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//Breaks, Entertainment and all things memorable…


  • If not obvious, provide extra signs for the bathrooms.
  • For an ordinary break 30 min. is fine (45 minutes if you offer finger food), for lunch breaks usually 1.5 hours are appropriate.
  • During breaks always offer beverages (also water, tea and coffee) and smaller snacks like cookies (better: small pastries) and fruits.
  • Remember that some guests may have special dietary requirements (e.g. for vegetarians, people with religious restrictions or medical restrictions like allergies)
  • Exhibitions: An exhibition (art, design, etc.) which fits to the conference programme is always  a welcome diversion. If you place it close to the catering, the participants will enjoy the breaks even more.
  • Rule of thumb: Catering is always the one thing people will remember about an event if it is not satisfying.
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Social Programme

  • Have an opening reception with snacks and drinks to welcome all participants.
  • Every conference should offer at least one social event, where participants can get together in a less formal setting.
  • If your event lasts for several days, find sponsors for extra social events hosted by them.
  • Offer excursions, trips, and/or guided tours to allow participants to see interesting locations close to the venue. Try to offer excursions that suit to the subject of the conference.

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The Phases of Conference Preparation

The preparation of a conference can be divided into several sections („phases“). With the help of the following exemplary organization plan of a conference, we would like to help you to understand the capabilities and functionalities of ConfTool and ConfTool Pro respectively.

Subsequently you will find a short guideline of the possible phases during the preparation of the conference and the tasks that arise for the organizers. The phases are supported by ConfTool-System in varying ways and it offers specific settings, user rights and access possibilities that will also be shortly introduced here.

Phase 0 – Preparatory planning, the website, basic ConfTool settings

Phase 1 – The “Call for Papers”

Phase 2 – Submission of the contributions

Phase 3 – Bidding phase: Potential reviewers bid for contributions

Phase 4 – Assignment of contributions to reviewers

Phase 5 – Evaluation of contributions by the reviewers

Phase 6 – Discussion on the acceptance of submissions by the programme committee

Phase 7 – Planning of programme and final decision on the acceptance status

Phase 8 – Announcement of the results

Phase 9 – Submission of the final version

Phase 10 – Registration for participation


Phase 0 – Preparatory Planning, the Website, Basic ConfTool Settings


Generally, the preparation of a conference should begin at least one year before the event starts. Please also have a look at the “Guidelines for Local Conference Organizers” with general information of what local organizers should consider during planning.

Today, for most conferences, the website is certainly one of the most important sources of information for potential authors and participants. Therefore, it should be put online as early as possible, have an appealing design and must contain all relevant information in a clear way.

ConfTool Pro does not replace your conference website with the information about the conference, as for this countless excellent open-source content-management-systems are available like Joomla!Drupal, and Typo3, as well as free of charge online services like Google Sites.

Tips for your Conference Website

Your website should provide all relevant information about the conference and should always be up-to-date. Thus, your site promotes your event, and at the same time it helps you to avoid unnecessary inquiries and misunderstandings. In order for the website to make a professional impression we recommend consulting a designer for its creation.

One should be able to find at least the following information on your website:

  • General information about the conference: what is the event about, what is the focus this year, who is hosting the conference, where will it take place, and why should people submit a contribution and participate.
  • Information for authors: This includes the “Call for Papers”, details on where the contributions will be published (by whichpublishing house, in which series), and which deadlines are to be considered. Also put templates here (for example MS Word templates) for the submission; the more precise the templates are defined, the less work you will have later when compiling the conference booklet. If prizes will be given out, such as a „Best Paper Award“, it is worth indicating this.
  • Location of the conference: One should not only list information of the actual conference location but also give information about the city and the region in which the conference will take place. Write why the region is worth the journey, and which sights it offers. Furthermore, participants appreciate details of how to get to and from the given location and how to find good/cheap overnight accommodation options.
  • Participant registration: Please list the registration options here, the incurring fees (is VAT charged?) and what the fees include. Furthermore, the deadlines for the registrations and the early-bird rate should be put here, as well as the accepted methods of payment (see “Receiving Credit Card Payments“).
  • Conference programme: Although ConfTool Pro supports you with the scheduling of the conference programme from the accepted contributions, it makes sense to list the most important programme points on the conference website early and to present them in a tailored format. In addition, information on the keynote speakerssocial events and the awards show should be provided. It is advisable to create a “conference flyer” with an overview of the conference and to make it also available here as a downloadable PDF-File.
  • Contact, about us: These pages are essential for all websites.

