Organising a Conference – Part 1

Organising a conference can be a daunting and time consuming task. Most often the person responsible for organising the event is a PA or secretary and as such has a host of other responsibilities. Most often they are required to organise one or two events of this nature per year and while many of them do so quite efficiently, there are some who struggle with the task. This article will try to assist those who need some guidance to complete this task. It will cover a host of points to be considered from sourcing a conference venue to post conference feed-back. It will cover different areas in different articles and older articles can be found by browsing the archives or searching for the articles whose titles include “Organising a Conference”.
These articles have been written from a South African perspective, but are also relevant to other countries where the principles of organising a conference are the same.
In this week’s article we will cover budget when sourcing a conference venue.
Should readers want info or articles published on specific areas, please feel free to contact the writer and these will be considered.
There are several points to consider when sourcing a conference venue in South Africa. This week we will cover budget.
1. Budget
What are the venues costs and do they fit the budget allocated to the conference? When calling for quotes from venues one should be careful that all hidden costs are taken into account. Some points to note when calling for quotes should be: –

a) Do the rates include or exclude VAT? Most conference venues in South Africa quote including VAT but there are a few who quote excluding VAT. You can trip the VAT portion out to meet your company’s budget amount as this amount is normally ex VAT.
b) Do they include equipment requirements or is this extra? Most venues include standard equipment in their rates. Ensure that you know what this standard equipment includes and call for rates for any additional equipment you may require. For larger conferences you may need specialised equipment which may need to be outsourced to an outside company.
c) In the event that delegates will require accommodation, enquire if all meals have been included or is the accommodation rate quoted simply on a bed and breakfast basis. Some hotels quote room only rates, or bed and breakfast rates. Ensure that you know what they are quoting you and what meals it includes.
d) Does the Day Conference rate include all refreshments, venue hire etc.? A Day Conference Package Rate or DCP normally includes all teas and coffees, lunch, use of the venue, use of standard equipment and VAT. It is better to be quoted a DCP rate which includes all of this than to be quoted per tea / coffee session, lunch, room hire etc. as the chance of unexpected hidden cost arising is less. Also a packaged rate is normally slightly less than the sum of the parts.
e) Will rates increase before your conference? Often a conference is organised months in advance of the date. Ensure that the venue quotes you rates applicable to the time of year your conference will take place and not current rates which may be subject to annual increases.
f) Do rates include Tourism Levy? Tourism levy is a government tax levied on accommodation. It is levied at 1% of the ACCOMMODATION portion of the rate.
g) When delegates are staying overnight and accommodation is required, it is better to get a Fully Inclusive Rate or a 24 hour packaged rate. This will normally include all meals, accommodation, conference room hire, standard equipment, VAT, tourism levy etc. Some venues will quote a dinner, bed and breakfast rate and a DCP separately. Others may quote a bed and breakfast rate and a DCP rate but may unintentionally exclude a dinner rate. Make sure that you have budgeted for dinner for resident delegates and know exactly what you are getting for your rate.
h) When organising a conference where delegates will pay for their own accommodation, but the organisers will arrange transport to and from the venue, one should always include at least three official hotels ranging from 5 star accommodation to 3 star accommodation so as to provide suitable accommodation to a wide range of delegates. One should also take into account the distance of these hotels from the conference centre so as to limit transport costs.
In next week’s article we will cover the location of your chosen conference venue. In the meantime please feel free to comment and ask questions which may not have been covered in this article.

In this 2nd week’s article we will cover location and dates when sourcing a conference venue. Location and dates go hand in hand as most of the points to note depend on each other.
Should readers want info or articles published on specific areas, please feel free to contact the writer and these will be considered.

