The conference and events team at Royal Holloway has a wealth of experience in hosting large scale residential conference. Here are some case studies of some of our recent conferences.
Himalayan balsam: Its ecology, invasion and management. A one day workshop - January 2019
Himalayan balsam: Its ecology, invasion and management
A Royal Holloway hosted day meeting
A one-day science workshop was held at Royal Holloway on 9th January, 2019, co-organised and hosted by Royal Holloway’s Professor Alan Gange, School of Biological Sciences, his Post Doctoral Research Assistant, Dr. Amanda Currie and the Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI). The workshop comprised a series of delivered talks by researchers working on the ecology and management of the invasive weed, Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera). A summary of the National Environmental Research Council (NERC) funded project: “Community consequences of releasing a biological control agent” was given, as well as other current research developments centred on this invasive species. The workshop was fully sponsored by the NERC and was therefore free for delegates to attend. The event formed part of the research project’s ‘Pathways to Impact’ pledge to disseminate the information garnered by the programme.
The workshop was held in the Lecture Theatre of Royal Holloway’s state-of-the-art Shilling Building, with the adjacent Seminar room used as a poster room and working lunch area. The large foyer immediately outside the meeting spaces, housed a small exhibition from CABI with a few information banners and some of their publications on display. Delegates were able to view the exhibition and network in the foyer area during coffee breaks. The Shilling Building is Royal Holloway’s newest conference and event space, opened in July 2018 and it also houses an impressive 250 seat auditorium, suitable for larger events.
Organisation of the workshop was handled jointly by Royal Holloway’s School of Biological Sciences, who was responsible for collating delegate registrations via Eventbrite, sending out announcements and keeping track of dietary requests, and the Conference & Events Office, who produced maps and arrival information for delegates as well as delegate folders containing conference materials and name badges.
Delegates were advised to park in Car Park 4, which was detailed on their joining instructions sent out prior to the workshop. Directional signage from the car park to the Shilling Building was created by the Conference & Events office.
There was a team of Royal Holloway staff present throughout the workshop, including three members of Royal Holloway research staff, a Conference Assistant and a Conference Account Executive.
As this event was a day meeting, accommodation on campus was only required for the 7 keynote speakers, who were all allocated bedrooms the night before the event in The Hub, Royal Holloway’s on-site guesthouse. Each residential delegate was handed a pre-loaded charge card upon check-in, which was redeemable for breakfast items the following morning at any of the coffee shops on Campus.
The delegates enjoyed the meeting. Here is some of the feedback received:
“I would just like to give a special mention to the staff. Without a doubt, the best support I have ever had from a professional services department. They were so helpful and knowledgeable and nothing was too much trouble. Without them, the meeting would not have been the success that it was”.
“We really liked the Shilling Building and the lecture theatre format with its small sofas and tables was just right. A lot of people said that the catering was excellent”.
“I wanted to thank you for hosting a most enjoyable and worthwhile event at Royal Holloway. The venue was so comfortable and well designed and the lunch and other refreshments were delicious. Thank you for making me feel so welcome”.
“I think the conference was wonderfully organized and I really enjoyed listening to all the interesting talks”.
The Smallpeice Trust Astrophysics Residential Course - July 2018
The Smallpeice Trust and Royal Holloway University work together to inspire and support young students’ ambition in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). They regularly run courses for students aged between 12 and 17 on a variety of STEM subjects.
In July 2018, Royal Holloway hosted a three-day Astrophysics Residential Course run jointly by Royal Holloway’s Physics Department, the conference office and The Smallpeice Trust.
The course took place in the state-of-the-art Moore Building, with accommodation in Royal Holloway’s premium en-suite bedrooms in Wedderburn Hall. Two carparks on the Royal Holloway campus were allocated for parents to drop off students on the first morning of the course, both of which were a short walk from the Moore Building. A lockable room was made available for luggage in the Moore Building and an access key card was given to the main organiser from The Smallpeice Trust.
