Planning a Conference

Where to Start?

  • Set conference dates and times
  • Establish a focus for your conference or event
  • Determine how many participants you anticipate and how many will need housing. How many single rooms? How many double rooms?
  • Determine number of meeting rooms and what size will you need. Include any breakout rooms.
  • What type of special equipment or furnishings (e.g. podiums, extra tables and chairs, poster boards, etc).
  • Audio visual requirements for general meeting and speaker needs including microphones, data projectors, TV/VCR, laser pointers, etc).
  • Will you need catering?  Determine budget, date, time and menu.
  • How many coffee breaks per day?.

Establish a Budget

  • Keep your estimates realistic
  • Establish a high and low range of attendance and review your budget periodically so you can stay ahead of “surprises” at the end of your conference.
  • Include complimentary housing costs for invited guests; transportation (shuttles, parking); meeting room rental; food and beverage; audio visual; brochures/mailing lists/advertising; off-site events; extra staff; postage/shipping fees; meeting materials (signs and banners, office supplies, awards).
  • Miscellaneous
  • Insurance (UCSC requires each group to have general liability insurance in place prior to start of conference).

Understanding your Due Dates

Advanced planning is essential for the success of your conference. Stay ahead of your due dates. Last minute requests can be difficult to meet during peak business times and alternative arrangements may be hard to find.

  • Application and Booking Deposit: A non-refundable deposit of $10.00 per person or $1,000 (whichever is greater) is due with your application.
  • ADA Information: Special accommodation requests are due 90 days prior to start of your conference.
  • Meeting Room Requirements: Due at least 60 days prior to start of your conference. All meeting rooms subject to availability.
  • Contract and Guarantee Numbers: Final numbers of housed participants and commuters are due 30 days prior to start of conference.
  • Insurance Requirements: Due 30 days prior to start of conference.
  • Catering Requests (and alcohol permits): Catering requests and final numbers are due 30 days prior to the start of your conference.
  • Prepayment: 100% of contracted housing is due 15 days prior to start of conference.
  • Housing Assignments (rooming lists): Due 15 days prior to start of your conference.
  • Audio Visual Requests: Final requests are due 15 days prior to start of your conference.

The Little Extras…plan, create, provide


  • leisure and recreational time during your conference mixer events

  • encourage special recognition for high achievers


  • a personal growth sessions for attendees

  • a welcoming atmosphere – have staff present at check in to welcome conferees and troubleshoot challenges during the conference
  • a meeting theme and Provide meeting mementos


  • message/resource center with local area information
  • survey forms on final day