2. Location and dates
Some points to note when considering location of your conference venue are: –
a) How will delegates be commuting to the conference venue? If delegates will be driving, take into consideration driving time to avoid delegates arriving late. The programme or agenda should take this into account and be drafted accordingly.
b) If the host of the conference will be transporting delegates to and from the conference venue, call for quotes from transport companies or in house transfers to budget accordingly to get delegates to and from the venue timeously.
c) If delegates will be arriving and departing by air, take into account the frequency of flights on airlines to and from the destination. Some conference venues in South Africa have limited flights which may be more expensive than other destinations. They may also not run on, say for instance a Sunday, which will result in delegates staying an extra night or arriving a day early. Take this into account when setting your dates to ensure that you have a decent turnout at your conference.
d) Check what other conferences are taking place at the same venue or at the same destination as yours. Often delegates need to book their own accommodation and if many conferences are taking place simultaneously at the same destination (i.e. Sandton), hotel rooms may be in short supply and priced slightly higher than normal. Also commuting to the conference centre may be difficult if the conference overlaps with others at the same time in the same destination or venue.
e) It is always advisable to view the venue before confirming a reservation. Most hotels or conference venues in South Africa will gladly invite you on a site inspection to view their facilities and experience their service first hand. You should take up this offer in order to see, first-hand, what the food, the facilities and the service is like to ensure that your delegates will be comfortable and that the venue will work for your conference.
f) Take into account the time of year your conference will take place and the climate at that time, in that region, and advise delegates accordingly. You may be planning a lot of outdoor activities and it won’t help if it is the rainy season. Or you may be planning to do some white water rafting and it won’t help if it is cold.
g) Take into account school holidays. The venue may be a popular holiday destination and you may find that it is noisy and very busy with holiday makers. Rates may be higher too.
h) Some venues, in some areas, insist that you book for the whole weekend as they are primarily a leisure establishment. Try and change location or ensure that you are not setting dates over a weekend if this will cause a problem.
i) At the end of the day it is common sense, but I hope that this article will have at least given you one point to consider that you had not considered.

In next week’s article we will cover catering for your delegates. In the meantime please feel free to comment and ask questions which may not have been covered in this article.

From Family Weekend Breaks to Business Conferences… 13th Beach Resorts Are Great for Everything!

The 13th Beach area in Australia is famous for quite a few reasons. No, those are not the crystal-clear azure sea, golden beaches or excellent entertainment for the whole family, although each of those is a pretty good reason on its own. However, the most important reason for the popularity of the area is probably the resorts present here, which can serve as perfect venues for family weekend breaks and business conferences alike. On one hand, vacationers are bound to love the various ways of de-stressing offered by these resorts, while on the other, event managers will love the conference centre resorts, which offer every facility that they could ever ask for.

Why 13th Beach is perfect for family weekend breaks

Family vacations are a whole lot more fun at the 13th Beach. The sea here is perfect for engaging in water sports and the sun-kissed, golden beach offers plenty of opportunities to go for a sunbath. The close proximity of 13th Beach Golf Links ensures that families wishing to hit a few birdies would not have to travel for long. There are two golf courses in the resort, the beach course and the creek course, which allows players to choose the one that closely matches their skill levels. Besides, every resort here on 13th Beach offer catered meals, quiet atmosphere to help guests relax and room service to take care of their every needs. What more could vacationer ask for?

Conference centre resorts on 13th Beach are great for any type of events

13th Beach has many conference centre resorts that help event organisers make arrangements for any kind of event. The resorts that deserve special mention here are the ones located near Geelong. Function rooms in these resorts are equipped with state of the art conferencing facilities, including high quality speakers, microphones and sound amplifiers, which allow speakers to address all delegates without straining their voices. Also, every room in conference centre resorts located in the region is equipped with broadband Internet connection, which helps organisers stream the entire event, if necessary.

Weddings organised here can be truly memorable

Wedding is among the sweetest memories of just about anyone’s life and resorts on 13th Beach can make those truly special. Whether the bride and groom want a small, private ceremony or a large one with hundreds of guests, resorts located in the region are always ready to serve. There is something inherently charming about getting married on the beach. The way in which resort staff takes care of the guests’ every needs just provides one more reason for choosing these resorts for wedding ceremonies.

13th Beach has many resorts for visitors to choose from, whether they are on family weekend breaks or attending business conferences. The top class services and facilities offered by these places at affordable rates just provide one more reason for choosing these resorts. Visitors just need to check with the reception of the resort they wish to stay in, before visiting. Resorts in the area are often packed to capacity, and not confirming vacancy prior to showing up may lead to disappointment at times.