Royal Holloway Physics provided the academic content for the course with world class researchers delivering talks and workshops and Student Ambassadors discussing their experiences studying Physics in a top 25 UK University. The organisation was supported by a team of Royal Holloway staff present throughout the course, including a Conference Assistant, Conference Account Executive, Catering Shift Leader and several members of the catering team, as well as the Outreach Officer from Royal Holloway’s Physics Department.
As the course was aimed at students under 18 years of age, it was important that their accommodation was allocated in one self-contained block within the hall of residence, consisting of flats with 8 en-suite bedrooms in each. This ensured that the students were not sharing flats with other conference guests. Master keys were given to Smallpeice Trust Chaperons, in case of lock outs or any potential emergencies.
The food offering included a three course self-service dinner in the Dining Hall and a BBQ in the Crosslands Suite. Royal Holloway chefs were careful to ensure that the menus were adapted to suit teenage tastes.
A total of 60 Year 11 students attended the Astrophysics Course and the conference and social programme included:
- Talks and workshops led by Royal Holloway’s academic staff. Topics included: the mysteries of the cosmos, current updates in gravitational waves astronomy, the hunt for dark matter and more. Students also had the chance to discuss what it’s like to study Physics at university with current students;
- A day trip to The Royal Observatory in Greenwich;
- A course related quiz night and film night;
- Student presentations to parents and an Awards Ceremony in Royal Holloway’s Picture Gallery.
The students enjoyed the course – 82% of them said it had increased their interest in Physics, 98% of them said they would recommend the course to a friend and 100% rated their accommodation and lecture facilities as either “good” or “excellent”. Here are some of their comments, as well as comments from The Smallpeice Trust:
“The lectures were really useful and interesting and the course was very hands-on, which was good”.
“Talks with professors were extremely good. Best part.”
“The liaison we experienced from Royal Holloway in advance of the event was highly attentive, efficient and professional. Our conference assistant was similarly attentive and professional during the event. Overall, the best University Conference Liaison I have worked with in 2 years of conferencing in Universities across the UK”.
“I was particularly impressed with the catering staff who were so attentive. They even knew what our evening activity had been and what we were doing that day – such a can do attitude – best university caterers’ we have used this season and I have been to 8 universities this season”.
To find out more about The Smallpeice Trust and the work they do, please visit their website.
To find out more about Physics events at Royal Holloway, please visit the Royal Holloway Physics webpage.
Battersea Dogs and Cats Home Volunteering and Fostering Conference - June 2018
Royal Holloway hosted the Battersea Dogs and Cats Volunteering and Fostering Conference for 164 delegates in June 2018.
The conference took place in the state-of-the-art Windsor Building. The conference plenary sessions all took place in the auditorium, but several of the adjacent seminar rooms were used for subject specific breakout sessions. There were several layout requests in the auditorium such as tables and chairs for the “panel” and a prizes/awards table, which were facilitated in advance. Six exhibitors were present during the conference and all had stands in the Windsor Building foyer area, immediately outside the main auditorium. These were set out in advance by Royal Holloway porters.
Most Battersea delegates arrived by pre-arranged coach. The coach company was advised to drop off and collect delegates at the closest possible point to the Windsor building. Free on-site car parking was made available to delegates not arriving by coach, which was in a car park located a two-minute walk from the Windsor Building. This was advised in the joining instructions distributed by the conference office ahead of the event.
Due to the high number of speakers on the conference programme, there were 2 extra lapel microphones requested. Battersea also wanted to play a video via a ‘Vimeo’ link at the start of the session. Both of these requests were discussed and agreed in advance with Royal Holloway’s dedicated Windsor Building AV technicians.
A conference working lunch was delivered by Royal Holloway’s in-house catering team. As Battersea is an animal charity, there were higher numbers of vegetarians and vegans than usual, so it was important to ensure that they were adequately catered for at lunchtime. Plenty of soya milk and vegan snacks were also made available at break times.
