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UPenn Hospitality Services - Dining, Conference Services, Summer Housing

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Sample Timelines


Hospitality Services is ready to coordinate every detail from facilities to the fine touches it takes for a stellar conference, meeting, and/or event here on campus.

The Ultimate Timetable

Here you will find information to make your job easier - at least to schedule. Please feel free to use this guide wherever and whenever you'd like. Remember, it is only a recommended course of action and certain content may not consistently be appropriate for all your needs.

  • Six Months Ahead:
    • Prepare a budget
    • Plan the program, leaving sufficient time for speakers, breaks, & meals
    • Hold an initial meeting with all staff involved with the event
    • Confirm date of event
    • Set task assignments, determine responsibilities internally & with us
    • Confirm appropriate calendars in writing
    • Book/inspect the meeting site
    • Order, download or produce labels for mailing
    • Contact your preferred airline to establish group discount file. We can assist with this
    • Select designer to develop invitation and draft text
    • Hire a photographer if desired
    • Secure accommodations/special needs, including dietary for guest speakers and VIPs
    • Arrange publicity for event if desired
    • Secure transportation and parking
    • Send save the date mailing if necessary
    • Arrange staff travel and accommodations
    • Decide on music, flowers and special effects
  • Six Weeks Ahead
    • Confirm meal and break menus
    • Confirm room set-up in writing. Include a diagram of how the room should look
    • Contact speakers and offer to reproduce any handouts they are distributing. Confirm topics, length of presentation, audiovisual equipment requirements, as well as the day, date, time and location of the meeting
    • Order signs and printed materials
    • Order gifts and amenities
    • Mail the agenda, suggested dress and other instructions including information on parking and a campus map to participants
    • Submit preliminary rooming list to Conference Services
    • Mail invitations (Anywhere from 6-8 weeks prior to event)
  • Three weeks ahead
    • Stuff registration packets
    • Finalize menu
    • Finalize floral arrangements and decor
    • Finalize musical arrangements
    • Finalize entertainment and photographer
  • One week to 10 days ahead
    • Call speakers to confirm all logistical arrangements and to check if they have any adjustments. If there is a change in anticipated attendance, let them know. Provide them with any background information you have on those attending.
    • Pack all materials needed at the meeting site. These may include pads, pencils or pens, name tags, easels and markers, handouts.
    • Confirm meal and beverage counts
    • Confirm audiovisual equipment and room setup
    • Prepare and print an evaluation for participants to rate the program
    • Arrange for honararia and payment of fees
    • Prepare alphabetical list of participants to have available at the event
    • Submit final room list
    • Follow-up calls to VIP guests who have not responded
    • Assign table seating, if necessary
    • Distribute guest list, print name tags, and order place cards
  • Three days ahead
    • Establish final guarantee for all food and beverage
    • Finalize guest list, print name tags, and order place cards
  • Day of
    • Review planning details and walk through the meeting site at least one hour prior
    • Make sure meeting materials have arrived
    • Check the setup for the presenters
    • Have staff on hand to help you greet those attending
    • Be prepared for last minute changes
    • Bring registration materials: guest list, name tags, printed (already in alphabetical order) and blank, table assignments, place cards, copies of all speakers notes and scripts, favors, and giveaways
    • Set up registration an hour before your event, anticipating the early arrival of some of your guests
    • Inform staff of the location of the rest rooms and pay phones and post staff at the entrance to welcome guests, staff should be in place at least 20 minutes before the scheduled start of the event
  • Follow-up
    • Write thank you notes to special guest and to those who helped out
    • Make notes for the file on what you would change next time and what worked well
    • Review evaluation forms