Stellar Franchise Convention Planning Checklist & Timeline

I love this tagline that I’ve seen used throughout the meeting planning community: 

Fabulously Planned…Always Remembered

However, I might make one change…

Fabulously & Meticulously Planned…Always Remembered!

We all know, the details involved in creating a stellar franchise convention are numerous, critical and timely. We’ve pulled together a timeline/checklist that may be useful to your planning, regardless of where you are in the process.





18 Months Out:

  • Consider convention sites—shortlist a few.
  • Select preferred and alternate dates for the conference.

15 Months Out:

  • meeting plannerDetermine and lock-in venue, and host hotel, if different than venue.
  • Plan budget: Registration fees, hotel, speakers, promotions, other vendors, staff travel, etc.
  • Create a conference website or update an existing one with event dates and location.
  • Plan promotional efforts.

12 Months Out:

  • Set the conference theme and learning objectives.
  • Contact SPEAK! for a tailored list of qualified, franchise-savvy speakers whose messages tie into your theme and learning objectives. 
  • Begin promoting your conference theme, location and registration rates for next year’s event during your current year’s convention. Give your franchisees great reasons to show up!
  • Open registration for your next year’s convention. Give your franchisees an attractive incentive to sign up at this year’s event, building your advance registrations and excitement.

9 Months Out:

  • If you have not already started, now’s the time to begin promoting your conference theme, location and registration rates. Give your franchisees as much advance notice as you can!
  • If not already open, open registration.
  • Outline event agenda.
  • Contact the venue conference service manager (CSM) for your event, if not already in touch. Start finalizing as many of the details as you can in regards to room set-up and food and beverage.

6 Months Out:

  • Continue event promotion—utilizing speaker and key leader content and past event testimonials!
  • Ask your speakers to do short promo videos to help you drive attendance and excitement.
  • Offer registration incentives for Early Bird registrants.
  • Track registrations.

3 Months Out:

  • Lock in AV provider and plan for entire agenda needs. Ensure your speaker AV and room requirements are known and workable.
  • Begin preparation of the final agenda and program.
  • If conference booklet is being printed, lock in vendor and deadlines.
  • Design name badges and event signage.
  • Plan event giveaways, if applicable.
  • Finalize recognition awards and recipient video clips, if using.

2 Months Out:

  • phone callMake final decisions on AV needs and confirm AV contract.
  • Define content for all agenda items.
  • Pre-Program Call with presenters to customize content.
  • Confirm menus with venue CSM or caterer.
  • Prepare evaluation forms for your conference.
  • Track registrations.
  • Prepare a post-event survey that will be emailed to franchisees post-conference.

1 Month Out:

  • Finalize presenter content and confirm all presenter logistics.
  • Send final email promotion for conference registration.
  • Track registrations. Confirm with caterer and hotel.

3 Weeks Out:

  • Finalize signage and on-site conference materials/handouts.
  • Continue to work with vendors on counts and tracking their progress.
  • Prepare registration packets and print badges.
  • Book a massage for the week after the event!

1 Week Out:

  • Confirm AV equipment for all sessions with the venue.
  • Review caterer order.
  • Ship any last minute materials to the venue.
  • Prepare travel file with copies of all necessary contracts, key contacts, notes, etc.

1 Day Out:

  • Pre-conference meeting with venue staff.
  • Walk the meeting space with your staff, creating a list of any additional needs. Note the location of restrooms, emergency exits, and house phones for contacting venue staff.
  • Set up signage and prepare registration area.
  • Confirm with your speaker that AV sound check is done and all is well—may be day of session.

During Your Conference:

  • Relax! You’ve worked hard in advance to make the event a wild success.
  • Meet with venue CSM daily to discuss any problems/needs.
  • Confirm AV for next day, if applicable.

After Your Conference:

  • Send thank you notes.
  • Email Post-Event Survey to franchisees.
  • Gather event notes, including successes and challenges.
  • Debrief with speaker or representative.
  • Enjoy your massage—you’ve earned it!



How far out do you begin planning your events? Tell us what you’ve learned through your experience and we’ll add it to our checklist!

More soon…


P.S. Why not capture a video of your own assessment of the conference within 24 hours?  It’s quick, encourages your most honest, fresh impressions and will be invaluable to next year’s planning!


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