-conference related activities in the area.

Check out Ticketmaster or one of the other online event searches ahead of time for the area and dates of the conference. Finding a sporting event, concert, or getting tickets to a local attraction could be a great chance to treat customers, clients, employees, or industry friends to something besides the typical after parties.

I encourage you to make an effort to thoroughly plan ahead for the next conference you’re attending. With a little bit of research and strategy, you could turn a good conference into an unbelievably enjoyable and rewarding experience.

Travis is PeerFly’s Director of Business Development, you can follow him @TravisPeerFly on Twitter.

This article appeared in issue 26 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in April 2014.

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