Night view ChicagoThere aren’t many phrases in life that sound more bland than “business conference.” These two words bring to mind images of serious professionals clustering in dull ballrooms or amphitheaters for lectures and presentations for entire weekends, with breaks only for sleep, fruit punch and prepackaged sandwiches.

Of course, this atmosphere exists for a reason: there’s often a lot of material to fit into a successful business conference, and that demands efficiency attention. But to truly host a great and successful business conference, it’s important to keep things interesting, as well as productive. With that in mind, here are 5 tips for hosting just such a conference.

1. Choose An Interesting Location

The #1 thing that makes a business conference a dull affair is a dull location. Simply finding the most convenient venue is generally a bad way to start. Instead, try to think of a location that will get attendees excited to be there, and that will hold their interest. One fun example to consider is even to choose one of the classier Vegas resorts, such as the ARIA, where there are entire services and venues dedicated specifically to business needs. Vegas is a strong example because it can suit your conference needs, but it’s always a fun visit for attendees.

2. Prepare Venues In Advance

Choosing a venue isn’t enough when it comes to preparing a business conference. You’ll also need to make sure that the specific rooms and parts of the venue you’ll be using are properly prepared. At many resorts and nicer venues, you can talk to representatives who work to assist you in planning everything from your schedule, to any technology you may need, and even how many chairs you’ll require, and how they’ll be organized. Having these steps taken care of in advance leads to a well-organized and efficient convention.

3. Provide A Clear Schedule & Agenda

Providing guests with a detailed schedule is perhaps the best way to keep people interested and attentive. Poorly executed business conferences tend to drag on, and things can become a bit monotonous and boring. Try to offer a clear schedule that breaks up meetings and conference events with entertainment and/or free time in between. And, most importantly, show this schedule to your guests clearly and well in advance, so that they can plan something of a vacation around conference events.

4. Take Advantage Of Technology

Another common issue with dull or boring business conferences is that they consist entirely of speakers. Try to use technology to break things up a bit, and keep guests interested. Whether this means bringing in a guest speaker through video conference, showing videos or presentations on a projector, or even distributing iPads for individual use related to conference needs, finding a way to implement technology keeps things a bit more exciting for guests.

5. Suggest Activities For Down Time

Finally – particularly if, as discussed, you choose an entertaining location like Las Vegas – suggest a few activities for down time during the conference. As host, it is your duty to provide conference attendees with all they need to maximize their time. A list of nearby restaurants, shows, and other entertainment can set your conference apart quite effectively. Plus, guests who are able to relax and stay entertained between meetings will often be more productive during the business side of things!

*Disclosure: the company providing this content has a client relationship with or its affiliated entities.