Nominate key conference objectives early for best outcomes: PCO

Research undertaken by ICMS Australasia (ICMSA) has determined if event owners have clearly defined objectives the success of their programs can be achieved and long-term legacies created. And these objectives should be determined early in the event planning cycle to ensure success, says ICMSA CEO, Emma Bowyer.

Ms Bowyer says over the past 12 months event stakeholders have been prioritising the top five following objectives as:

  1. Creation of a collaborative environment
  2. Exceeding delegate numbers
  3. Greater promotion of their specialisation
  4. Sector growth
  5. Financial success

“The most successful events we have had in the last year were those which had clear objectives from the outset, allowing our teams to help clients achieve their goals,” she explains.

As an example, the host body of the 26th World Mining Congress in Brisbane in 2023 had among its key objectives to increase the profile of the event as the premier global gathering of mining.

“Understanding this allowed us to implement a media strategy for the Congress, resulting in attracting 60 media registrations and 350 articles, stories and interviews across a range of platforms within Australia and internationally.

“Similarly, another objective was to recruit a minimum of 1200 international attendees. Knowing this early in the planning phase allowed us to better target our marketing activity, resulting in the recruitment of more than 1,500 international attendees.”

Ms Bowyer said event objectives differed from client to client and impacted how ICMSA manages each program.

Chair of the 26th Congress and General Assembly of the International Union of Crystallography (IUCr 2023), Professor Michael Parker, said his Local Organising Committee outlined objectives including making it a family-friendly conference with an emphasis on diversity, engagement with school children and making the conference more accessible to poorer nations through subsidies and a virtual offering.

“In all these legacies we were successful,” Professor Parker said.

Understanding what the objectives were, ICMSA was able to devise strategies to work on each one. This included providing complimentary on-site childcare to registered delegates to allow working parents to attend, achieving a result of 72% of all presenters being from ethnically diverse backgrounds, creating a STEM-based program which attracted more than 500 students and increasing first-time attendance by 44 per cent.

“Clearly defined event objectives allowed our team to achieve and exceed these client goals,” Ms Bowyer said.