Conference Planning Checklist

The California conference planning experts at Stanford Sierra Conference Center at Fallen Leaf Lake understand that a successful meeting is the product of thoughtful organization and adhering to a detailed schedule. From beginning to end, the Stanford Sierra team will help your group plan an inspiring, fun, and educational meeting at Fallen Leaf Lake. Use this Conference Planning Checklist to begin actualizing your meeting at Stanford Sierra or download the printable version.

12 Months to Conference
Budget & Finances Establish a budget for your meeting.
Venue & Accommodations Contact Stanford Sierra about available spring or fall dates for an all-inclusive conference package with meeting rooms, meals, and accommodations for groups of 25 180 participants. Meal options include a wide variety of gourmet menus, networking cocktail hour appetizers and beverages, coffee break snacks, and more. From buffet style meals to full-service dining, Stanford Sierra can cater to your group’s day-to-day needs. Once dates are set, finalize the event contract with details such as the appropriate number of meeting rooms and cabins, and return with initial deposit to Stanford Sierra.
Conference Programming & Administrative Tasks Develop a conference theme. Create a list of sessions, lectures, and activities, and compile a list of potential meeting speakers and participants.
11 Months to Conference
Speakers’ Arrangements Contact potential meeting speakers about participating.
Outdoor Recreation & Entertainment Discuss activities and outdoor recreation options with Stanford Sierra. Options include guided hikes, kayaking, yoga classes, pontoon boat rides, volleyball games, tennis matches, and more.
Outdoor Recreation & Entertainment Discuss evening entertainment options with Stanford Sierra. Choose from unique, fun activities, including disco bingo, beach sing-a-longs, and lakeside bonfires with s’mores. If your budget allows, consider hiring a local entertainer or adventurer such as Rick Gunn, the Soulcycler.
10 Months to Conference
Marketing If applicable, design a brand identity for your meeting.
9 Months to Conference
Speakers’ Arrangements Confirm speaker attendance and discussion topics.
Conference Programming & Administrative Tasks Draft the conference program of events and activities.
8 Months to Conference
Travel Arrangements Begin making travel arrangements for conference administrators, speakers, and other important participants. Stanford Sierra offers an airport shuttle service as part of our all-inclusive conference packages.
Speakers’ Arrangements Send email to speakers with information on their travel arrangements, accommodations, speaking times, and other important conference details.
Marketing Begin writing and designing the meeting invitation, welcome letter, program of events, thank you letter, meeting evaluation, and other pertinent print documents.
7 Months to Conference
Speakers’ Arrangements Request a biography and a photo from speakers to use on the meeting website.
Marketing Build a meeting website, if applicable. Link to the Stanford Sierra site.
Marketing Add speaker bios and photos to the website along with the program agenda.
6 Months to Conference
Venue & Accommodations Pay the second deposit to Stanford Sierra.
Marketing Launch the meeting website.
Outdoor Recreation & Entertainment Finalize schedule of guided hikes, group kayaking outings, and other daytime recreation. Consider setting aside time for meeting participants to explore Fallen Leaf Lake on their own.
Outdoor Recreation & Entertainment Finalize schedule of evening entertainment. Leave some evenings free so meeting participants can gather informally in one of the cozy rooms with fireplace in Stanford Sierra’s main lodge.
5 Months to Conference
Conference Programming & Administrative Tasks Decide how to kick off the meeting. Stanford Sierra encourages groups to take advantage of the location and camp-like environment by scheduling an outdoor icebreaker or fun activity as the first event on the schedule. Introductory activities can range from classic camp games to a specially designed team-building activity hosted by an outside facilitator.
Conference Programming & Administrative Tasks Continue to edit the conference’s program as updates occur. Work towards finalizing the program.
Marketing Decide on a gift bag item. Consider reusable water bottles printed with your meeting or organization’s logo. Stanford Sierra has partnered with CamelBak in providing quality reusable water bottles. At Stanford Sierra’s altitude, drinking water is vital, and meeting attendees will appreciate having the bottles for guided hikes!