Find A Resort That Has An Excellent Business Conference Centre Now

Going away for business can be a catalyst for progress and a motivation for movement. Taking people out of their everyday environment into a relaxing and stimulating space can have a huge impact on productivity and interconnectivity. They are hauled out of their rut to stand atop the groove. The key is to find the perfect place, you need a business conference centre that has it all, somewhere that is conducive to concentration but is also refreshing and relaxing.

You need to find a resort that provides the perfect balance between concentration and relaxation, one with a purpose built venue area that is separate from the rest of the resort and has a number of separate conference rooms that can be adapted to your group’s needs. Look for business conference centre that has rooms filled with natural light, generous views and stunning beach scenes. The rooms should have comfortable and modular furnishings ensuring you can have the room in the most advantageous layout.

Look for a resort that has great facilities so that at the end of a hard day all your attendees can relax or unwind however they want. The resort should have a spa, golf course, tennis courts, pool and all the other leisure facilities your attendees will want to use while they are there. It is vital that the resort has great facilities so your attendees can enjoy themselves after a day of business. Whether they want to go out and play a game of golf or would rather unwind in the sauna, you need to find a place that has all the necessary activities for them.

A good conference, meeting or seminar is powered by delicious food and snacks which is why you need to choose a resort that has a top class restaurant onsite and can cater to all your needs, ensuring that your delegates are well looked after throughout the day and night.

Finally you want to find somewhere with nicely appointed rooms that are private and quiet. The rooms need to be well appointed and modern. Look for a resort that has all the mod cons you would expect including satellite TV, good beds, air con, huge accommodation space, a lounge area and their own private patio or balcony.

If you are planning a conference or business trip you need to find a resort that has everything you need, from excellent venues to great catering, from all the right facilities to nice and quiet rooms.

Travelling to a Business Conference Venue Leeds

Last week I had to travel to a business conference venue, Leeds and I have to admit that the whole day was quite pleasant. The journey up from London was quick and relatively trouble free, apart from having made the mistake of not booking a seat in the quiet zone of the train but thankfully there were not too many people around at the time to cause a disturbance.

When it comes to business conference venues, Leeds has some great places and the one to which I was traveling last week has to be among some of the best business conference venues which I have been to. The location was near to the city center and the place was easy to find as well as being only a short taxi ride from the station. The setting was lovely and you would be surprised at how much of a difference this makes. Somehow, no matter about the fact that you are going to be stuck in meetings inside all day, just arriving at a pretty location makes you feel better about having to attend a business conference venue in the first place.

The next important thing about a business conference venue, after the location, is the type and number of facilities which are on offer, both for the attending guests and for the company or individual hosting the event. For the guests, you need to ensure that there are rooms where they can relax for a little while as well as having access to food and drink, either in the form of vending machines and snack shops, or a fully functioning canteen area. The staff needs to be polite and knowledgeable as well as being friendly and professional, as this will create a good impression on the arriving clients.

For the hosts of the business meeting there are other considerations to keep in mind. They require up to date facilities and communications. There needs to be things like web conferencing and broadband access, as well as photocopying, faxing and other such facilities. There needs to be whiteboards and projectors, flip charts and all the various related stationary to make presentations. Some of the equipment which is available will be included in the price of the room hire but a lot of it will be available to hire at an added cost. Many business conference venuestry to entice clients by offering things such as free telephone packages and internet access, whereas others offer things such as relaxation facilities like games rooms, or TV lounges.

You will find that many business conference venues, Leeds and in other places, will have more than one size and style of room which can be used for holding meetings. This is because some people only require a small room holding a few guests, whereas some companies will need large rooms or auditoriums to hold meetings in for lots of people. The rates for these rooms will be set according to the size and the facilities provided.

Find the best in a NY conference center and hold out the best business conference!

Discussing monthly business matters will probably be the key factor for business owners to confer on how their company is going in the market and plan various projects and other business matters. But thanks to the recession, which for the record has been plaguing the entire world for some months now, these meetings are being held on a weekly and for some, daily basis just to be able to decide on the company’s future plans against such a global dilemma.

