Scheduling Advice for Event Planners: Choose Your Date Carefully!

Mar 3, 2016 1:30:00 PM

Kim Estep

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The most frustrating thing just happened to me. I chose a great conference to attend, in a great city, with awesome speakers…and then I realized the conference is right in the middle of my daughters’ spring break week.

What’s an exhibitor or attendee to do? Do we skip the vacation with the family and attend the conference, or do we treasure our family time and risk missing out on an excellent networking opportunity? I come accross this issue frequently, and would like to offer the following scheduling advice to event planners.

 

Don't Schedule Your Event on National Holidays and School Vacation:

I’ve been wondering how event planners determine the dates for their conferences, and if they take into consideration the national holidays and school vacation weeks for their target audiences.

In looking at the Convention Nation database, I quickly found 38 events occurring that same week. There are 22 events the following week, during Passover. If this is only a small sample of all of the events in the US every year…it begs the question: Are event planners aware of the family and religious holiday conflicts that can arise with the poor choice of event timing?

 

Consider How the Presidential Election Day Will Affect Your Event:

I came across another example. Hubspot’s Inbound2016 show falls on Election Day. Now, I wouldn’t think that would be a very big deal in most years, but in a presidential election year it may have repercussions.

Will attendees remember to absentee-vote? Is it even on their radar? I am sure the Hubspot’s scheduling of the show was an oversight (and was probably booked at least a year ago!). The date can’t be changed now. However, I hope they do their civic duty and send an absentee-ballot-reminder email to their registered attendees in time for them to submit their ballots.

 

Events Planned Over Holidays Can Impact the Cost for Companies to Attend:

Then one other thought came to me. In most industries, non-exempt employees are paid overtime on national holidays. A recent Supreme Court ruling determined mortgage loan originators are eligible for overtime pay. If a mortgage conference happens to begin on a Sunday, and runs over, say, President’s Day Weekend (cough, MBAcref17), is the employer paying extra wages to originators who attend the conference? I suppose it depends on the Employer’s holiday schedule.

 

What’s an attendee or potential event sponsor to do?

I know I’ll personally vet events against my calendar—and I’ll be sure to put important dates (time share weeks, town referendum dates, school  vacation weeks) in my calendar. As we build Convention Nation, we’ll add features that flag the important dates for our visitors and remind them of potential scheduling conflicts.

In the end, with a little extra attention to these issues, event planners and attendees can achieve the same goal – to be available to attend great events!

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