Tips for the Installation of ConfTool

For the setting-up of ConfTool, numerous information are required. Of course, you do not need to configure all modules concurrently: for example, if conference registration will be activated at a later date (which makes most sense as hardly anyone will register before the conference programme has been fixed), you’ll only need to set up this part later.

The following data is required for installation:

  • The address of the conference website and for your ConfTool installation.
  • Which logos and which colours should be used for the ConfTool pages?
  • Which logos should appear on the invoices and letters of confirmation?
  • What is the standard contact e-mail address? It serves the users to establish contact with the organizers and is shown in the footer of the ConfTool systems. It is a good idea to create a specific conference-e-mail address so that multiple people can access the incoming mails (i.e. in case of absence).

For the following configuration of ConfTool with the web browser, further information will be necessary and queried, amongst others:

  • General data such as name, place and date of the conference.
  • What are the deadlines for the different phases? These can of course be updated later.
  • What is the e-mail address of the sender for the automatically sent confirmation e-mails from the ConfTool system?
  • The types of submissions that are supported. What are the requirements for the submission types and review forms?
  • Which payment options will be offered? Is an online payment system required? For this, an additional contract with an accordant “acquirer” is usually needed (see “Details for the Acceptance of Credit Card Payments”).
  • What is the address and tax number of the issuer of invoices?
  • If you want to support direct money transfer: What are the details of your bank account, which reason for payment should participants provide? Click here
  • What options are to be given on the registration form and what are the costs for the different groups of participants?
  • Who is responsible for which tasks of the organisation of the conference? As a result of this, who needs which access rights to the ConfTool system?


Phase 1 – The Call for Papers


The Call for Papers should be published at an early stage – preferably already at the previous year’s conference! The general conditions and deadlines must be pointed out in time to the authors to leave them enough time to write their contributions. A successful conference stems from the contributions of the authors, and therefore you should allocate enough attention to your Call for Papers.

The Call for Papers should of course also be found on your conference website. The following information is important:

  • What are the deadlines for submission, when will the authors be informed of the decisions, and by when must the final version be handed in (if necessary).
  • Which length should, or rather are, the contributions allowed to be?
  • Templates for the submission should be available, provided that the contributions are submitted as PDF or DOC files.
  • When and where (through which publisher, in which series) will the accepted contributions be published?
  • Are there prizes, i.e., a Best Paper Award?

In addition, previous participants should be contacted by e-mail, press information should be released, and the event should be indicated on other websites (i.e. your institution, associated organizations and alliances).


Phase 2 – Submission of Contributions


Once a user has registered he can post his contribution in ConfTool. During the entire submission phase, the authors are able to access, revise or withdraw their submission.

In this phase, the reviewers are not yet active but their accounts can already be set up. They can then already choose their preferred topic areas and, where applicable, use their account to submit their own contributions.


Phase 3 – Bidding Phase: Potential reviewers bid for contributions (optional)


During this period of time, reviewers and members of the programme committee are able to indicate which contributions they would like to review or, as the case may be, which contributions (based on grounds of a conflict of interests) they are unable to review. The Chairs of the programme committee try to consider these preferences when allocating contributions to the reviewers.

This phase can be skipped if contributions are assigned based on topic areas or other criteria. However, the bidding phase normally increases the quality of the reviews as it reduces the risk of reviewers having to review unsuitable or (for the individual reviewer) uninteresting contributions.


Phase 4 – Assignment of Contributions to Reviewers


In this phase, the Chairs decide which contributions will be assigned to which reviewers for inspection.

After the assignment, a bulk e-mail must be sent to the reviewers to provide them with the details of the review process, as well as deadlines.

At this stage Phase 1 is usually closed, authors must not update or submit new contributions any more.


Phase 5 – Evaluation of contributions by the reviewers


During this phase the contributions will be reviewed by the assigned reviewers. The reviewers get access to the contributions through ConfTool and can also give their evaluations online via a web form.


Phase 6 – Discussion on the Acceptance of Submissions by the Programme Committee


In this phase, the programme committee discusses and decides on the acceptance or rejection of contributions for the conference. The online forum of ConfTool can serve as a discussion platform.

The planning of the programme begins here: Which contribution is suited to which topic area and which session of the conference.


Phase 7 – Planning of programme and final decision on the acceptance status


Based on the discussion of the programme committee it has to be decided which submissions are to be accepted and to be rejected. It is also possible to define different formats of acceptance, for example, as accepted as oral presentation, as poster or work-in-progress-paper.