Of course, the future and stability of the company would lie on the proper and sufficient planning of future plans, or present solutions to problems that have already arisen, and would in turn would lie on the conference event. If you are the lucky/unlucky one to be tasked of spearheading the conference organizing committee, then you are definitely in it for good.

In almost everything, planning ahead can be the key to success €” and with this task, it is everything that can make or break you AND your conferential event. Needless to say, if you are given a deadline to beat, say a month, the moment you hear the task hammered to you will be the same moment you’ll utilize with which you’ll start planning. You can allot a mere week to the planning and formulating stage, but any more than that and you’re doomed, I tell you.

Surely, that will be the longest week of your entire company life: that’s because you’ll need to go out and bout almost everyday to finish procedures, contact guests, plan the time schedule, and the many other complicated things that altogether make up a great conference meeting. But the most important decision that you’ll be making would be the choosing of where you’re planning on holding the event itself. For this matter, an NY conference center should be your choice.

No place in all US can give the perfect ambience to discuss business matters than the Big Apple itself, where some of the country’s finest business firms have emerged and prospered. Apart from this comforting fact, an exhibition hall situated in busting NYC gives the conference goers the luxury of enjoying America’s premier city.

Of course, its prime location isn’t all that it has €” conference centers New York are to take their pride in their lavish interior design that not only provides sweet candies for the eyes, but provides great benefits for the actual benefits due to its professionally-looking and well spacious interior. Combining the ambient place with your event plans, you can just be sure that the conference will be a big success and will greatly please your boss/es €” and who knows, you might even get a promotion yourself!

InterCall Reservationless Plus Conferencing Service for Small Business Conference Calling

In today’s technologically-driven world, having the ability to reach out to potential and existing customers is essential to driving new sales opportunities and, ultimately, growing your business. And while traditional business travel has always been – and always will be – an option to branch out and expand your reach, it is not always feasible for smaller companies who are working on a limited budget. That’s where conferencing services come in.

Thanks to modern conferencing technology, you no longer have to be a large-scale enterprise with a significant amount of capital to reach customers and partners across the globe. Leading audio conferencing service providers, including PGi and InterCall®, have made hosting and joining a meeting easy and incredibly affordable – whether it’s from the comfort and convenience of your desk, or out on the road with your laptop, smartphone or tablet.

InterCall’s Reservationless-Plus® conferencing service allows you to meet with up to 125 participants without the need for reservations. The Microsoft® Outlook® Plug-In lets your create, schedule and edit your conferences with pre-determined information right from your Outlook toolbar. The mobile assistance lets you store your meeting details on your smartphone, and saves you the hassle of remembering your conference info by allowing you to join or start meetings with a single click.

At the time of the conference call, your participants simply dial your Reservationless-Plus dial-in number, enter the conference code followed by the # sign and they are brought into your conference. As the leader, you will have a separate conference code that will identify you as such. If security is a must for your conference, there is an optional security passcode you can add for your participants to enter prior to joining your conference.

Once your conference has started, you have a comprehensive list of keypad commands available, including: change entry/exit method (i.e. tones, recorded names, etc.), private roll call, private participant count, mute/un-mute one or multiple lines, dialing out to a participant, break into sub-conferences, lock/unlock conference, record your conference, disconnect all lines, etc. As always, if needed operator assistance is available 24/7.

About InterCall

InterCall is the world’s largest conferencing service provider and hosts calls for 84% of the Fortune 100. For the past two decades, InterCall has aided businesses in increasing productivity by saving time and money via its reliable and cost-efficient conferencing and collaboration solutions. For more information on InterCall conferencing solutions, visit our website today.

Business Conference in India – Select the Right Venue in a Luxury Business Hotel in Bhubaneswar

India is a fast emerging destination for international business conferences, meetings and different corporate events. Now, leading corporate groups, organizations and clubs from across the world prefer to book MICE tours in India for successful business meetings, conferences and different other corporate events.

Choosing a world-class event venue in India is the right decision because of having picturesque destinations to explore. In this way, business travelers not only focus on their meetings, but at the same time get a chance to explore some of the amazing destinations and attractions.