4 Months to Conference
Marketing Send out emails to prospective participants about registering for the meeting, and begin accepting registration on the meeting website.Be sure to ask registrants about any dietary needs for meals and mobility accommodations for their lodging.
Marketing Start compiling gift bag items.
Venue & Accommodations Determine dining room table decor, and welcome items to be placed in attendees’ cabins, if applicable.
Dining Confirm dining, coffee break snacks and beverages, and other food selections with Stanford Sierra.
Speakers’ Arrangements Request from speakers a complete list of presentation needs that includes meeting room layout and furniture, A/V equipment, etc.
3 Months to Conference
Conference Programming & Administrative Tasks Finalize the conference program.
Marketing Update the meeting website with the updated program.
Venue & Accommodations Determine need for conference signage.
Marketing If needed, begin designing conference signage.
Venue & Accommodations Determine volunteer needs and finalize A/V equipment needs, tables and chairs, other furniture, and meeting room needs.
Marketing Print the meeting invitation, welcome letter, thank you letter, meeting evaluation, and other pertinent print documents.
Marketing Upon receiving the meeting invitation, mail it to potential meeting participants.
Attendees Contact attendees about airport shuttle needs and encourage them to schedule their shuttle with SSCC.
2 Months to Conference
Marketing If applicable, design conference signage.
Marketing Print conference signage.
Marketing Complete design of the conference program, and send to the printer.
Venue & Accommodations Use the lodging chart provided by SSCC, and begin assigning cabins to conference administrators, speakers, and participants. When participants arrive, the SSCC team will direct guests to the correct cabin.
Venue & Accommodations Use the schedule template provided by SSCC, and begin adding details to the event schedule including times, seating arrangements and A/V needs for meetings, and food & beverage needs for social hours and dinners.
Speakers’ Arrangements Send out a reminder email to speakers with details on their travel arrangements and speaking schedule.
1 Month to Conference
Marketing Send out a reminder email to participants.
Venue & Accommodations Use the schedule template provided by SSCC as a working document and continue to add details to the event schedule.
Venue & Accommodations If you are providing wine and beer at your event’s social hours and dinners, email wine and beer selections to Stanford Sierra.
2 Weeks to Conference
Marketing Begin assembling gift bags and conference information packets.
Attendees If applicable, compile an attendee list. Create and print attendee name tags.
Venue & Accommodations Share lodging assignments with Stanford Sierra.
Venue & Accommodations Share the final schedule with Stanford Sierra including presentation needs from the speakers, meeting room layout, A/V equipment, attendee number at each event, etc.
1 Week to Conference
Marketing Send out a reminder email to participants.
Marketing Double check quantity of gift bags and information packets.
Conference Programming & Administrative Tasks Meet with volunteers, if possible, to discuss jobs and tasks.
Dining Update Stanford Sierra with any last-minute changes to the attendee list.
Week of Conference or Meeting
Travel Arrangements Prepare to field calls and emails from speakers and attendees with travel changes or other last-minute issues.
Conference Programming & Administrative Tasks Enjoy the schedule of events!
Outdoor Recreation & Entertainment Meeting participants and speakers go on a guided hike up the Church Trail to Angora Lakes.
Outdoor Recreation & Entertainment For the afternoon break on the next day, attendees head to the boat dock and take out a kayak, stand-up paddle board, pedal boat, or rowboat.
Outdoor Recreation & Entertainment After the sun has set, attendees go on a stargazing pontoon boat ride on Fallen Leaf Lake or enjoy a lakeside bonfire and s’mores.
Week After Meeting
Speakers’ Arrangements Send thank you letters to speakers.
Attendees Send thank you letters to attendees.
Budget & Finances Review bills and make payments.
Conference Programming & Administrative Tasks Review evaluation forms. Discuss successes and ways to improve the next conference.

For more details on our customized and all-inclusive conference packages, contact the corporate event planning experts at Stanford Sierra Conference Center. We are happy to assist you and your team with developing a successful California conference. Contact Stanford Sierra meeting specialists at (530) 542-5600.