Planning a conference is, historically, far from a walk in the park. With industry experts and your colleagues in attendance, your professional reputation is on the line. No one wants a conference washout or boring speakers, and nobody wants a dull venue. Fortunately, Manchester is blessed with a bewildering array of beautiful conference spaces, conference halls, exhibition centres and smaller conference rooms. Booking all of these conference venues has never been easier, and we're here to show you how.
Speaking the lingo
What actually is a conference venue? It's a fair question. In short, it refers to a large space that can host a professional event that may include speakers, stalls and light refreshments. A conference room, on the other hand, will be a much smaller affair – and the price will reflect this. The largest conference-based event normally takes place in an exhibition centre (also called an expo centre or a convention centre), and these will be huge venues that cater to thousands of attendees.
Getting in touch
A Manchester conference is a big deal. There are a lot of moving parts and you'll want to approach Manchester's best conference centres with really robust criteria of everything you expect and need to make your event go off smoothly. Think about timing, capacity, catering, accessibility and who your speakers will be – this last one is vital as if they’re on your list to have at your conference they’re probably in high demand. Get all these factors worked out before you approach Manchester’s best conference venues and you’ll make the booking process a whole lot easier for yourself and the venue.
A lot of conferences attract visitors from afar (especially the large ones in convention centres). Take this into account when booking your Manchester conference. Looking for quality venues near travel hubs such as Manchester Piccadilly Station or Manchester Airport is a great way to make getting to and from your conference much easier. And less travelling = less grumpy conference attendees.
Some attendees may wish to get to your Manchester event via car. If this is the case you’ll want to enquire with the conference venues about parking facilities.
Budgeting for a conference can be a tricky thing. Venues will often provide a base hire fee before adding on extra costs for things like staffing, audiovisual equipment and in-house catering (think of all the coffee needed to keep your attendees going!). Some venues will quote you for a price per attendee, so you know how much is being spent on each individual. It’s good to get an idea of how much you’re willing to spend before you approach the venue, this reduces any misunderstandings down the line and could be a massive time saver.
Some top tips for organising a conference in Manchester
Think about the extras – So, a conference space is a good start but you may want to go beyond. Think about things like audio-visual facilities, natural light, breakout rooms and catering. Having these requirements in mind will help you quickly root out ill-fitting Manchester venues, and there won’t be any last-minute surprises when you realise your Deansgate expo event is being hosted at a pub in Withington.
Get a sneak peek – Site visits are the industry term for taking a look at the conference space before the event is going. It’s a great way to really visualise what your London event will be like for your guests. Whilst an in-person site visit is excellent, it can be difficult to schedule, especially if you and the venue are busy. We offer virtual site visits, using the latest technology with certain venus – and it won’t cost you a thing!
Make sure you really have the space to yourself– Double check to see if you’ll have the whole conferencing area to yourself. Sometimes venues will partition off spaces to accommodate multiple private conference events. If this doesn’t bother you, then brilliant – but it’s always best practice to check in advance.