Contemporary Venues for Business Conferences in India âEUR” Choose the Best One in Bhubaneswar

The Temple City of India is certainly an ideal gateway for holidays in eastern part of India. Being the business, political and commercial hub of Odisha and Eastern India, Bhubaneswar lure entrepreneurs, business persons and professionals for business trip throughout the year. They look for some of the best accommodation options and contemporary venues for grand corporate gatherings, business meetings, seminars, product launching and business conferences in India.

If you are also one of them visiting the capital city of Odisha for business meetings or any other business purpose, then you have better options available in the city. MAYFAIR Convention, opposite of MAYFAIR Lagoon, is one of the luxurious business class hotel in Bhubaneswar offering the right contemporary venues for Business Conferences in India. The luxury business class hotel offers highly gracious convention halls in Bhubaneswar for organizing all kinds of formal and informal events in the successful way.

As far as conference and meetings venues in the 3-star hotel are concerned, they include Central Hall, Crystal Room, Board Room and Meeting Room. Elegantly decorated and world-class Central Hall and Crystal Room are spacious enough to accommodate more than 1200 guests for grand dinner, cocktail party, wedding reception, product launching and business conferences. The halls are treated to perfect and designed in such a way as to endow with flexibility for the accommodation of different seating arrangements.

For grand corporate gatherings, corporate events, social events, weddings and gala dinner parties or cocktail parties, the luxury hotel in Bhubaneswar is certainly an ideal gateway.
With an aim to make your business conferences successful, myriad of state of the art facilities and world-class services are provided. In the selected conference hall or meeting room, you will get all the modern equipments required for meeting like projector, phone service, internet connection, comfy seating arrangement and so on.

You have to just book the venue according to your requirement and rest of the work will be done by the hotel staff.

Pre-Plan Your Business Conferences To Get Great Results

Conferences are beneficial for both businesses that attend and hold the event. Attendees can use it as a networking opportunity, whereas the business in charge can use it to promote them and develop professional relationships. Types of conferences range from corporate ones which are held in grand halls, to more informal ones which are held in modern, funky and stylish looking rooms. Some will offer a full buffet for you to enjoy, whereas others will only provide tea and coffee. No matter what type of conference yours falls into, this article will explore how to ensure it is a success.

Be Well-Organised

At the top of the list is to make sure you are well organised. Even if you have a simple conference layout and a basic tea and coffee service, make sure that everything runs smoothly. Have a briefing with the staff that will be helping out on the day and ensure they understand the ins and outs of the conference. That way you can ensure everything is crystal clear, meaning that staff can answer any questions that arise on the day, preventing any confusion.

Make An Impression

First impressions are everything. This is why it is so important that how the venue looks is very important. You wouldn’t sit down in a restaurant that you didn’t feel comfortable in; it is the same with winning business from conferences. If your conference does not look professional and impressive then you will not win business.

Just as first impressions are everything, you also don’t want to bore attendees. General rule of thumb is to leave attendees wanting more rather than them wishing they were somewhere else due to boredom. If you can keep content engaging for a while and include regular refreshment breaks, then by all means have it for an entire evening.

Just be mindful about the audience and ensure that you conference is interesting at all times. If you see the crowd getting restless ask for their input or have a break.

Check Equipment

The equipment such as speakers, the projector and microphone(s) must be checked prior to the conference in order to save you from the embarrassment. It is highly recommended to run through the conference once, this way you can ensure that everything is working properly when it should. Have someone sat in the audience who can test the sound and projections for you. At the end they can report back and highlight any areas that need looking into.

Have Fun!

Last but by no means least have fun up there! Whether you are talking to a room of 25 attendees or 1000s, it can be a very daunting experience. Before you start, take a few deep breathes to calm your nerves. See the conference as an opportunity to promote your business rather than worrying about things that can go wrong. We are all human at the end of the day and we all make mistakes, if this happens on the day just move on and try not to dwell on it. In most cases the audience will not have even picked up on the mistake.

Whether you are holding a meeting in a conference centre in Cambridge or Scotland, being well organised is key to success.

