Holding your conference in a regional centre offers many potential rewards, and a few challenges. In holding your event in a regional area, you will be offering not just the information, ideas exchange and networking opportunities that an effective conference generally provides, but also an ‘experience’. If you’re on the lookout for conference venues in regional Victoria, here are a few tips to help you smoothly organise a successful event.
- Make logistics a priority
Holding a conference outside any metropolitan centre brings issues of logistics front and centre. It’s important to consider how easy it will be for delegates and staff to make their way there. Think about public transport options, and driving times, bearing in mind that most people will be very happy to drive to a venue an hour or so away, but something further afield may pose difficulties. Also make sure your chosen conference venue offers ample on-site parking.
- Consider the regional location as a drawcard
Just as a location too far out of the way or with limited transport options can be a turn-off, the right conference venue in the right location can be the hook that helps to draw people to your event. A picturesque setting, seclusion, proximity to charming villages and places of interest such as galleries, antique stores or vineyards can all be highlights of a regional excursion. Check with your conference venue or local tourism centre to get an idea of area attractions, and make a point to mention these when promoting your event.
- Choose an inclusive conference package
While an inviting destination may be enticement, it’s equally important that you make it as easy as possible for delegates – and for yourself. An experienced conference provider should be able to help you with a package that includes a conference room or rooms, audio-visual equipment, secretarial services and office space for the organisers. The package should also include quality accommodation options, restaurant meals, morning and afternoon teas, and access to private spaces for welcoming drinks or other planned activities outside conference hours. A dedicated on-site conference organiser can be a valuable asset before and during the event as well.
- Pay attention to accommodation, food and facilities
The quality of food and accommodation that you organise will have a big impact on delegates, and you want to ensure it’s the right one. A conference venue with a stand-alone restaurant may be able to offer a better standard of food, and it’s important to pay attention to the menus. Check if there are vegetarian options and/or alternatives for those with specific dietary requirements.
When it comes to facilities, ask about wheelchair access, and ensure there is a quality WiFi service available.
Look for extra facilities that can add to the delegate experience, such as swimming pools. It can also be a good idea to visit the venue before you make your final decision, to see first-hand the conference spaces, guest rooms and restaurant.
- Think about hosting after-hour events
One advantage of a regional conference is that an overnight or multi-night stay can provide great networking opportunities. Take advantage of these by organising some after-hours events such as welcoming or farewell cocktails, and local excursions. The venue’s conference coordinator should be able to suggest events or activities that make the most of the facilities, the natural setting and proximity to local villages or other attractions. When choosing a regional venue, also look at spaces on the property that might be used for outside get-togethers.
- Keep it simple and streamlined for those attending
Above all, when organising any regional conference, the best thing you can do is make it easy for the delegates. A conference package can be a great way to take the hard work out of organising the event, and also make it easier for those looking to attend. Do as much of the organising as you can on behalf of the delegates and be very clear when promoting your event not only what delegates may get out of the event, but also what exactly is included in the price. Ideally, their conference fee should cover the daily events, meals and accommodation. If there are things that you won’t be covering (such as alcohol or extra excursions) be very specific on your conference materials so that delegates are aware from the start.
Are you now ready to plan?
In choosing conference venues in Victoria, location, quality accommodation and dining, good facilities and the experience of the provider are all important factors to consider. A venue with long-standing conference experience, like Glen Erin, can help you create an event that ticks all the boxes. If you are planning an event, feel free to call our conference coordinator for expert advice, information and tips.