One of the greatest things to happen to business gatherings in recent years is the advent of the mini-convention or small conference. Not to be confused with a convention for small businesses, this is a convention for businesses or industry professionals on a much smaller scale. Instead of taking over a large hotel on the Las Vegas Strip and filling it with a bunch of salesmen, businessmen or other industry leaders and workers, this type of event happens locally at a New England conference center and is limited to a smaller number of guests.
The number of actual attendees that come to the conference center in Milford, MA will depend on you and what you hope to get out of planning the event. Attendance could be limited to the first 100 industry professionals who sign up for the mini-convention or it could be by invitation only. Asking potential attendees to sign up for the event, either online or by sending back RSVP cards, is a great way to ensure that you properly plan for the gathering and that you have enough space for everyone.
Phase I – Choosing the Venue and Setting the Date
The first part of planning any type of business conference in Massachusetts is to choose the venue that you want to host your event at and then pick a date based upon availability and your own working schedule. It is important to do this far enough in advance that attendees can get time off to come to your mini-convention and so that vendors can arrange to come to and participate in your gathering at the Milford conference hall.
Planning in advance has many advantages. One is that if anything comes up, changes or needs to be changed, you will have enough time to properly adapt. A minimum of six months should be given at the initial planning phase of the event for a first-time mini-convention. If successful, word of your event will get out, so you should start planning for the next year’s event almost immediately following the first one.
Phase II – Gathering Sponsorships
The next phase of the planning process is to get as many paid sponsors as you can to help support the cost of renting the space at the conference center in Milford, MA and paying deposits for different services and suppliers that you will need to use to pull off the event. While not a large-scale event, there will still be expenses. If you are charging for attending the event, you can estimate entry fees as part of your budget, but if attendance is free, you should begin budgeting for the number of sponsors and fees that you will need to collect to break even on the event.
Create several levels of sponsorship opportunities for industry related vendors, such as:
- Silver – basic level $250 sponsorship gets a banner in the hall and ability to hand out flyers and business cards during the event, plus a small ad on the website
- Gold – mid-level $500 sponsorship gets a large banner in the hall, ability to hand out flyers and business cards during the event, plus a medium ad on the website and swag bag option to put a flyer or other giveaway item into the attendee bags
- Platinum – top level $1000 sponsorship gets multiple banners in the hall, ability to hand out flyer and business cards during the event, plus a large ad on the website, swag bag option and ability to sponsor parties during the mini-convention
- Workshop Sponsors – any speakers, workshops or other educational events that are offered during your mini-convention should also be sponsored to take care of any speaker fees or technology use fees at the convention hall
Phase III – Getting the Word Out
Once you have the venue chosen at the New England conference center and the date set, have contact sponsors and received some checks and support, you can start getting the word out about the event. A website is a good idea even for a small mini-convention. It helps possible attendees to know what to expect, get an idea of what will occur during the event at the Milford conference hall, know who the speakers will be, start planning for parties and other activities, as well as share information with other colleagues about your event.
Depending on whether you will be limiting attendance, requiring paid registrations or send out exclusive invite-only opportunities, you may or may not be taking out advertising in industry publications or go around to post and share information on social media. However you promote the mini-convention, make sure to give the date, time, registration information and, of course, the location of the conference center in Milford, MA.
Contact The Crystal Room Conference Center in Milford
If you are interested in planning a business conference in Massachusetts of any size, contact our team at The Crystal Room Conference Center for information on the availability of our Milford conference hall, as well as details about deposits, costs and available amenities. Call today at 508-478-7800 to get a FREE estimate or to learn more about our facility.