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Conference and Event Planning Handbook

This Conference and Event Planning Handbook has been created to assist you in planning a successful University event, to ensure that you get the best value from your event and to help you to make best use of the resources available to you around campus.  The Handbook provides detailed instructions on the necessary steps you need to take to ensure that your event is a success and includes guidelines, checklists, policies and helpful tips.

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Contact the Events and Conferencing Team

If you need further help in planning your event, please make an appointment to talk to a member of the Events and Conferencing Team who will work with you to agree the most appropriate level of support.

Please note that if you are booking an event for or on behalf of an external individual/organisation, it is essential that you contact the Events and Conferencing Team, who will provide professional support for all such events on campus.

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Before you begin planning your event, there are a number of things you need to think about.

Event Purpose

Before you begin planning, make sure you have considered the strategic reason or need for running your event. Ensure you have a clear understanding of the key goals of the event and you know what you want your guests to take away from the experience. Consider what type of event will best meet those objectives, if an event is the best or most appropriate way to achieve these goals and ensure that running the event has long-term value for the University. For more help or advice in this area, please talk to The Strategic Marketing and Communications Unit. It is vital that all events and event submissions comply with the University's Code of Conduct and the University's Information Security and Acceptable Use policy. Further information on these policies can be found here.


Think about who you want to attract to the event, how you will attract them and how many people you expect to attend. Give consideration to whether you need to invite senior University staff and ensure you secure the date in their diaries as early as possible. More information on putting together a guest list and issuing invitations can be found here. If your audience is likely to include any dignitaries or external stakeholders of particular importance to the University, it is important to inform the Timetabling and Room Bookings Unit. They will ask you to provide a list of the distinguished guests including title and employment or position. Distinguished guests would include politicians, business directors, etc but this list is not exhaustive. If in doubt please check with Timetabling and Room Booking, who will be happy to advise. Events that attract an audience of children or vulnerable adults need to be given special consideration and more information can be found here: Children/Vulnerable Adults Policy.


Using the Event Budget Template, work out how much your event is likely to cost and ensure that you have a plan to cover these costs. Consider whether the costs will be covered by School/Faculty funds, by charging a fee to attend or through sponsorship or other external funding. More guidance on securing event sponsorship can be found here.

Accounting Services can provide advice on budgets, costings, project and account codes, VAT issues etc. and will monitor and assist with financial management through the planning stage and post conference. For further information contact Margaret Connolly, Ext.3020 or email.


Organising and running a successful event takes a significant amount of time and staff resource. Before you begin, ensure that you have adequate assistance to plan and run the event. Larger events will require dedicated staff to oversee registrations, answer queries and manage the requirements of speakers and VIPs. On the day, you will need to plan to have staff to look after registration desks, usher guests to seats, greet speakers and ensure the safety of everyone attending the event. The Events and Conferencing Team can provide advice on resource requirements and options for additional staff to assist at events.

Date and Location

Selecting the most suitable date for your event is crucial to ensuring the best attendance. Before you move forward with the planning process, decide on the best time of year for it to take place and then take some time to check what else is taking place around campus and in the local area, to make sure there are no competing events that may result in a low turnout. Resources to help include What’s on at Queen’s or the Visit Belfast What's On website.


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Contact the Events and Conferencing Team


Call us on 028 9097 5340 or email


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