The planning of the programme should now be carried out and contributions should be allocated to the sessions of the conference. The event will now be scheduled and structured. Rooms will be reserved and sessions, workshops and events planned.


Phase 8 – Notification of results


After the decisions on acceptance the submissions have been made, authors will receive access to the results.

They will receive a bulk e-mail with the decisions and feedback of the reviewers (ConfTool Pro).


Phase 9 – Submission of the final version


On the basis of the comments of the reviewers, authors are now able to revise their contributions and subsequently submit the final version for the conference.

Administrators can educe the revised contributions and use them for publication on the internet, for the printed conference booklet or transfer to CDROM.


Phase 10 – Participant Registration


//Traffic Deaths Spike for Teen Drivers

An improving economy means more cars on the roads, therefore more insurance for young drivers uk, and traffic safety officials expected the number of deaths among young drivers to increase as a result. But not this much: The number of 16- and 17-year-old drivers killed in traffic accidents jumped 19% in the first six months of 2012, says a new report picked up by USA Today. That’s double the rate of the overall population. Barring a remarkable turnaround when the stats come in for the final six months of the year, 2012 will mark the second straight year of an increase in deaths in the age group—2011 saw a 3% spike after eight years of declines according to data.

One expert thinks gains realized from “graduated driver licensing” programs, in which states give teen drivers more freedom as they gain experience, are beginning to level off. Before blaming texting or other versions of distracted driving, note that death rates for teen drivers are still about half of what they were a decade ago, reports the Los Angeles Times. In all, 240 16- and 17-year-olds were killed on the road from January through June of last year.


This survey summarizes some of the basic tasks and steps for the preparation and organization of events and provides hints on what not to forget.

The document is focused on the tasks of the Local Conference Organizer (LCO). Please have a look at “Phases of a Conference” for more information for the program chairs of a scientific meeting.

Conference Date and Location

  • When deciding the conference date, please consider the following:
    • Is there a conference with a similar theme taking place somewhere else at the same time?
    • Get information about holidays, other conferences, fairs and events in your city. If much is going on, it might be hard for the participants to get hotels and transportation at decent prices.
  • If more people want to attend than expected, does the location allow to handle this?
  • Consider the distance between the different rooms / locations. Remember that attendees might want to change from one talk / room to another during a session.
  • Is it possible to provide free internet access at your event location? Does it scale with many users? Frequently the local network infrastructure collapses with several hundred participants.
  • Clarify the safety conditions (max. number of persons) and the precautions concerning fire security.
  • Is the location accessible for handicapped people?

Technical Equipment

  • Which internal resources, which technical support can be provided (at what price?).
  • Has the location binding contracts with suppliers? If not, find the best local suppliers.
  • Check at what time before and after the event the rooms are at your disposal.
  • Are these rooms accessible at any time?
  • How much do extra rooms cost if you need for instance a room for a spontaneous meeting of an interest group.
  • Are the required transport and lifting gears available?
  • Where is the technical equipment usually kept? Which safeguard has to be considered?
  • Which kind of electricity supply exists? Where are the sockets, do you have all required socket and/or power adapters (e.g. for the laptops/equipment of the presenters)?
  • Do you have to pay extra for electricity, custom bottled water, light, support?
  • Where and how do you control light and acoustic irradiation?
  • Is it necessary that the local fire service has to check the installation?
  • Are certain materials forbidden? If yes, which?

Public Relations

  • Remember to promote your event. It is important to find the right balance between attention, costs and efforts.
  • One key aspect is certainly the conference website. We always recommend to get a professional designer for your website.
  • Send invitation e-mails to authors and participants of the preceding events (but don’t “Spam” them!). Synchronize such tasks with the conference chairs.
  • Start with the preparations in time, as authors need time to prepare and write their submissions and to plan their trips.
  • Plan the PR during and after your conference in time. You should send out press statements and  invite journalists. Good PR is not only important for the success of your event, it also makes the work of the organizers of the follow-up event easier.

