• 1.304.422.3131
  • 320 Market St., Parkersburg, WV


Ten Tips when Planning Your Conference – PLUS ONE BONUS TIP!

10 Tips When Planning Your Conference, Plus One Bonus Tip!

Organizing a conference is rewarding when you see all of your hard work and planning come together for the day or days of your event. Planning such an event can also be challenging, which is where we come in. The Blennerhassett Hotel and Spa is Parkersburg’s premiere event center. We encourage you to scroll through our portfolio of upcoming and year-round in-house events! Also, please reference our two in-house annual conferences, Women’s Weekend and Appalachian ParaCon.

Choose The Blennerhassett Hotel and Spa as your WV conference venue!

Parkersburg is a great city to host your event. The Mid-Ohio Valley is full of diverse dining, historic sights, and from May through October attendees can opt to travel to Blennerhassett Island via ferry. Learn more about our area here. We suggest also checking out the Actors Guild of Parkersburg and The Smoot Theatre to see what live performances they may be planning that coincide with your event!

Luggage Packing

Our hotel is located within a day trip’s travel distance from many major cities:

Regional MOV Airport Direct Flights: (subject to change)
Charlotte, NC
Beckley, WV

Charleston’s Yeager Airport Direct Flights: (subject to change)
Charlotte, NC
Washington, DC
Chicago, IL
Atlanta, GA
Orlando, FL
Charleston, SC

City distance from The Blennerhassett Hotel and Spa by car:

Athens, OH 0 hr 42 mins
Columbus, OH 1 hr 49 mins
Cincinnati, OH 3 hr 17 mins
Cleveland, OH 3 hr 30 mins
Pittsburgh, PA 2 hr 20 mins
Cumberland, MD 2 hr 51 mins
Wheeling, WV 1 hr 37 mins
Morgantown, WV 1 hr 54 mins
Charleston, WV 1 hr 16 mins
Beckley, WV 2 hr 32 mins
Huntington, WV 1 hr 58 mins

Ten tips to help you plan the perfect conference:

To help ensure your conference is a success, here are ten tips to keep in mind when planning a conference at The Blennerhassett Hotel and Spa in downtown Parkersburg, WV.

1. Start Early: The earlier you start planning your conference, the better. We are a boutique hotel, which means we can fill up quickly, especially during peak seasons, so it’s important to reserve your space as soon as possible. The Blennerhassett Hotel and Spa offers a wide variety of event space. You can rent a specific room or rooms, or the entire hotel including the restaurant.

generic calendar

2. Create a Detailed Itinerary: A detailed itinerary can help attendees know what to expect and plan their schedules accordingly. Make sure to include information about speakers, workshops, and other activities.

Womens Weekend Itinerary

3. Plan Breakout Rooms: Consider your need for additional breakout rooms when planning your event space needs. These will allow your attendees to have breakout sessions, smaller meetings where attendees can discuss, brainstorm and collectively focus as a team. Breakout sessions are an excellent option for nearly every conference, as they encourage attendee engagement and let teams narrow down on a particular topic.

Breakout Room Teamwork

4. Offer Unique Experiences: Take advantage of our boutique hotel’s unique features and surroundings to create memorable experiences for attendees. With The Blennerhassett Hotel and Spa, your options are endless!
Consider offering yoga as part of your retreat.
We offer our guests spa services including Repêchage Skin Care and Facials, relaxing massages, body treatments and more!
The Charleston Ballroom on the first floor can incorporate a dance floor with life music or a DJ. Those renting the restaurant may use the outdoor stage for music and/or presentations. 

Maggie Fekete

5. Provide High-Quality Catering: You want your conference to be a reflection of your organization. Trust the exceptional culinary team at The Blennerhassett Restaurant & Lounge for both on and off-site catering! Food is an important aspect of any conference, and The Blennerhassett Hotel and Spa features exceptional dining options that will leave guests glad you chose downtown Parkersburg for your conference or retreat. Work with our fine catering team to create a menu that meets your attendees’ dietary needs and preferences. Fill out a catering request form here.

High Quality Parkersburg Catering

6. Make Plans to Streamline Your Process: If this is your first conference then you don’t yet have an established baseline of what to expect. Think about the processes and systems that you can use to decrease overall hours spent on logistics. For instance, some conferences choose to have vendor fees paid at the time of application so that organizers don’t have to spend time later on reaching out for payment. While this might not be suitable for all needs, having processes in place like requiring up-front payment can let you spend your valuable time where it matters most.

7. Offer Networking Opportunities: Attendees often attend conferences to network and make connections. Provide opportunities for attendees to meet and interact, such as cocktail receptions or speed networking events.
Consider holding an informal meet & greet the night before. Attendees traveling to your conference will begin to arrive the evening prior to the event. Check-in time at The Blennerhassett Hotel and Spa is at 3 PM. We offer a private room for rent, as well as a cash bar with hors d’oeuvres or a plated dinner from our talented chefs.
Guests may also congregate in The Lounge, but please be advised that seating is first-come-first-served so we cannot guarantee all of your guests will be able to find seating if you have a large event.
Click here to see our current beer & wine options (subject to change with availability & season)

8. Market:

  • Demystify all uncertainty by explaining everything on your event webpage. Who will be speaking, and on what topics? What can be expected? Carefully construct your page to answer who, what, when, where and why. Readers find it easier to simply move on rather than ask questions, so be sure to have all of the answers in one place.
  • If your conference is annual, plan to leave your website up year-round so that you can show off events and photos from the prior year while collecting emails from interested potential attendees before tickets go live.
  • On social media, tag and encourage sponsors, vendors, speakers and organizations affiliated with the event to encourage them to share. For Appalachian ParaCon we created a graphic for each of the speakers. Not only does this encourage your speakers to share the graphic to their audience, it solidifies your event to be perceived as professional because attendees can see you are invested in your conference’s success.
  • Network. Find similar events, conferences, or organizations to your event and use this to build relationships.
Marketing digitally

9. Have a Backup Plan: We will work with you to develop a backup plan in case something goes wrong. Make sure you have contingency plans in place for unforeseen events such as inclement weather.

Make a plan before you take action sign

10. Communicate: Ensure you are collecting email addresses from attendees. About two weeks before, re-send all details including the itinerary, hotel check-in time (3 PM), and parking (Located behind the hotel, marked with Blennerhassett signs; complimentary valet parking is available during select hours).

Communication blocks phone, social media, email

11. BONUS! Follow up with Attendees: After the conference, follow up with attendees to gather feedback and measure success. Use this information to improve future events and strengthen relationships with attendees.

Feedback figurine with a thought bubble

Are you ready to see what The Blennerhassett Hotel and Spa’s professional Events Team can do for your organization?

Did this article add value to your business or organization? Let us host your next event. Use the form above or call our Events team at 304.865.8658


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