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How To Plan An Amazing Conference On The Gold Coast

Do you want to plan a conference on the Gold Coast? Then follow our 10 step guide to success and start your plans today. 

Combine business and leisure by organising your event in one of Australia’s most well-known and beloved beach regions. The sunny subtropical climate offers visitors plenty of everything, year-round: plenty of sun, stunning, pearly-white sand at Surfers Paradise, crystal-clear waters; you’ll surely find something to love here. 

If this is your first time arranging a conference, then don’t worry; we’re here to guide you through the process and ensure your event inspires your delegates.

Tonia Renee Et Al. Sitting At A Table Eating Food

Planning A Conference Checklist - 10 Step Guide

1.   Create your Team

When creating your conference event you should be looking to build a team that will assist and compliment you with every stage of the process.

  • Admin Team – Your Admin team is vital to the success of your conference. They should be in charge of organising tickets, sales and more. You can leave all the budgeting duties to your admin team, who should also manage any administration issues for you.
  • Planning Team – Your planning team should be experienced and able to organise your event with ease. They can work with our own events team to arrange catering for your event or conference when confirming your booking.
  • Marketing Team – Having people in your team that know how to advertise the event on your behalf is certainly beneficial. The marketing team can also create professional promotional material to gain attention and further brand awareness.
  • Staff on the Day – Vital for the smooth running of your Gold Coast conference; you should be seeking staff to check tickets, guide your guests to the event and help with any questions that your guests may have.

With your team in place making sure that your event is going to plan, you can get some breathing space. Relax, delegate tasks to your team and steal some time to discover more of the beautiful Gold Coast.

A Close Up Of A Piece Of Paper

2.   Choose Your Theme

Now that you have delegated the organisational side of the event, it’s time for the fun to start. 

Choosing a theme is one of the easier aspects of conference planning. It can make the difference between an event that represents your message or one that lacks imagination.

An example theme could be:

“Going Green for Good”

Instead of:

“Helping to conserve nature, resources and the environment by implementing eco-friendly technology”

Tonia Renee Et Al. Standing Around A Table

3.   Prepare Business Plan and Budget

When you’ve confirmed your plans, your event planner can assist with organising a conference within your budget constraints. It is advisable to retain 10-15% of your budget for unexpected expenses or price changes. 

When determining your conference budget, you should consider the following:

Sounds like a lot, but you really need to keep track of everything. The last thing you want is unexpected costs that can hurt your business.

A Living Room Filled With Furniture And A Tv

4.   Book your Date

When considering a date for your conference, you should try to get the timing right. Conferences do take time to plan, organise and arrange, so you should be looking to book your Gold Coast event a minimum of a year in advance.

This will give you and your team plenty of time to plan the perfect event.

If you have an exact date in mind, then you should confirm your date as soon as possible. When you have your conference venue booked, then the excitement of the planning can finally begin. 

A few pointers to keep in mind when setting the date are:

  • Avoid Festivals – People are less likely to attend on special dates of the year, as they typically plan to spend precious time with their loved ones. Also, the cost of transport may skyrocket during these peak time periods.
  • Avoid the Busy Months – The Gold Coast tends to become busier in the back half of the year. It would be wise to consider the beginning of the year to hold your conference.
  • Weekdays – Many of your guests will be working Monday to Friday. Attending a conference over the weekend might be less than ideal for them. You may increase the number of attendees by arranging your conference on a weekday.
  • Fridays – A popular day to book an event is on a Friday. It’s a nice end to the workweek and gives you a break from the normal work routines. It also gives attendees a chance to make a long weekend of it and explore the local area at their own pace.

A Group Of People Standing In A Room

5.  Booking a Conference Venue on the Gold Coast

There are many reasons why you should consider booking your next big conference or event on the Gold Coast. The picturesque skyline makes for a perfect backdrop to any business or social event. Add a bit of magic in the form of stunning beaches, exciting theme parks and plenty of shopping opportunities and you end up with a premier destination that just ticks all the boxes.

Before booking your conference, it’s best to visit the venue so you can familiarise yourself with the surroundings and atmosphere of the space. It will also give you the chance to observe the flow and movements between different rooms. If you can’t make it to the venue for a site, we highly recommend sourcing a series of room images in order of the event flow and a floor plan or if possible a little video walking you through the space. 

