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You’ve bravely decided to host a conference and now you’re unsure of where to start? Or you’ve held a conference in the past that was pretty mediocre and don’t know where you went wrong – sound familiar? Before you get yourself into a tailspin, we advise you to take a step back and consider our 5-point checklist. We guarantee it’ll have you looking like a complete professional!


  1. Decipher your delegate.

We cannot stress how important this point is when planning a conference. All too often, this step is left out of the planning process; knowing who your delegate is and what they are interested in is KEY to the rest of your conference planning. Here are a few questions to discuss with your team to formulate your winning conference strategy from the answers.

  • What age groups are among your delegates? (Millennials, Baby Boomers etc)
  • What is associated with these age groups?
  • Which level of employment do your delegates belong to? (CEO’s, entrepreneurs, management etc)
  • What industries do your delegates come from?
  • What does their typical week look like and how can you fit into their schedule?
  • What information or service can you provide them with?
  • How will this benefit them?

At Birchwood, you are spoilt for choice with venue options! Whether your delegates are best suited to a casual garden setting, formal conferencing venue, intimate meeting room or banquet setting, we have more than one option for you to consider with over 60 on-site venues.

  1. Settle on seating.

The concept of seating your delegates is not just about finding a venue with the capacity to host your delegates. Based on the questions above, you should now know what makes your delegate comfortable and how to hold their attention. The seating style that you choose should be in line with your understanding of them. For example, cinema style seating may make Millennials feel like a number, and if discussion is required, U-shape seating or round tables may be better suited.

Most of our venues offer more than one seating style and we will always endeavour to be as flexible as possible in accommodating your seating needs and ideas. View the seating arrangements in our newly revamped Domestic Centre here.

  1. Attention-grabbing activities.

Planning some form of delegate involvement is always a good idea to keep attention and engage with the subject matter, particularly when time in the online space is more interesting than in real-time! When thinking of these tasks, try to offer them a situation that simulates a challenge or scenario that they face every day and show them how your information or solution benefits them. The Boma is ideal to theme and setup your team-building activities with its informal, outdoor setting that is suitable for braais and socialising in our picturesque gardens.

  1. Comfort and convenience.

Does your venue have everything you need for happy conference members? How far away are the snacks, coffee and tea, and toilets? Is accommodation on offer? How long will it take to transport them from the airport?

Situated just 10 minutes away and with free hourly shuttles to and from our newly revamped waiting lounge with free coffee and Wi-Fi at OR Tambo International Airport, convenience is our middle name! We also have four on-site restaurants, three accommodation offerings consisting of 665 rooms, two bars, a pool, spa, gym and high-speed uncapped Wi-Fi; your delegates won’t need to look far for what they need here at Birchwood!

  1. Value for money

At the end of the day, arranging all the details can equate to exorbitant costs if each item is charged separately. Try to find a venue that offers as many of your conferencing needs as a package as possible – you will always get a better deal when using more than one “service”.

Let us take care of the venue, transport to and from the airport, catering, accommodation, and event requirements with our in-house catering, technical team, dedicated event planners, and on-site décor specialists. Take a look at our broad variety of conferencing options here!