5 Tips From Event Experts

5 Tips for a perfect event in Leeds

Everybody is an expert nowadays. Go for your hair cut and you will get advice beyond the realms of the barber’s trichological knowledge. Get in a taxi and in 15 minutes you can set the world to rights while narrowly avoiding pedestrians and clipping wing mirrors. Cook a bit of dinner and you find a shiny pated loud-mouth who eats out between 4 and 6 times per week telling you that cooking doesn’t get any tougher than this. Go to the… well, you get the idea.

Well, now it’s time for MEETinLEEDS to climb aboard the band wagon, give the trumpeter a swift boot up the backside and blow our bassoon to the tune. The exception being that we do have experts in the field of conferences and events that are willing to share their experience.

We will show you why Leeds is the perfect place to host your event and how we can make your dream event become a reality.

So without further ado, here are 5 steps to event heaven!

5. Location, Location, Location

If we were asked “what is the most important aspect to bear in mind in the initial planning stages of a conference or event?” we cannot think of any advice better than that given to prospective house buyers by Kirsty and Phil: location, location, location.

There are many conference venues with fantastic facilities, there are many cities and towns that are wonderful places to visit, but combinations of the 2 are few and far between.

So where is the mythical place that can house a self-contained conference, yet is still within 1 mile of a world class city, I hear you ask? Well…

In Leeds you will find a city brimming with culture, sporting heritage, excellent food, an exciting nightlife and superb shopping. It is a popular city break destination with lots to offer visitors from the UK and abroad: truly a world class city that caters for all tastes and budgets.

Don’t believe us? Just ask the Lonely Planet, who named Yorkshire in the top 3 places to visit in the world in 2014. Plus the University of Leeds has been named University of the Year 2017 by The Times and The Sunday Times’ Good University Guide. Come and see what all the fuss is about!

Leeds is a city brimming with culture, sporting heritage, excellent food, an exciting nightlife and superb shopping.

Leeds city at night

The MEETinLEEDS team have lived in the City of Leeds for in excess of a century between us, so are as well acquainted with the “Jewel on the Aire” as any local . We can offer expert advice on getting to Leeds, where to go and what to do.

We have many, many, many (and more!) facilities that can cater for a completely self-contained event including the “Power 4”: plenary, break-out, catering areas and accommodation (we have even more accommodation available around campus).

Our Campus has a number of open and green spaces along with a variety of styles of architecture. These can be manipulated to make your conference or event bespoke and remembered by the delegates for all the right reasons.

Our friendly Sales Team is on hand to give you a guided tour of our facilities, and can give you further insights into the vibrant home of the Loiner!

4. It’s All About The Money

Everything goes over budget, whether it is a new major stadium (sorry to pick on you, Wembley) or MEETinLEEDS’ turn to get the biscuits for the coffee morning.

Conferences are no different, especially if it is your first time. Seemingly tiny things such as an extra serving of tea and coffee can add to your costs significantly if you do not keep tabs on exactly how it will affect your budget.

Budgeting for an event isn’t easy. As well as the initial venue costs there are many more additional costs to consider: catering, entertainment, gala dinners, guest speaker fees, transportation, parking, audio & visual equipment and much more!

Careful and calculated planning is an absolute must for your event, no matter how big or small it might be. Getting your budget right means the difference between a stress-free event and one marred by missing equipment or the thought of the extra payments you may need to come up with afterwards.

Then there is the flip side to the coin: would you rather pay a little more for a dedicated Event Manager to take the responsibility so you have more time to oversee the content of the event?

There are advantages to either course, but whichever you choose MEETinLEEDS can offer expert guidance to suite your particular circumstances – just get in touch!

“Budgeting for an event isn’t easy. As well as the initial venue costs there are many more additional costs to consider”

Parkinson Court Exhibition

Choosing a venue to hit both budget and customer satisfaction are crucial to the success of an event. We work with our clients every step of the way to ensure that their event comes within budget without compromising the quality. Our quotes are always transparent and we can assure that you won’t be hit with any hidden costs! We work closely with our suppliers to get the best possible prices for equipment and pass the savings on to you.

Lisa Wood, Conference Sales Executive at MEETinLEEDS has this advice:

“In my years of experience finding the right venue that doesn’t break the client’s bank I have quite a few examples and at MEETinLEEDS we can always offer a range of potential solutions.

When looking for a venue that is suitable for a Sports Event, like a Rugby Team Training Camp, the right venue will obviously require nearby sports facilities, but the real must have item is the watering hole! Costs also have to be kept to a minimum (especially if they come from the Yorkshire region) and good access to the venue is imperative. In Oxley Hall we have a fabulous venue with free parking close to the amenities.

Our recent foray into weddings, where we must make every single penny add to the sparkle, has really brought the budget management of the Sales Team to the fore. Everything we deliver must exceed the expectations of the bride to be- we don’t want any bridezillas on our hands!