At voco® Gold Coast we have everything you need to organise an exciting and successful conference. Our large venues and conference rooms can accommodate any number of guests, all throughout the seasons. All our spaces feature natural lighting, air conditioning and all the mod cons (including audiovisual equipment) necessary to ensure your day runs smoothly and is as productive as possible.

When it’s time to take a break from business, voco® Gold Coast won’t disappoint. Conveniently located within walking distance from the stunning beach, there are always plenty of leisure activities to enjoy in between important meetings.

6.   Create Your Agenda / Conference run sheet

As you now know how to organise your conference, it’s time to plan the agenda and run sheet. It pays to plan ahead, so get onto this sooner rather than later.

Your agenda is crucial as it sets up your conference for success. You’ll need to decide on the topics you would like to discuss and have a schedule that flows and is informative.

Typically, your speaker will entertain your audience for around 2 hours on each subject before taking time to have a well-earned break. 2 hours is an ideal time to convey information to your guests, as they are soaking in the information and remaining focussed on the speaker. You may even want to throw in some activities to keep the audience engaged and interested in the topic.

7.   Catering Requirements

Catering is a necessary and very welcome commodity when holding a conference on the Gold Coast. Choose from cocktail hour canapes, morning and afternoon tea breaks, buffet banquets and more.

You should ensure that there are regular breaks during your conference for people to stretch their legs, refocus their eyes, or grab some fresh air. A general rule of thumb is that you should take a break every 2 hours, with an extended lunch break. You’ll find that this ensures your guests return refreshed and remain focused.

A Large Room

8.   Decide on Speakers

At some conferences, you may have one main speaker. However, it’s also beneficial to have a few other speakers offering different perspectives.

Your speakers will need to be knowledgeable and experienced in your conference topic or matter of discussion. They need to be able to effectively communicate with confidence and conviction, and be able to answer any questions from your audience in detail and to a high standard.

When arranging speakers, it is always best to have a reserve in case your main speaker cannot make it that day.

When considering your speakers, you should consider:

  • Fees
  • Travel
  • Accommodation
  • Equipment – Do they need any projectors or audio-visual technology?

Accommodation and catering can add a nice finishing touch to your event.
At voco® Gold Coast, we go out of our way to ensure you receive the best service possible and that your conference is a successful and memorable one.

A Person Standing In Front Of A Mirror Posing For The Camera

9.    Consider The Details

Now you have the essentials planned, it is time to consider the finer details. It’s the attention to detail that can help set your conference on the Gold Coast apart from the rest.

Consider the following:

  • What time will refreshments and meals be served?
  • Health and Safety (e.g. fire exits and assembly points).
  • Where are the toilets located?
  • Is there a changing area?
  • Do you plan to show an exhibit?
  • How can you keep your guests engaged and entertained all throughout the day?
  • What are some popular things to do on the Gold Coast and most importantly: What activities would your delegates enjoy the most? (e.g. water activities, natural attractions and national parks, shopping sprees, whale watching sessions, the list is endless).
  • Have you considered sustainability and environmental impact? 

If you were an attendee at this conference, think about the information that you would need to know. Things such as the facilities, break times, accommodation, transport would be a great starting point. This is also the time to talk through any special requirements or questions that you have with your event planner.

A Dining Room Table

10.    An Unforgettable Gold Coast Conference

So, the day of the conference has finally arrived. Everyone is in the right place, accommodation is booked, catering is organised, and your speakers have arrived. All you have to do is wait for your guests to start pouring in.

Now is the time to be amazing and entertain your guests with your sparkling personality and fantastic people skills.

You will, however, need to consider these points while enjoying the success of your conference or function:

  • You’ll need to facilitate conversations and networking.
  • Monitor timing to ensure your presentations and agenda are adhered to.
  • Introduce your chosen speakers to the audience.
  • Collect feedback during and throughout your conference. 
  • Welcome guests as they arrive and deliver a welcome speech at the beginning of your conference or event.
  • Contact back up speakers, just in case you have any last-minute cancellations.
  • Take plenty of notes throughout your conference to perfect your next event or function.


With a well-planned agenda and inspired delegates, your conference is bound to be a success. At voco® Gold Coast, we pride ourselves on our excellent facilities, service and environmental sustainability, and will work with you to make sure that your event is everything that you want it to be.

We guarantee that your conference is going to be everything that you were hoping for and more. We look forward to being part of your success and your future! Take the next step with planning your Gold Coast conference. 

Book your conference with us today!