27 Aug Conference facilities: what you need for an ideal conference
So you’ve picked the theme of your conference, selected which subjects to cover within your theme, and decided which organisations and official bodies to collaborate with. Now you need to decide what facilities you’ll need to make your conference a success. A plethora of options are available, but you need to narrow them down and focus precisely on what your event needs. You wouldn’t want to risk overspending your budget or running a seemingly half-empty event! Here are a few notes to help you plan your conference facilities to make your event a great success.
Factors to plan your conference facilities
Conferences come in all shapes and sizes, making it virtually impossible to create a standard blueprint for your conference facilities. A number of factors need to be taken into account when planning facilities for your event:
- Naturally, the first consideration is how big is your event? You wouldn’t provide the same space for a 1000-capacity conference as you would for a 5000+ event. The risks of over-compensating include over-budgeting or running what might seem to be a poorly attended event! You want to provide plenty of space for your attendees – make sure to check minimum legal requirements – but be careful not to over-estimate attendance. Take into account days when you would expect peak attendance and days with fewer visitors.
- Secondly, what presentation formats will you have at your event? Do you need one of more auditoria to host large numbers of attendees for your panel talks? Do you need many rooms to deliver smaller presentations? Do you require private video conferencing? What about poster sessions? Are you planning on hosting dinner events? etc.
- Thirdly, will you organise an exhibition alongside your conference programme? If yes, you’ll need sufficient exhibition space. Here again many questions come up: how many exhibitors will you have? What sizes of stands will you provide? Are you looking for a venue that can provide their own modular stands? etc.
What conference facilities are needed for a perfect conference?
When searching for a venue for your conference, you should at the very least expect the following amenities: one or more presentation rooms or auditoria with a stage area and microphone/PA system; a catering area and team; a registration desk. Of course, this is the absolute bare minimum needed for small sized conferences. Below we list more of the conference facilities you should consider for your event:
An auditorium is particularly necessary at larger conferences. It is used to host the most popular panel discussions or presentations where organisers expect peak attendance. As with all conferences, auditoria come in different sizes. FIBES, for example, has a number of auditoria ranging from 340-capacity to 1940-capacity.
These rooms serve a number of purposes. Some of their uses include: hosting panel talks and presentations, private meetings and round-table talks, VIP rooms, press rooms, video conferencing, etc.
Conference organisers often run an exhibition alongside the conference programme. This allows organisations and companies to display their brand and to engage on a personal level with attendees. In smaller events, fixed-size stands are provided with tables, chairs, and panels to hang posters at the very least. Larger events offer variable sized modular stands in large exhibition halls.
Parking is not always provided, but is something you need to consider if public transport is not readily available for your attendees. Make sure enough spaces are provided or alternate parking areas are clearly indicated if spaces fill up.
Whether you’re running an afternoon event or a 4-day conference, you’ll need to provide food and drinks to your visitors. A catering area and team need to be at hand. Catering areas also provide a great environment for informal meetings.
Every event needs a registration desk and team manning it. You may also want to have a cloakroom where attendees can store luggage if they’re planning an overnight stay when travelling to your event.
Parking is obviously necessary for delegates travelling by car, but many delegates will opt for public transport especially if travelling internationally (take note when planning your international conference). Your conference venue needs to have quick and easy access to main railway stations, airports, and taxi services.
As we mentioned earlier in this post, conferences come in all shapes and sizes. Venues need to cater to most types of events and offer a wide spectrum of conference facilities to allure MICE event organisers. For a more detailed example of the different sizes of auditoria and exhibition halls that you would expect in a conference centre, check FIBES Conference and Exhibition Centre’s state-of-the-art premises on this website.