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Hot tips

NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau offers a free venue finding and online accommodation booking service to conference organisers, as well as professional advice and support.

The ‘hot tips’ below supplement our planning checklist and planning timetable and will help ensure the success of your conference and keep you on track.

Before you make a start on your planning, give our Convention Bureau team a call to discuss your requirements in detail and find out exactly how we can make your life easier and save you time, effort and money. It is never too early to make a start so call +44 (0)191 440 5759 or email


  • Always check out bedrooms before you book them for your delegates. Ask to see the worst and best rooms at the venue when doing a site inspection
  • As organiser, you should, if possible, stay at the conference hotel

Audio visual and equipment:

  • Good audio visual set up and technical support is crucial to your programme - it's expensive but worth it so don't cut corners
  • If using your own equipment, always have back-up – e.g. a spare laptop
  • Rear projection is good for effect but will reduce the capacity of your meeting room by at least 30%
  • Roving mics - assign volunteers to pass these around


  • Provide jugs of iced water instead of bottled mineral water. It tastes just as good and can save you lots of money
  • Allow half-bottle wine per person with dinner
  • Set a maximum spend on drinks at receptions / dinners, rather than a per person allowance
  • Agree realistic minimum guarantees with venues (i.e. the minimum numbers you must pay for). The lower, the better - you can always increase your numbers.
  • Anticipate a percentage of ‘no shows’ for most events - refer to past attendances. It is easiest to gauge attendance at ticketed functions
  • Supply venues with list of special dietary requirements in good time and ensure those delegates who have requested special meals identify themselves to the waiting staff


  • Ensure name badges are clear and easy to read. Have spares available.
  • Identify organising committee members on name badges
  • For easy identification, conference bags should have a visible business card holder or blank name tag


  • Get the best deal - compare the inclusive Day Delegate Rate (DDR - usually includes rental of main meeting room, two refreshment breaks, finger buffet lunch and soft drinks) versus itemised room rental and catering
  • If in doubt, over-estimate on items of expenditure


  • Give your delegates some incentive to complete your event feedback form - a prize draw usually works well


  • Agree with the venue exact wording and placing of directional and room signs and check these daily. Do they make sense?

Speaker and programme management:

  • Do not overcrowd your programme. Go for quality not quantity .
  • Workshops are popular but must be structured and managed. What is your objective?
  • Build in sufficient time for questions and discussion to hold delegates' attention
  • Allow for networking opportunities during the day as well as during evening social functions when delegates may be tired
  • Your speakers and organising committee are well placed to promote the conference so provide them with the necessary information to do so


  • Allow, and budget for, adequate ‘moving in’ time for room set up and decoration
  • Do not make assumptions - you might be charged for ‘extras’ such as flip charts and other fixtures, delegate notepads and pens
  • Check what house lighting is included in the room rental. Special effects such as spot lights or colour may be charged as extra.

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