Why Conference Centre Hotels Located on 13th Beach Are Perfect for Business Conferences

Organising a business conference can be an exceedingly difficult task, unless you approach it in the proper way. For example, the most important task you need to get done after sorting out the list of delegates is to choose the conference centre hotel for the event. Everything else comes after that. If the venue chosen is not suitable for a business conference, then delegates are more than likely to leave unsatisfied. That’s because venues for conferences need to offer special amenities. You need broadband Internet, projectors and even Wi-Fi hotspots, to name just a few. Also, if the conference goes on for a few days, then you need to think about renting suitable accommodation for everyone attending the event. So, as you can undoubtedly see, choosing the proper venue can go as far as making or breaking the entire event. Choose this first and the rest will fall in place.

13th Beach has many business meeting venues that you can visit

13th Beach is famous for the many conference centre hotels located in the region. Simply visit as many of these corporate meeting venues as you can, and select the one most suited for your event. Check out the facilities offered by each of these locations when you visit those. Make sure that they do not just offer food and lodging options. In order to keep your delegates satisfied, you need something extra. Look for hotels that offer spa facilities and catered meals, in addition to proper accommodation. These additional features will go a long way in keeping delegates happy and refreshed throughout the event.

Do visit the meeting rooms before you make the choice

Whenever you visit a hotel in the 13th Beach region, be sure to check out the meeting room. Venues designed for hosting business conferences offer features like broadband Internet connection and projectors in every meeting room. Also, make sure that the rooms allow plenty of natural light to enter those. This will help keep the atmosphere feel natural and comfortable at the same time.

Try to rent a corporate meeting venue located close to the golf course

Is it possible to rent a conference centre hotel located close to the 13th Beach Golf Course? Then by all means, go for it. At the end of a long day at the conference, the delegates would love to go for a round of golf at the course, unwinding before another challenging day. Be sure to ask delegates which course they would like to try first though. The Beach Course and Creek Course require different types of skills to master and only a delegate is the best judge about the one he (or she) would be able to handle.

So, what are you waiting for? Rent a conference centre hotel located in 13th Beach today, for your next business conference. While you are checking out the venues located in the region, do consider checking out Barwon Heads resort for the wonderful features it offers. Hosting a conference at a place like this is guaranteed to keep your delegates happy throughout the event.

How To Select Business Conference Venues?

The business conference venues are very important regarding the success of business events. An appropriate venue signifies your interest, and passion towards your profession. It reflects the hard work behind the corporate event. As we all know that business is all about reputation. Thus the appropriate conference venue is essential to throw a positive image in the business world.

Here the question arises, what is an appropriate business conference venue? The answer is not as simple as it seems to be. An appropriate business conference venue is the one which enable the guest speakers to spark with energy.
All things are achieved through effort, and a number of essential arrangements. You need to consider many things before selecting a conference venue for your business, or company. The first thing is a clear idea about the budget, and requirement. The next thing is the sustainability. Your choice should reflect the culture, and ethics of the company. You should make the guest feel comfortable in the selected environment.

The next thing is the size of the venue. It should be accurate enough to meet your requirements. A very large or small venue can create management problems for you. The configuration of the room should suit the requirement of the event. Mostly, the centralised arrangement, and u-shaped rooms are best for conducting the business events.

The location of the venue is also an important element in the selection. It should be easily accessible for the guests. If your delegates are travelling from any other country, the venue should be located near the airport, or the station. The route of the venue should be easy and comfortable, so that the guest may not face any problem due to heavy traffic. Moreover, the adequate parking facility is an essential part of the venue.

A business conference venue is characterised by the state of the art facilities provided at the venue. The basic facilities for the business event include data projectors, screens, flipcharts, lectern, laptop, colour photocopying service, free Wi-Fi, or internet access. The overhead projectors, electronic whiteboard, and the network connections are very important in a power point presentation.

In addition to these facilities, you need to look for some other facilities, such as a water cooler, or small refreshments area, and a photocopy/fax service. Conferences usually last for more than one hour, so the chairs and furniture at the venue should be comfortable, and well spaced. Moreover, the conference venue should be well illuminated, ventilated, and temperature controlled.

The catering service is very important part of a successful event. Always select the venue that offers an on site catering service; otherwise, it will be problematic to get the service from outside the conference vicinity. Look for the conference venues that offer efficient catering staff. Thus, all the above-mentioned things for the selection of a right business conference venue are essential for giving a great conference experience.