Planning and Marketing an Event
Planning an Event
Venue-finding, tips and checklists
Meet Cambridge offers free venue-finding search facility, to give you an overview of the venues that would be suitable for your event.
Large events may require the use of two or more venues and in this case we offer a free administration service to collate venue availability, act as a single point of contact and liaise with the venues for you. For the venues that are part of the service we can also provide a single set of terms and conditions, to make contracting with multiple venues easy.
Here's our Top Tips For A Successful Event, a Planning Checklist and some tips for marketing your event to help you make a start, but before you do please do get in touch to find out how we can help save you time.
Here at Meet Cambridge, we’re committed to helping you and your delegates enjoy Cambridge responsibly. To this end, we have put together a Sustainable Events Toolkit which includes a range of resources to help you with developing your events to make them more sustainable, from help to find a venue to making the right choices for your menus. Click here to read more.
All of our venues have policies and procedures in place to show how they are working towards creating sustainable and environmentally friendly buildings and they would be happy to share those details with you to help you with your planning.
In addition, the catering departments at the University and the Colleges have all adopted best practices in terms of environmental, sustainable and animal welfare activity and an internal accreditation scheme is in place to monitor efforts year on year. Our catering teams are working collectively to increase ethical procurement within the Cambridge procurement process. The Red Tractor initiative, designed to drive good standards in food and farming has been adopted by the Colleges with great success; the Colleges also insist that all fish suppliers provide an MCS sustainability rating on all fish products used within the Colleges.
ISO20121 is an international standard dealing with consideration for sustainable development in events. It is relevant to organisers, venues, suppliers and everyone involved with an event. More information on ISO20121 can be found here.
Planning an event and being mindful of the environment doesn't have to be difficult or expensive but taking steps, even small ones, to recognising the environmental impact that your event might have is better than doing nothing at all. Our tips for planning an environment-friendly event covers some of the ideas that organisers have shared with us about their past events.
For academic events, organisations, University Departments and Colleges can sometimes help with funding conferences and events here in Cambridge, but again the competition is fierce, so planning should begin as soon as possible.
Cambridge-based academics can access Research Professional from a Cambridge-networked PC to search for additional sources.
The University of Cambridge offers a free online e-sales facility via its online store for University members who are organising a conference in University and Colleges venues. This resource is free of charge to Cambridge University members and will save you the cost of buying additional software to manage online registrations and payments, which can be expensive. Conferences are given a dedicated page in the University’s online store, which you can then link to from your main conference web site. Delegates can register and pay online with a credit or debit card for attendance, workshops, accommodation and gala dinners etc.
Take a look at the University’s online store.
Other potential sources of funding include:
VisitBritain - Business Events Programme. If you are looking to bid on and win an international event such as a multi-day association conference or to develop, grow and internationalise your events, the Business Events Growth Programme offered by Visit Britain may be able to help. Read more here.
UKRI - for UK based academic institutions. If you are applying for a UKRI grant, check the eligibility criteria in case there is a call to showcase your academic research. Also, keep an eye on the different funding opportunities that arise as occasionally, there are calls for event specific applications.
Sponsorship can help you to offset costs and keep registration fees low for your delegates, but the competition to attract sponsors is high, so it’s important that you approach the whole question of sponsorship strategically to create opportunities that will be beneficial to both your organisation and the potential sponsor. Read our Sponsorship Tips & Guidelines for inspiration.
It goes without saying that the sky is the limit when it comes to events but unlimited budgets for events are rare. To avoid surprises and over-spending, decide on your event budget before you start anything else. Having an itemised budget will help you to prioritise where you can afford to spend and where you need to save, always add in a contingency fund and consider rate rises if your event is in the future.
Our sample budget spreadsheet is a good starting point, it lists some of the common expenses involved in planning a typical conference and comes ready with formulas for easy calculations.
Marketing your event
A selection of set pieces of copy, of different word lengths, focusing on Cambridge as a destination, ready for you to cut and paste into your proposal or event marketing literature.
Access to our Cambridge image library is available to you to help you create professional bid documentation and presentations. Images are free to event organisers planning an event in the city or the region. Contact us with details of your event and how you will use the images and we'll send you a link to our library.
Cambridge Film Footage
Cambridge film footage is available to you free of charge to help you promote the city as a destination for your conference or event. Meet Cambridge has a YouTube Channel, which can be found here. You are welcome to link to our YouTube videos in your documents.
Our generic Cambridge footage can also be combined with your organisation’s logo and event title to create a bespoke film to enhance your bid. Please contact us here to discuss the options and the costs involved.