Seven dogs and a kitten were present at the conference. Special arrangements were made to ensure the animal handlers had a designated ‘quiet’ area away from the main conference foyer and away from where food and drink was being served. A safe area for the animals within the auditorium was identified in advance to avoid the dogs’ claws getting trapped in the speaker vents in the auditorium floor.
There was a team of Royal Holloway staff present throughout the duration of the conference, which included the conference account executive, an AV technician and two conference assistants. The team was on hand to offer support during the conference’s Q and A sessions as well as providing technical expertise (including uploading presentations and ensuring speakers were linked up to the microphone), catering needs and general administrative help and support.
The delegates really enjoyed the event and everyone gave a maximum score of 4 in all categories of the feedback form. Here are a few of their comments:
“BIG thanks to you and your team for the support you provided yesterday. We are delighted with the way it went and received top feedback from delegates about the venue and facilities.”
“We found all staff at Royal Holloway to be really accommodating and helpful, particularly the Conference Assistants on the day”.
For more information about Battersea Dogs and Cats home and the work they do, please visit their website.
AFCEA UK’s TriCyCIS Conference – 14th April 2016
In April 2016, Royal Holloway hosted the AFCEA (The Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association) UK’s TriCyCIS annual cyber conference and dinner.
Over 200 delegates registered for the conference, which took place in the state-of-the-art Windsor Building with an exhibition in the reception and ground floor areas immediately outside the main auditorium.
Delegates had the opportunity to register for the conference and dinner or the dinner only. The dinner was held in Royal Holloway’s original Victorian dining hall, located in the iconic Founder’s Building and it proved so popular, that tickets had sold out completely well in advance of the conference.
A large number of delegates and exhibitors made the most of the comfortable on-site accommodation both the night before the conference as well as after the gala dinner. Single en-suite and premium en-suite rooms were on offer with a full English breakfast served in the dining hall and the feedback was that being in such a central location close to all aspects of the conference and dinner was advantageous.
The floorplan for the exhibition was drawn up in advance and exhibitors were required to set up the evening before. A dedicated area was provided for niche technology SME companies and larger corporates were located in the main foyer area. Help was on hand from the Royal Holloway team to assist with the set up. The 20 exhibitors were given a table and chair plus sufficient room for a pull-up banner stand. With 8 flexible seminar rooms in the Windsor Building, there is 500m² of exhibition space over two floors, so there was plenty of room on this occasion.
Owing to the high profile nature of the event, a Security Manager was appointed to oversee traffic management and parking. Two pre-conference meetings were arranged with representatives from AFCEA UK to discuss the security arrangements as several high ranking Government Officials and Military VIP guests were among the delegates. Resident guests were directed to the car park near to their accommodation, while day conference delegates were given the opportunity to park nearer to the auditorium.
Registration and programme distribution was from 8am on the morning of the conference at the Windsor Building reception desk and was handled jointly by AFCEA and Royal Holloway conference assistants. Tea, coffee, pastries and muffins were available in the foyer for all delegates.
In addition to the conference assistants, there was a team of staff present during the conference. This included porters to help set up the exhibition, the Conference and Events Manager, a technician to help with A/V and IT, Customer Service staff to check in all the residential guests and a large number of catering staff for all refreshment breaks, lunch and the gala dinner.
The conference and social programme included:
- A complementary pre-conference drinks and networking reception, including a demonstration using methods, tactics and tools from a current cyber conflict;
- Conference presentations from several 2 & 3* level government and military speakers;
- Two great panel discussion sessions;
- Networking with conference delegates and exhibitors during the conference breaks and over lunch
- A post conference drinks reception in the South Quadrangle followed by a black tie gala dinner in Founder’s Dining Hall.
