The creation, organisation and execution of a conference is quite complex. What benefits does a city derive from a conference? How does the bidding process work? What experts are at your disposal? How does the selection and decision-making process work? The following step-by-step plan will show you what you can expect exactly in the run-up to your conference.

The run-up to a conference

Step 1: the concept

Are you thinking about organising a conference for your association? Or perhaps you are dreaming about a convention with experts who share your passion? The first step is quite simple. Ask yourself the following questions. Have any conferences on the same topic already been organised? If so, what did they look like? Google Search can provide you with some answers. 

Found any satisfactory results? That’s good news: you do not have to start from scratch. Most associations have established guidelines which you can perfectly follow. On the basis of these guidelines, you can contact us without obligations to indicate your interest in organising a conference in Ghent. 

At this point in the process, it is best to contact GentCongres. They will assist you with submitting a Letter of Intent to your international association. This non-binding document that indicates that you are interested in organising a conference in Ghent. This way, your association is aware that we are a candidate for hosting the event. 

In addition, we check what the official guidelines are for attracting the conference and when you may submit your bid. 

Step 2: official candidacy (preparation of a bid book or presentation)

Time to check the feasibility of taking care of all aspects internally. Do you think you lack the time or resources? In that case, we will gladly help you find a suitable Professional Conference Organiser (PCO).

Once you have assembled your team and (possibly) taken PCO on board, you can begin your bid! Together, we will take a look at the manual and guidelines of your international association, and then we can really get things going. In this crucial stage, we bear the preparation costs and always strive for the best possible result. The bid books we provide you with are not just refined and convincing, they also immediately catch the eye! As a result, the prospects of winning the bid are excellent. Are you also required to give a presentation? Don’t worry, we will make sure that everything is in perfect order. 

TIP: Want to find out what facilities Ghent has on offer? Then make use of our venue finder, a handy online tool to find the perfect venues in Ghent. 

Step 3: the decision

After submitting your bid, you have to wait for the association's decision. The timespan depends on the number of participating candidates. You may be required to explain your candidacy by means of a presentation. 

Did your presentation go well? Great! Now all you can do is wait for the association to reach a verdict. Afterwards, you can proceed to the fleshing out of your conference. 

TIP: Invite the relevant decision-makers for a visit to Ghent. These site visits consist of a personalised guided tour for your association’s delegation, with GentCongres taking care of the organisational aspect. A site visit will certainly reinforce your candidacy!

Step 4: practical preparations

Have you won the bid? Great!

Now you can focus on the practical aspects: assemble a fixed team and ensure a clear division of responsibilities. For instance, who will take care of the conference’s contents? Who will take care of the conference’s format? If you have hired a PCO in step two, the latter will be part of their range of duties: the selection of the facilities, the technical preparation of the programme and budget monitoring. Our experienced team will provide assistance with all these aspects.. In the meantime, you and your colleagues of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) can concentrate on developing the conference’s contents. 

You’re not relying on a PCO? Don’t worry GentCongres will gladly assist you in finding the right locations, hotels, social programmes, etc. In addition, we have an extensive network of contacts who can help you with various matters.

Have any questions or need advice? Our door is always open. We will gladly help you as best we can!

TIP: A site visit may come in handy in this step as well. It gives you an impression of Ghent’s unique atmosphere and excellent infrastructure. The ideal opportunity to make a well-informed decision! 

Step 5: promotion

In this step, you can begin developing your website and promoting your conference! GentCongres can provide you with all manner of marketing materials to put your conference on the map and attract as many participants as possible. Ranging from visual materials to announcements on social media: you can always count on our services!

Want to find out what we have on offer? You can discover our range of services on our service webpage. 

Step 6: the conference itself

The final weeks before the event are the most exciting period. Keep in mind that they can be very intense and that you and your team will be very busy. Of course, we continue to be at your service to answer any questions or remove any concerns. 

And then the moment has finally arrived: the conference is going ahead! Now it is up to your team and/or PCO to prove themselves.


Step 7: the evaluation

The end of your conference does not mean that your work is done: after the conference, it is up to you to thank the participant and evaluate the work performed. Be sure to take a close look at your budget. You can use this information to draw up a report. 

Then discuss with your team what went well and what could be improved upon, so that everyone can look back on the conference with a positive feeling. This evaluation will of course be very useful to people who wish to organise an event that is as successful as yours in the future. GentCongres would also like to know what we can do to improve our services.

Is organising a conference something you are interested in? Then don’t hesitate to contact us, and we will set to work together to ensure a unique event!