Beginners Guide to organising a conference 

 
Location or Access?

Is the meeting going to a small board meeting for 5-10 or a large exhibition for 150 plus? Will everyone need accommodation or will delegates be expected to travel? With this in mind. is being near to public transport and major motorways important? Would you like a small hotel in the country or large conference venue in a town center? Do you require parking and grounds?

When you can answer these questions, you will then be able to narrow down your search terms and find the perfect venue!

Hawkwell House is a privately run hotel set in a beautiful rural Oxfordshire village; we have four meeting rooms ranging in size from 5-200, we have complimentary parking and are only 10 minutes from the town centre while only being 5 minutes from the A34. Although we do not have a leisure club onsite we have discounted rates available with the local David Lloyd Leisure Club and are surrounded by tree lined grounds and are only a few minutes walk from the river Thames, perfect for the avid jogger!

Are your delegates local, national or international?

This may help you decide on a location, is there somewhere that's accessible to all - maybe a major city with good travel links or somewhere close to an airport?

Oxford is great for links to major motorways (M40, A34 & M4) and is only 1hr from Heathrow. Hawkwell House is on the eastside of Oxford so has great links to the ring road circulating Oxford with the train and bus stations located in the town centre, only a 10 taxi or bus ride away.

Do you require Bedrooms?

If your delegates are coming a long way, are coming from overseas or, if the event runs for a number of days, you're going to need accommodation. This is crucial to your choice of venue and to your budget!

Here at Hawkwell, we have 66 bedrooms (soon to be 77) all recently refurbished to a very standard, all with free high speed Wi-Fi internet connection, tea & coffee facilities, free view TV, onsuite a a degree of a view!

Catering!

Tea and coffee breaks should be straightforward but always ask where these will be served; you do not want to traipse to another building especially living in the UK. Do you get anything served with each break (cakes, cookies, fruit, etc) and if so, are there many options?

Lunch is always a key part of the day, most lunches consist of a hot lunch but this is something that can be discussed with the venue at length. Make sure that you have covered all of you delegate’s dietary needs, are there many vegetarians, have you got anyone that does not eat certain meat due to religious commitments and vitally, do you have anyone with allergies (celiac, nuts, shellfish, etc), you need to get this one right!

Having found out your delegates needs, you then need to decide if you would like to have lunch in the restaurant, this will often be shared with other guests, in a private room (there invariably will be a charge with this) or a working finger/bowl buffet, this will more often than not be served outside your meeting room.

Here at Hawkwell, we pride ourselves on the standard of our food, everything is cooking freshly on the day and there is always a wide range of choice. We are well versed in catering for a wide range of dietary requirements and are happy to write special menus for individual events.
 
How much money have you got?

If we are had our own way, we would all be booking the yearly AGM in Barbados at the all inclusive 5* resort, sadly we have to live in the real world and the key point to most meetings is the budget.

If you go into the planning stage with a good idea of what the budget is, you will at-least be starting off on the right foot.

Hawkwell House being an independent hotel does not have a head office telling us what we can and cannot quote, this allows us to listen to your needs and work with you on your budget. The key to this is to ask the right questions and get a quote that you feel is what you require.

Handy Tips?

Most venues are quieter on Mondays and Fridays, so if this works for you, you may get a better price.

The time of year will massively affect the price, Jan to March are traditionally quiet, with the spring and autumn busier. August and December are great months to have meetings as most venues will bite your hand off to get the business, but getting everyone together can be tricky.

This is only a brief guide, if you require any further information, it is always best to contact the venues direct and always try to view the venue before the day, photos can be misleading!!!

Basic Terminology!

24hr Rate

This rate is inclusive of all your meeting facilities throughout one day, including breakfast, lunch, dinner and an overnight stay.

Day Delegate or 8 hour Rate

This rate is inclusive of all your meeting facilities in a one day period, including lunch.

Syndicate Room

Separate room from the main room booked.

DBB

Dinner, Bed & Breakfast.

B&B

Bed & Breakfast.

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