Calculation of Costs

  • Create a financing plan to calculate the costs and revenues of your event.
  • Usually it is helpful to get the plan of the preceding event.
    • Typical costs to consider are:
    • the event location,
    • the proceedings,
    • public relations,
    • social events (excursions, dinner, etc.),
    • coffee and drinks during the coffee breaks,
    • invited speakers (travel and hotel expenses),
    • designers, website, software,
    • materials (computer, phone, printer, paper, flip chart, copier, etc.),
    • staff (cloakroom, vigil, catering, technique emergency team, etc.),
    • other personnel and costs for the student volunteer programme (see below),
    • prints (conference program, reader, tickets for meals and special events, agenda booklet, badge blanks and holders, special handouts and announcements, banquet menus and programs if separate, etc.),
    • prize money (best paper award),
    • insurances,
    • banking fees, credit card transaction costs,
    • usually at least 10% of the budget should be considered for unexpected costs,
    • taxes: do the participants have to pay VAT / GST or is your conference VAT exempted? Ask a tax expert about your case and the laws in your country!
    • decoration (flowers, banners, etc.).
  • Potential savings
    • Talk to organizers of previous events and try to figure out where money could be saved and extra expenses might improve the event.
    • Get several quotes, e.g. for different evening event locations. The prices can differ enormously.
    • Look for local, regional or European subsidies.
    • Can your university / organization provide some of the required services (for instance printing the booklet)?
    • Sponsors are often indispensable to online identification finance a conference. It has been proven to offer different “sponsoring packages” with appropriate compensations (e.g. advertising space in booklets, programmes and mailings, exhibition space a the conference, free entry for X employees of the sponsoring company).
    • Find a sponsor for one of the evening events and call it after the sponsor.
    • Sell conference souvenirs, T-shirts, mugs etc. but ask for the required number during the registration process, so you won’t have surplus.
    • Beverages: Renounce dry snacks, choose house wine, control the empty wine bottles, limit the free alcoholic beverages and arrange/display prices for participants who want to buy extra alcoholic beverages at the evening event, buy pots of coffee/tea.
    • Food: Limit the choices, buffets are usually less expensive than served meals, provide also filling food, set a budget.
    • Ask the participants if they are going to take part at the evening events, even if the events are included in the conference registration, to plan the required food and beverages.
    • However: Do not provide insufficient drinks, food and services.

Registration Options

  • Define different participants groups: usually students and people from academia have a lower budget than industrial participants. Remember that some people will have to be invited.
  • Define different time discounts: this motivates people to register in time and will provide early information on the total number of participants.
  • Usually an early registration should also require an early payment. As you have many costs for the preparation of the event, try to get the payments as early as possible. If people don’t pay after a deadline (common are 4 weeks), they will lose their discount.
  • You should define the available options for your registration form, before participant registration starts. Example: Do you only want to offer “full conference registration”, or are you also going to offer day tickets, extra tickets for the conference dinner (e.g. for accompanying persons) and special events like workshops, tutorials, excursions?
  • Do you have to charge VAT? This depends mainly on the tax laws of the country where the event takes place.
  • Please note that if you have to charge VAT, this usually applies to all participants (also from overseas) as they “consume” the “service” in the country and it is not “exported” to their home countries.

Payment Options

  • Identify the required payment options in time! It can take weeks to get all the required documents to open the bank account and/or the credit card merchant account.
  • Bank Transfer: If you are within the EU and/or expect mainly participants from your country, you should offer bank transfer, as this is usually the cheapest payment option.
  • Credit Cards: If you expect many participants from overseas or the US, you should offer credit card payments, too. To accept credit cards you need an “acquirer account”. For electronic credit card processing, you also need a merchant (e-commerce) gateway. Both cost setup and monthly fees. Furthermore, credit card processing fees are about 3-7% of the transferred amount. Please note that credit card payments may be cancelled by the participant up to 60 days after payment and that some people use stolen cards numbers to get in for “free”, e.g. an invitation to the country where the conference is organized.
  • PayPalSkrill (Moneybookers) and Google Checkout are a comparably cheap option to receive credit card payments.
  • Cash: Do only offer Cash payments for people who register at the conference site or shortly before the event, otherwise you face the risk that these people do not show up and – of course – do not pay.
  • Cheque Payments: Are still common in some Anglo-Saxon countries (UK, USA, Canada, Australia).

Communicate Regularly with all Involved People

  • Do not only send mails to promote your event, also send reminder mails to the persons registered in the system for submission deadlines, review deadlines, and payments.

Conference Scheduling

  • Consider breaks between the sessions (see below).
  • Try to synchronize the talks in the different sessions so people might switch between sessions.
  • Have a look at the available rooms and the size of the rooms in time. Try to figure out, how many people are going to attend at the different sessions (for instance by providing questions on the main interests of the participants on the registration form). Consider the expected participant numbers when you assign the sessions to the rooms.
  • If a speaker does not show up or cannot do the presentation, have a backup plan. This is especially important for the main sessions.


