Top tips for successfully planning a large conference in Oxford

posted on Wednesday 22 November

Blog, Hints and tips

1. Match the size of the conference to the available venue space – Oxford University’s largest conference venue is the Examination Schools. It can host up to 440 delegates in one room. Check out our video here. We can offer conference space for up to 650 delegates when the Examination Schools is used in conjunction with the Sheldonian Theatre, located just a five minute walk away along picturesque cobbled streets. These two historic venues provide a spectacular backdrop for large conferences.

2. Understand your accommodation options – the city centre offers hotel, college accommodation and B&B’s. The largest hotels have around 100-150 bedrooms so consider splitting delegates across multiple sites. Alternatively give delegates the full Oxford experience by staying in one of the nearby colleges.  Accommodation does get booked up in advance, particular during summer, so be sure to book a few years in advance.   More details about the options can be found here.

3. Think multi-site logistics – if you want to make the most of the stunning venues available at the University, think about spreading your programme over multiple sites. Host your main conference at the Examination Schools then use a college setting for an impressive drinks reception and conference dinner or other venues such as the Bodleian Library, Rhodes House or Ashmolean Museum. Plan your logistics using the University’s searchable map which also provides parking, ATM and public transport information.

4. Know who can help…

• Venue finding service – located in the centre of Oxford, Conference Oxford provide a free facility enabling you to search the 63 college and University venues they represent. You can also call them to discuss your requirements or fill in an online enquiry form which gets sent out to all venues. They can arrange site visits and help plan multisite events, although they do not provide a full event-management service. They also publish a local suppliers list.

• Event management support – several event management companies operate in the Oxford area. They can ease your burden by helping you plan your event from beginning to end. Their services include general advice and support, registration and delegate management, speaker liaison, exhibition and sponsorship management, accommodation services and abstract management.

5. Build a good social programme to support your delegate networking – with world-renowned landmarks and secret places, memorable experiences are everywhere in Oxford so it’s not too difficult to create an interesting and varied social programme that can’t fail to impress your delegates. Some of our favourite options can be found here and here.

Do you have a large event coming up and need a venue? Then give us a call on 01865 276905 to talk through your requirements.

Need some help with sourcing a venue and putting together your event? Read our recent case study on the European Coral Reef Symposium. A 550 delegate strong conference that took place over three days in December 2017.