Organising a corporate event can be a challenge, making sure everything is perfect can mount on the pressure. From venue type to catering and parking to event equipment, there is a lot to be considered when booking a conference room. Beginning the process can be daunting but we are here to guide you through the journey. Events are our business, so we can share the wisdom of our experience. From launching a brand-new conference venue just months before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, to the here and now where events are booming, we’ve got plenty of conferencing tips to share.
First, focus on task at hand; maybe you are booking a conference room to celebrate team success, launching an exciting new product, or hosting a stakeholder event. Whatever the reason, read our top tips to organising a stellar event, starting with the right conference room.
Budget is the foundation of planning an event. Knowing exactly how much you have to play with will, from the outset, help you utilise every penny. Although many people feel a budget can be restrictive, it is a useful tool when it comes to narrowing down aspects such as venue, guests, and catering. The more structured your budget, the better. Having an exact idea of your maximum amount also allows more flexibility for negotiation.
Once you have an initial plan in place, put together rough cost estimates – try calling venues for ballpark figures – and your priorities and must-haves will soon become clear.
The conference room itself is a crucial factor in setting the tone of your event. If this is a business event that needs to impress, perhaps potential business partners will be attending, it is important you rent a conference room that will knock their socks off.
The venue sets the standard for the entire event, from arrival. A historic venue may be ideal for heritage brands though, be warned, they can be on the chilly side during colder months! Old buildings tend to be expensive to maintain so visit any historic venue before committing to renting a conference room to be sure of high standards. Modern venues that can cater for both small and large events can be hard to come by. To reflect progressive corporate values, new to market products, or a forward thinking business ethos, look for a contemporary conference room.
Consider the itinerary for your event when viewing conference room layouts. Is there room to accommodate your plans and number of guests? Additional meeting rooms are useful for conducting private meetings around the main event, and quiet breakout areas make the ideal respite area for guests.
Accessibility is an essential factor to consider when booking a conference room. It is important that every guest at your event is made to feel welcome. Wheelchair users in particular often face restrictions in their day to day lives due to inaccessible buildings and facilities. Make sure you book a conference room that provides unrestricted access to everyone.
There’s no point booking a conference room that half your guests can’t feasibly get to. Consider those arriving by train, bus, car, and airplane. Ensure the location has good transport links with a selection of nearby hotels to suit a range of budgets.
Parking is a must-have. Arriving at an event to find there is no parking can be frustrating for guests, especially if it ends up making them late. Ensure there is plenty of free parking available with your conference room booking so those who are travelling by car aren’t hit by eye-watering parking charges.
As obvious as it may seem when you’re looking to rent a conference room, having a date in mind is important. If you have flexibility on the date of the event, having a few key dates in mind is always handy at the quotation stage. Furthermore, certain days might be cheaper. This could be a real bonus for your budget so be sure to ask the venue if prices vary according to day of the week or season.
Make a list of your key guests and check when they have holidays and commitments near the intended date of your event. Understanding your minimum and maximum expected number of guests will also help when it comes to considering venue capacity. A key detail to consider is ensuring all guests can be seated comfortably at the venue.
Find a conference venue that offers all the services you need for your event. For instance, look for on-site catering facilities to ease the stress of hiring a caterer. Draw up a list of venues that support all your needs. These factors are ideally included at the initial quotation stage:
- Technology e.g., presentation screens, microphones
- Break out rooms
- Event planning support
- Front of house staff.
Hungry guests aren’t happy guests! Catering and drink services are a necessity when hosting a conference. Enquire with venues about what catering services they offer:
- Do they have on-site catering facilities?
- Are there menu options?
- What can you get for your budget?
- Will your guests enjoy available dishes?
- Are food allergies and dietary requirements accommodated?
- Are there options for low-cost and premium catering?
Finally, check out conference room reviews. Organisers of previous events will most likely highlight any problems they experienced with a venue’s service, such as catering. Google and Trustpilot are the most likely places to find reviews; see what others think of your conference room shortlist.
Booking a Conference Room Checklist:
- Number of guests
- Date of event
- Catering requirements
- Dietary requirements
- Parking and public transport
- Conferencing equipment
- Event planning support
- Positive reviews.
The Wow Factor
Looking for the perfect conference room in Sheffield? The OEC ticks all the boxes: fully accessible, plenty of free parking and good transport links, range of quality catering options, event equipment and linkable technology so presentations are delivered seamlessly, and a team who have got your back.
Greet your guests with a stunning façade and a red carpet arrival at OEC Sheffield. The wow factor continues throughout this contemporary venue, purpose built for events in 2019, and finished to a high standard.