We are lucky to have the beautiful Devonshire Hall to offer during the summer months, it really does have everything that befits a fairy-tale wedding. So much so that even our staff are booking the venue for their special day!

Our accommodation at Storm Jameson Court offers fantastic value – just £40 per room per night when you use the promo code UOLFRIENDS – and is close to the heart of the city. Couple this with free use of The Edge Sports Centre and you really do get a slice of Yorkshire value with MEETinLEEDS.”

3. Get The Experts In

They say that in order to succeed, any endeavour must adhere to the “5 P’s”: planning and preparation prevent poor performance. In MEETinLEEDS’ house, this included an additional, colloquial, “P” before “poor”, and was often accompanied by “fail to prepare, prepare to fail” (our family is fond of appropriating slogans).

This could not be applied in a more appropriate role than that of the Event Manager. The perfect Event Manager would have been a model Scout, as they would always “Be Prepared”.

The best event managers are rarely seen, yet always available.

Event Management, Grand hall

Here at MEETinLEEDS we have expert Event Managers to aid and guide you through the pratfalls of organising a conference or event, so you can leave the most stressful elements of the event to us and enjoy your perfect event.

They have delegate lists memorised, dietary requirements on the tip of their tongue, abstract submissions an iPhone swipe away and conference programmes tattooed on the palms of their hands…

To encapsulate the vital role of the Event Manager, from ensuring Wi-Fi access is available to securing easy access parking for VIP’s, we think that, in familial tradition, MEETinLEEDS would coin the slogan:

“The best event managers are rarely seen, yet always available.” 

2. It’s A Piece Of Cake

The common idiom states that an army marches on its stomach, but if Napoleon were to swap his bicorn hat for that donned by an Event Manager (which would be a hard hat in the shape of a Deerstalker- a thinking cap protecting from vertically descending objects), he may have said that a conference delegates to its stomach: the success of a conference is heavily influenced by standards of the catering.

Amazing venues, speakers and slick event management can be eclipsed by soggy sarnies and disappointing coffee.

Let’s face it, a nice creamy chocolate cake does a lot for a lot of people; it does it for us!

Coffee and Cake

MEETinLEEDS is acutely aware of the importance of catering to an event and through our partnership with Deli(very), the University’s delivered catering service, provide cuisine which is of the highest possible standards from a team of award-winning chefs. The menus are seasonal, comprised of local ingredients (where possible), and from sustainable sources using environmentally friendly packaging.

The team can produce any type and style of food; from three course gala conference dinners to the afternoon tea and cakes. Our chefs are very flexible and always happy to create bespoke packages for your event, keeping in mind any specific requirements.

Never underestimate the importance of a cup of coffee and a slice of cake. In the words of Audrey Hepburn:

“Let’s face it, a nice creamy chocolate cake does a lot for a lot of people; it does for me.”

1. Find The Right Place

Would the Roman gladiatorial contests be as iconic if they were not held in the mighty Colosseum? Would the 1966 World Cup win for England be the same if it was celebrated under the arch of the “New Wembley”? Would the Rio Carnival have the same vibe if it was held on the beaches of Scarborough rather than the Copacabana?

The venue is everything to an event: it wows (or repels) the attendees upon arrival, creating the correct atmosphere and ambiance to set your conference off on the right foot.

However, looks are not everything. It is no use falling in love with a certain venue and then stubbornly refusing to move the event when your numbers exceed the capacity. The attendees will not remember the surroundings fondly; they will reminisce on how hot and stuffy the conference was, how long it took the waiter to sashay around the room with the bread rolls, how they couldn’t see the guest speaker you spent ages booking because they were on a makeshift table in the corner.

The equipment available at a venue is also extremely important. How loud are the speakers? Is there air conditioning? Is the venue fully accessible? Is there natural light? Is Wi-Fi available? How far is it from the parking area? What visual equipment does the venue include? What layout do I need and what configurations are available?

All of these questions should be at the ready when you are looking for that perfect venue and you will be well on the way to finding out whether the one you have in mind will lead you to event heaven or conference hell.

We are so lucky to have such an array of venue capacities, styles and locations at the University of Leeds.

Lots of conference & events venues at the University of Leeds

Harriet Boatwright, Conference Sales Manager at MEETInLEEDS says:

“One of the first things we ask any client is ‘what is important to you?’  We are so lucky here at MEETinLEEDS to have such an array of venue capacities, styles and locations which allow us to handpick the ideal venue to suit your every need. A flash affair may necessitate the use of our grade II listed  Gothic Revival building, the Great Hall, exuding grandeur aplenty, whereas a more practical event may be enticed by our varied capacity lecture halls in the Roger Stevens Building, with inbuilt AV benefiting from close by catering and exhibition services.

We also have a number of beautiful green and open spaces that can be used in conjunction with your event, especially when the sun is out during the conference season.

A venue is the centre piece of any conference crown, and all other facilities and services are derived from this initial, and essential, placement.”