Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) Acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Narrm, the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to their Elders past and present, and to Elders of all First Nations communities that visit MCEC.

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10 Tips for Planning a Conference in Melbourne

By Deni Kirkova|

Planning a conference in Melbourne? Nice one. The cosmopolitan city has everything you need for success. Follow our tips to get you started.

Melbourne is simply built for business events. It's a knowledge capital with a vibrant cultural and foodie scene and plenty to do. But with so many considerations, knowing where to start can be hard.

That’s why we’re here to help. With the right knowledge and strategies in place, your event can be an amazing success.

Here are 10 tips to help you plan a conference that connects your community and leaves a lasting impact:

1. Start Planning Early!

The earlier you start planning, the more time you'll have to iron out the details and make sure everything runs smoothly.

This is especially important in Melbourne, where popular venues and hotels can book up well in advance. So, it's important to book your dates as soon as you can.

We’re already accepting events for 2024 and beyond.

A confident woman wearing a vibrant red blazer stands at a podium, holding a tablet and addressing a crowd with a smile. The focus of her attention is behind the camera, creating an engaging and energetic atmosphere.
2. Define Your Conference Goals

What is the purpose of my event? It’s the most important question you can ask yourself before starting to plan a conference.

Clearly define your conference goals so that you can plan and execute a conference that aligns with your goals.

This will help you choose the right venue, speakers and activities.

3. Choose the Right Venue

Melbourne has a wide range of venues to choose from, including hotels, convention centres and unique galleries like THE LUME Melbourne.

For an event venue guaranteed to deliver, you’ll be in safe hands with MCEC. We're a multi-award-winning venue.

Select somewhere that is appropriate for the size of your conference. A space with the necessary amenities and facilities, and one that inspires you.

Look for venues with outdoor spaces to invigorate your delegates.

A woman confidently stands on a stage adorned with armchairs, tables, and a podium, dressed in a striking red blazer. Behind her, a sizeable digital screen displays a real-time feed of herself alongside a man speaking, accompanied by a logo next to him. The stage setup creates a dynamic and visually engaging backdrop for the speaker.
4. Invite the Right Speakers

Choose speakers who are knowledgeable, diverse, engaging and who align with the goals of your conference.

Are you looking for a specialist in a certain field? Someone very well known or a pioneering innovator?

Consider engaging a speaker's bureau, approaching contacts on LinkedIn and looking beyond your industry.

Melbourne is an epicentre for innovation that’s home to an array of industry experts. So you'll have plenty of local options to choose from.

5. Create a Conference Schedule

Develop a conference schedule that allows for a good balance. Make time for keynote presentations, breakout sessions, networking opportunities and other activities.

Ensure you discuss options for an expo or reception element to your conference with your event planner.

Melbourne is a vibrant city with plenty of things for your attendees to see and do. So consider incorporating some local attractions into your conference schedule.

Check out our blog on what to do in the buzzing South Wharf precinct.

A group of four individuals seated in armchairs, with the primary focus on one man engaged in conversation with a woman. The setting fosters a relaxed and intimate atmosphere, facilitating meaningful communication between the panel of individuals.
6. Coordinate Logistics

You should have a solid plan in place for registration, transportation, catering and any other logistical needs. Luckily, Melbourne is well-connected by public transport.

When it comes to food, we know that attendees still expect to have a wide range of choices available. These include vegan, vegetarian, meat and fish.

Further findings from our research show that patrons are still extremely invested in how food is being sourced. They want to see that supply chains are sustainable.

So, make sure you check out our new menus. They’re more inclusive, diverse and sustainable than ever.

7. Plan for the Unexpected (like Virtual Attendees!)

It's important to have a plan in place in case something goes pear-shaped. Have a backup plan for speakers, venues and other important elements of your conference.

The ripple effect of the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic means we remain more than capable to host virtual and hybrid events. And the digital attendance option is here to stay.

According to research by CIM Business Events published in ACC Future Meetings Barometer August 2022, very few event organisers predict a future for live meetings without at least a virtual component.

And an overwhelming number are happy to host multi-location meetings with live hubs connected via technology. We can help with all that thanks to our innovative hybrid event solutions.

A man dressed in a blazer converses with four women, captured from behind by the camera. Two of the women can be seen holding champagne glasses, adding a touch of celebration to the scene.
8. Use the Right Tools for Hybrid Events

If you’re planning a virtual or hybrid event at MCEC, we have a world-leading digital event platform to manage your whole event. It's your ultimate tool to power immersive experiences.

The web-based portal offers smooth registration and ticket sales plus attendance and permission management. You can integrate PayPal and stripe integration for payments. It's safe and secure with two-factor authentication.

The inbuilt marketing suite lets us create custom landing pages and mobile apps and gives you access to real-time analytics. Your Digital Event Manager will handle it all: email, ads, forms, notifications, text messages, UTM link trackers and more.

9. Promote Your Conference (Don’t Forget This!)

Speaking of which… make sure you use social media, email marketing and other tactics to further promote your conference and attract more attendees.

Melbourne has a strong conference and events industry, so it's important to stand out and promote your event effectively.

Have you heard about our amazing signage and pre-event promotion opportunities? We’ll help you attract attendees and your event soar.

It’s one of the amazing perks of planning your conference at MCEC.

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10. Follow up with Attendees

After the conference, be sure to check in with your attendees to gather feedback and ideas for future events. This will help you improve and grow your planning skills over time.

Follow our tips to plan a conference in Melbourne that brings your industry together and leaves a legacy. One that’s well-organised and meets the needs of your attendees.

Melbourne is an iconic city and hosting a conference here is sure to be a memorable experience. Especially when you host it at MCEC.

Ready to start planning your next conference in Melbourne? Reach out to the team and discover the difference.

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