Throughout my career, I have been involved in conferences as an exhibitor, sponsor, attendee, volunteer, speaker, and host. No matter the role, conference days are long, but no other role is as demanding as being the conference host. In my association, we were often up at 5 AM and to bed at 1 AM for seven days straight. For big conferences, there are a few months build up with weeks before the meeting often being especially stressful — everyone on staff pitches in to help out with the conference in small to mid-size associations. Hosting a conference is a lot of work!
Some associations reward staff for their extraordinary effort by giving them an extra day at the conference venue, which is especially lovely if it is a resort-type property. Some associations let conference staff have a day or two off once everyone is home. Other associations close the whole office for a day or two.
Members understand when they see an out of office message saying, “our offices are closed today and tomorrow so staff can rest and recharge after a great annual conference. We will be back in the office the day after tomorrow totally rejuvenated. We look forward to connecting with you then!”