Milan is a fantastic location for business conferences. It’s a vibrant, dynamic city with a cosmopolitan feel that attracts both national and international business travelers.
While some people are familiar with Milan, they may not know that it has so much to offer when it comes to business conventions, trade shows, meetings and networking events.
If you’re looking for a place to hold a business conference, Milan is one of the best cities in the world.
It takes the right mix of planning, preparation, experience, execution, and follow-through to host a successful conference. There is no need to wait for a large trade show to show off your knowledge and present new products and services to your clients and customers. A mini-conference can also be an excellent corporate event and opportunity for team members to meet in person and enrich their relationships in a new context.
But conference planning often seems overwhelming, it’s hard to know where to start. Here are our top conference planning tips to help you plan the best conference possible!
This guide, 7 Steps to Successful Conference Planning in Milan, has been reviewed by expert business and conference coordinator, Daniele Rutigliano, Director of Business Development & Tourism Scalo Milano Outlet & More.
Successful Conference Planning
The benefits of business conferences are universally known and accepted among all of the top-tier executives, which is why they are so popular. Three are even more perks to organizing and hosting a conference yourself instead of just attending.
The brainstorming session should start off with broad ideas and objectives that are then shaped into clear goals and strategies.
When you are in charge you can choose what the focus is, making it as relevant to your niche as possible. You can bring in experts you think would be the most helpful and motivating. And you can create the environment you would like to see at conferences. It’s a big boost to your own experience overall.
Think about how you would like your attendees to feel and what tools, skills, or knowledge they will go home with after attending your conference.
Pro tip: Select members of your team who have a variety of talents and skills. You will need both technical and creative experience to bring your ideas to life.
2. Focus on the Details
The hardest part about event planning is making sure you don’t get caught in an unexpected situation. There are so many details and facets to handle, you have to stay on top of everything to make sure it’s running smoothly.
Unexpected events like bad weather, local transportation strikes and technical difficulties are just some of the situations which may call for a contingency plan.
We suggest making a master list of every detail you can think of that needs to be planned or prepared. Then assign tasks to specific team members to take care of. Check in regularly with those assignments to confirm they’re being done and are ready to go.
Pro tip: Apply Murphy’s Law to every aspect of planning a conference; “If it can go wrong, it will.” By anticipating the problems that may occur, you can already have a solution on hand.
3. Find the Right Venue
Your conference is an extension of your brand. Holding your conference in a well-equipped, professional venue is of utmost importance.
Too many cooperate events are ruined by a unequipped venue. Choosing an event venue that’s conducive to your activities, comfortable, and has a helpful staff is critical to a successful conference.
In Milan, The Hub Conference Center at Scalo Milano Outlet & More is an ideal location for your next conference, meeting or networking event. The Hub is a 600-square-meter multifunctional event space that can accommodate small to large gatherings. It can accommodate up to 200 people and has a video and broadcasting studio on-site for online or video recording of televised and scheduled events. It is ideal for conferences, meetings, training courses, team building events, exhibitions, and live-digital hybrid events, and is located within the Scalo Milano Outlet shopping village, just 15 minutes from the city center and accessible by their free shuttle bus service.
In addition to networking areas and catering services, The Hub has a fully equipped audio-visual studio ready to record or broadcast your event live on streaming platforms. Create a hybrid Live-Digital event and open your conference to participants around the world.
Pro tip: When choosing a venue, you are partnering with its management as well. Visit and tour the building well in advance and ask as many questions as you can. Be sure the venue management works with the same high standards and quality as your business.
4. Keep Presentations on Topic
If your conference has any kind of presentation element, it’s key to make sure that all of the speakers understand their assignments and that they are relatable to the attendees. There’s nothing worse than sitting through a whole speech that really has nothing to do with you or your business.
A good presentation should be engaging and informative to motivate and inspire the audience to do better in their businesses. Experienced experts and speakers know how to build rapport and demonstrate their expertise without being boring.
Pro tip: Make the focus and topic of your conference targeted and precise. It will be the reason people will return year after year.
5. Find the Right Keynote Speakers
Getting support from people who make your conference successful is fundamental. The right speaker is someone who is passionate about the topic. Looking for talented speakers within your company is a great starting point but having external speakers can strengthen brand identity and status.
It’s important to choose speakers who will be entertaining and inspiring to the audience, while also adding a little bit of insight to their talks. You want to make sure you’re not just hiring a speaker, but a person who is going to energize and excite your audience.
Reach out to your contacts, business organizations and industry leaders.
Pro tip: A celebrity or business leader can draw in a crowd, attracting more attendees. This is especially strategic if you are launching a new product or service.
6. Plan out the daily schedule
Conferences, conventions, and meetings can last hours or span over days, it all depends on your goals and what you want your audience to get out of it. No matter how long your conference will last, it is important to have a timeframe and schedule. Allow time for everything from check-in to seating to speaker sessions and breaks.
An event schedule is a timeline of the conference events in chronological order and dictates the pace and energy of the entire conference. All members of the team and keynote speakers should be aware of the day’s activities and stick to the plan.
Pro tip: Work closely and coordinate the schedule with the venue staff as well, especially if you are hosting a catered event within the conference.
7. Create Networking Opportunities
While getting new ideas and perspectives from presenters is helpful, most conference attendees are looking for networking opportunities from these events. So don’t forget to create intentional time where attendees can mingle and get to know each other from a business standpoint. Attendees should be able to go home with new knowledge and skills as well as new contacts that will improve their business. That will make your conference invaluable and something no one wants to miss in the future!
Pro tip: Get to know your attendees before the event through a quick survey or questionnaire during registration. Create a discreet team of networking facilitators who can introduce guests to one another.
Tips for Successful Conference Planning
Though it seems like it has to be a stressful task, conference planning can be a fun and exciting challenge when handled the right way. It’s thrilling to get to put together an event you know will benefit all of the attendees and be a memorable experience for everyone involved.
Working with the right coordinators, vendors, and venue employees will make all the difference. Assembling a helpful, knowledgeable, and exciting team is the first step to hosting an amazing conference.
If you’re in need of a conference venue in Milan with a team ready to help assist you in any way, contact us today and we will point you in the right direction!
Article by Celia Abernethy, Easy Milano
Expert review and pro tips by Daniele Rutigliano, Director of Business Development & Tourism at Scalo Milano Outlet & More.