Conferences are a great opportunity for businesses to bring their teams together, forge new business relationships, outline new projects, and discuss the latest in industry trends. In fact, according to a Bizzabo event marketing report, 95 percent of marketers revealed in-person events like conferences can help businesses achieve their goals.
Planning a conference involves a lot of people and takes a lot of work. The first step is selecting a venue for your event. Many hotels rent out their meeting spaces for business conferences, so getting a few quotes from full service hotels is a good starting point. You’ll need to give them a few dates and times for availability, a headcount for how many people you expect to attend, whether you plan to serve food and beverages, and what technology tools you’ll need them to provide.
Depending on your conference itinerary and people attending, hotels will offer many different seating layouts for you. You may want people sitting at long tables facing the front of the room, or have everyone at small tables facing each other. There are multiple meeting room tables and seating set up styles. They include:
- Theater - Rows of chairs only arranged with all participants facing towards the front of the room.
- Classroom - Rows of chairs and tables arranged with all participants facing toward the front of the room.
- Conference - Chairs arranged around a single large table.
- Banquet - Chairs arranged around small round tables throughout the room. An ideal layout for conferences serving a luncheon.
- Crescent - Seating around half of the table so all participants are facing the front to the presenter. An ideal layout for conferences serving a luncheon.
- U-shape - Tables are arranged in a large U-shape with open space in the middle. Participants are seated around the outside facing the center of the U-shape.
- Hollow square - Tables are arranged in a square with chairs along the outside facing an empty center.
- Reception - A combination of round tables with chairs around it, and smaller cocktail tables located throughout the room.
- Chevron - Rows of tables—with or without chairs--arranged in a V-shape and separated by a center aisle.
- Team Tables - Several conference style set-ups scattered throughout the room; appropriate for small work groups.
- Circle/Semi-Circle - A variant of the U-Shape, but without tables. Ideal for small to medium groups with a discussion or teaching format.
Whatever hotel conference room seating layout you choose, make sure it fits the type of event you are having.
Next, will you be hosting breakfast or lunch? You’ll need to consult with the venue to see if they cater from an on-site restaurant or you have permission to bring food and beverages in from another restaurant.
The same goes for whatever technology you need. A simple whiteboard and markers may be all you require, but most conferences these days have hosts using PowerPoint presentations or videos. For this you’ll need outlets for a laptop and a projector screen large enough for all your attendees to see it. If you have a fairly large group, a microphone is a must, so audio equipment and speakers should be brought in.
As you can see, there are many steps to setting up a conference to ensure it turns out to be a huge success. If you are a CLC Lodging member, we can help you book pre-negotiated and discounted hotel rooms for your stay. Not a member? You can join today for free!
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