This scheduling timeline for a large international meeting and exhibit was adapted from a project management template, with 18 months lead time. There are typically more than 250 tasks on the template.

17-18 Months Out

  • Set objectives, meeting/exhibit dates, locale, theme, and format.

  • Conduct site visit.

  • Set preliminary budget.

  • Select freight company.

  • Negotiate hotel rates and blocks, sign hotel contracts.

  • Negotiate fares with official airline.

  • Select ground operator.

  • Select official car-rental agency.

  • Assemble exhibitor lists.

  • Set registration fees and policy.

  • Define promotional strategy.

  • Prepare first calendar notices and press releases for exhibit.

16 Months Out

  • Arrange insurance coverage.
  • Develop logo/graphics theme.
  • Select exhibit service contractor.
  • Establish exhibit space rates.
  • Produce exhibit floor plan.

14-15 Months Out

  • Invite and confirm key speakers.

  • Determine preliminary F&B requirements.

  • Negotiate menus and prices.

  • Select translation equipment, if needed.

  • Mail first exhibitor promotion, if needed.

  • Adjust exhibit floor plan (continuous).

  • Prepare and mail first meeting announcements and promotional materials to prospective attendees.

13 Months Out

  • Get speakers' AV needs.

6-7 Months Out

  • Produce and mail second promotion to prospective attendees.

  • Begin processing registration forms.

4-5 Months Out

  • Prepare and mail third promotion to prospective attendees.

  • Adjust budget.

  • Confirm AV and translation requirements.

  • Assign speaker locations/times.

2-3 Months Out

  • Adjust budget.

  • Open host-city bank account.

  • Finalize session schedule and room assignments.

  • Select and contract with AV supplier.

  • Produce and mail exhibitor services kits; include AV order form.

  • Finalize F&B schedule.

  • Finalize translation personnel and equipment, if needed.

  • Determine on-site staff needs.

  • Determine security needs.

  • Order office and communications equipment needed on-site.

  • Order signage.

  • Compile exhibitor directory.

  • Finalize on-site computer requirements for registration.

  • Review processing and billing activity with hotels.

1 Month to 6 Weeks Out

  • Print conference guide.
  • Print workbooks.
  • Submit daily schedule to hotels.
  • Produce badge and ticket stocks.

3 Weeks Out Through Day of Meeting

  • Set up on-site office.
  • Pack and inventory materials.
  • Assemble registration packets.
  • Finalize F&B guarantees.
  • Make pre-event preparations on-site.
  • Supervise meeting on-site.


  • Pack and inventory materials.
  • Reconcile finances.
  • Do a post-budget performance review.