Hosting a conference is no small undertaking. Event venue space comes at a premium, and with people traveling many miles to attend, you want to make the most of your conference facilities. Here are a few sure-fire tips on how to plan a successful conference so that you can drum up sufficient interest for a repeat experience next year.

1. Make Each Event Unique

One of the most effective conference planning tips you’ll ever learn is to mix things up. Instead of counting on vendors and exhibitors to keep events lively, focus on making each conference a distinctive experience. For instance, simple thematic elements, such as color and decor schemes, can set your event apart by giving it a more cohesive, well-run feel.

Want to host an annual event for a niche professional industry? Make each year distinctive by featuring a different relevant technology or discipline. In addition to keeping attendance more interesting for first-timers, creating a new theme each year spices things up for regular attendees and exhibitors.

2. Always Rehearse First

Your conference doesn’t need to feature live music or stage shows to benefit from practice. Even without outright theatrics, conference events are mind-blowingly complex waltzes. Everyone has to be in the right places at the right times, and the equipment they use also has to be ready to work flawlessly.

Why walk through the program with event venue staff, AV techs, caterers and keynote speakers? Dry runs are the easiest way to prevent show-stopping mistakes from bringing everything screeching to a halt when it’s time to go live. No matter how well you think you prepared, events have a way of throwing the unexpected at you, so why not be extra ready?

3. Find a Venue That Fits

One of the most common mistakes that novice event planners make is choosing venues that can’t actually accommodate their needs. Whether this comes down to plainly insufficient floor space, incompatible AV equipment, restrictive layouts or other factors isn’t the point. It’s up to you to ensure that your event is a success, and facilities that come equipped with all of the necessary amenities right out of the box can make your life far easier.

Did we miss any of your favorite pointers on how to plan a successful conference? Let us know about your ideas. Also, check back for more conference planning tips to help make your next event worth attending and remembering.