The delegates really enjoyed the event. Here are a few of their comments:
“On behalf of all of our organising committee, our VIP Guests, speakers and delegates, I’d like to thank all of the Royal Holloway staff involved for their huge support and help in making this such a successful event. We have had an overwhelmingly positive level of feedback. As I said after our 2015 dinner at Royal Holloway: “a great management team = great events!” Add to that a stunning setting and, if anything, it was even better than last time.”
“May I add my sincere thanks once more. The venue was perfect and the support services outstanding.”
“I heard several people saying how good the venue was and how they might use it again for dinners and the conference.”
The 7th European Spores Conference – 18-20th April 2016
In April 2016, Royal Holloway hosted the 7th European Spores Conference which took place in the state-of-the-art Windsor Building with a corporate sponsorship exhibition immediately outside the main auditorium.
One hundred and fifty delegates registered for the conference with registration handled by Royal Holloway’s own conference office.
Delegates were appreciative of the “package” deal offered, which included attendance at the 3 day conference as well as all meals and accommodation, as it meant that there were no additional hidden costs. Free on-site car parking was made available for delegates and sponsors and this was advised in the joining instructions distributed by the conference office ahead of the event.
Accommodation before, during and after the conference was available in Royal Holloway’s Tuke and Reid halls, which are both conveniently located close to the conference and dining facilities. Both single en-suite and premium en-suite rooms were on offer in flats of 8, with a shared living area in which the delegates were able to network and socialise outside of the conference hours. A full English breakfast was served in the Founder’s Dining Hall on both mornings. As Royal Holloway was also hosting a large language school group at the same time, the conference team ensured that conference delegates and language school children were kept separate at breakfast time.
The conference attracted 16 corporate sponsors, many of whom chose to have an exhibition stand located in the Windsor Building foyer. Sponsors were given the option of bronze, silver, gold or main event sponsorship packages, allowing them to tailor their exposure to the audience to suit their individual requirements. They were also offered the added flexibility of exhibiting on both full days of the conference, or just one.
The floorplan for the exhibition was drawn up in advance and exhibitors were required to set up on the morning of the first full day. Help was on hand from the Royal Holloway team to assist with the set up. The 16 exhibitors were given a table and chair plus sufficient room for a pull-up banner stand, plus any laboratory equipment that they had brought along to showcase. The 500m² of exhibition space available in the Windsor Building meant that there was plenty of room on this occasion.
Registration and programme distribution was from 1pm on the first day of the conference at the Windsor Building reception desk and was handled by two Royal Holloway conference assistants. In addition to the conference assistants, there was a team of staff present throughout the duration of the conference. This included a conference management officer, an AV technician and conference and event managers. The team were on hand to offer support during the conference’s Q and A sessions as well as providing technical expertise (including uploading presentations and ensuring speakers were linked up to the microphone) catering needs and general administrative help such as distributing attendance certificates, collecting delegate feedback and booking taxis to assist with the smooth departure of the delegates.
The conference and social programme included:
- A pre-conference drinks reception in the Crosslands bar, followed by a buffet dinner in the Founder’s Dining Hall;
- Conference presentations from a truly international group of speakers including experts from the USA, The Netherlands, Spain, France, Germany, Slovakia, Denmark, Belgium, New Zealand, Canada, India, Chile and the UK;
- Two lengthy poster and networking sessions;
- A dinner cruise on the River Thames
- A farewell drinks reception in the Picture Gallery followed by a 3 course banquet in the Founder’s Dining Hall.
Royal Holloway has a successful track record of organising this conference, having hosted the 3 most recent European Spores Conferences and this has allowed the team to build a good, in-depth knowledge of the client’s requirements.
The delegates really enjoyed the event. Here are a few of their comments:
“This conference is extremely well organised – I liked the conference book, the talk schedule, the venue, the food, the entertainment. All greatly thought out to the smallest detail”.
“I absolutely agree that this conference offers value for money. Super science in great surroundings, with wonderful talks”.
“Superb. Could not be better”.