  • If not obvious, provide extra signs for the bathrooms.
  • For an ordinary break 30 min. is fine (45 minutes if you offer finger food), for lunch breaks usually 1.5 hours are appropriate.
  • During breaks always offer beverages (also water, tea and coffee) and smaller snacks like cookies (better: small pastries) and fruits.
  • Remember that some guests may have special dietary requirements (e.g. for vegetarians, people with religious restrictions or medical restrictions like allergies)
  • Exhibitions: An exhibition (art, design, etc.) which fits to the conference programme is always  a welcome diversion. If you place it close to the catering, the participants will enjoy the breaks even more.
  • Rule of thumb: Catering is always the one thing people will remember about an event if it is not satisfying.

Social Programme

  • Have an opening reception with snacks and drinks to welcome all participants.
  • Every conference should offer at least one social event, where participants can get together in a less formal setting.
  • If your event lasts for several days, find sponsors for extra social events hosted by them.
  • Offer excursions, trips, virginia beach strippers, and/or guided tours to allow participants to see interesting locations close to the venue. Try to offer excursions that suit to the subject of the conference.

Student Volunteers (SVs)

  • For most events  a student volunteer program brings many benefits: They help at the registration desk, take pictures, are in the session rooms to check if everything is running smoothly and help participants whenever they have a question (“Where are the restrooms?”, “When does Session B5 start?”, “Where and when can I prepare my talk?”)
  • The costs are low compared to the value for the organizers: usually they get a free registration, free lunch and/or a special evening event. Some larger events even offer accommodation for SVs.

Registration Desk

  • The registration desk is the first place participants have to find, so put up signs for people to find it.
  • Student volunteers are now required to lead the people to the right places. If they wear colourful T-shirts with the conference logo, everyone will recognize them.
  • If possible, open the registration desk already the afternoon before the event starts, so people can check-in early. First, this works as test run for you, and secondly it reduces the stress during the main registration phase.
  • Prepare as much as possible! Pack bags with all the things people are going to get when they arrive. Print all name tags (but let the participants put their name badge into the cover themselves).
  • Order the name tags by surname or by user ID. The latter has the advantage that you can simply add tags for later registrants at the end.
  • If people have not already paid when they arrive, prepare to receive payments by cash (have change!), credit card or similar. It is useful to know where to find the next bank / cash point (ATM).
  • Print out statements with attendance confirmations that have to be signed by participants who paid very lately and where they confirm their payment.
  • Provide your staff and student volunteers with information about network access, breaks, bathrooms etc. People also ask the “obvious” things that are written in the conference leaflet.
  • Have extra maps and programs at the desk available (at least on request!).
  • Separate network access for the registration desk is advisable, as many participants at the event might slow down internet access severely. Also think of FAX and telephone, however, today mobile phones and e-mail can replace these devices.
  • Have backup information about the participants, e.g. printout of all lists. If the computer network fails, this might be very helpful.
  • Have a list of all important organizers with mobile phone numbers at the desk.

Participant Support (Travel and Accommodation)

  • Provide information on how to travel to the conference location at good costs. If possible arrange special rates with an airline for the participants of your event.
  • In most cases it is not advisable to make the hotel reservations for the participants. It may give you a lot of trouble in case of cancellations and changes. It is usually far easier  to contact the tourist board in time and to negotiate special rates for some hotels and give this information to your participants.
  • Exception: it might be appropriate to help the invited speakers with their hotel reservation, especially if the organizers pay for it.
  • Acclimatisation: foreign participants will estimate the location much more if you inform them in advance about traditions, and customs and of course about sightseeing possibilities.

Further Hints

  • Try to act ecology-minded, we have only one world!
  • Remember that you might need to provide interpreters for certain sessions.
  • Provide Signposting: Traffic control ( ‘how to find us’), registration desk, car parks, bus stops, taxi stands (with phone number), social event location, bathrooms, etc.

Conference Wrap-Up

  • Always remember: „After the conference is before the conference“. Either you or others will organize another event and may benefit from your experiences.
  • Distribute questionnaires at the conference, or use an online tool to get feedback from the participants.
  • Things to Analyse:
    • Achievement of objectives
    • Revenues and expenses
    • Evaluation of the participants
    • Opinions of your team
    • Ups and downs
    • Budgets
    • Return on Investment of all involved parties
  • Material to Distribute:
    • Fotos of the conference and the social events
    • Thank-you letters to helpers and organizers
    • Press reports and conference statements

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