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.


Post-Meeting

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