Belfast Telegraph

Why organising a conference need not be that stressful


By Bridgene McKeever

What to think about when choosing a venue: If you are in charge of booking events for your company or have become the lucky nominee to organise the annual lunch, you will know that it can be a stressful experience.

 However, the good news is that it doesn't have to be. Choosing the right venue that understands your needs is key to running a successful event. Below are some key things to consider.


Where will your delegates be travelling from and is there available car parking? Be careful, car parking fees can be a hidden cost that is overlooked, especially if expensed back to the company. Be sure to keep this in mind.

Speaking about budget:

Find a suitable venue for your budget. Is there any point of hiring a venue over budget and skimping on refreshments or the speaker? Be upfront about your budget from the start - great venues will be able to work around it and present the best possible packages for you.

Choosing the venue:

Research venues before booking an event, and by that I mean call the venue. This will give you an initial impression of what it will be like to partner with the company. Key questions to consider include: Are they friendly and welcoming? Do they give you all the relevant information, and do they understand your type of event? A site visit is a must, especially if the event is aimed at impressing your key account clients, or delegates are paying to attend.

Meet the management at the venue and determine how your event would flow. Are there pillars that would obstruct the view of your presentation? Can you mentally picture your conference in the venue already?

A venue can really impact the success of a conference. Be sure to choose a partner you can trust to help deliver your event.

Think about audio, technology and access:

Does the venue have integrated audio and visual technology? Is the room easily accessible for you to set up? Remember, a lot of the attendees will want to utilise their technology devices. It is also good to find out if there's free and unlimited Wi-Fi in the venue.

Choosing the breaks:

Choosing lunch for up to 200 delegates can be daunting, so take advice from the venue management on what would work best.

Also, make note if the venue is able to cater for last-minute dietary requirements.

Check if there is adequate seating and whether refreshments will be served to your delegates as they are sitting. This means they will not have to awkwardly balance files, notes, bags, phones and somehow grab a plate to eat at the same time. Think about the practicalities, and if in doubt, ask.

Remember we hold hundreds of events a year with different types of set-ups, budgets and goals, so don't be afraid to inform the venue of your company's needs and goals.

  • Bridgene McKeever is sales and marketing director at McKeever Hotels Ltd. For more information visit,, and

Belfast Telegraph