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Five things you need to know to plan a large meeting or conference

A residential conference layout in the Sidlaw suite at West Park. Organising a large meeting or residential conference can be a daunting task. You may be looking for a new venue for your annual staff conference or the perfect suite to host a training day to a large number of colleagues.

So where do you start? Invitations, booking the venue, food? Don’t worry, we’ve got five pointers to help you plan and organise the perfect event.

Getting started

To arrange your event, you’ll need to set a date and time. Make sure you shop around, as many venues will offer a planning service. At West Park we have a team of expert event planners to help you create the perfect conference day. Our team can assist you with the best seating and layouts, setting up equipment on the day and finalising those crucial details. 

Book the venue

You’ve probably got a picture in your head of how you want the room to look. Most venues can provide an overview of all of their available rooms. At West Park we offer two ideal rooms for either large conferences or events. If you’re looking for a larger scale event, our Sidlaw Suite can hold up to 300 people. If it’s just a smaller conference setting you’re looking for then our Balbeggie Suite seats up to 100 people.


Providing the catering for a large number of guests can be a real headache. Not all venues provide catering, so it’s important to find this out. We offer a number of lunch packages including delicious delicatessen nibbles and freshly-made sandwiches.


Consider the equipment you will need for the day. Make sure the venue offers everything you need. We provide projectors, screens, laptops and flipcharts upon request. We also offer free Wi-Fi.

Overnight stay

You may have to think about overnight accommodation for your guests, especially if they have travelled far. It can be a long day and they’ll need a good night’s rest before travelling back the next day. During the summer months of June, July and August we offer special rates for conference delegates.

If you are thinking of planning a large business event or you are looking for a new annual conference venue, get in touch with our team or fill out our conference and meeting enquiry form.

Read Five things you need to know to plan a large meeting or conference …

Six key factors to planning a successful training event

WestParks' boardrooms can be optimised for your meeting or training needs Off-site training events are one of the best ways to keep your employees motivated and develop their skills. If you’re planning a training event, here are our tips:

Choose a good quality trainer

Whether you choose a professional trainer or someone from your business, they need to be strong communicators and have good interaction skills to ensure trainees stay focused during the training.

Ensure the training content is engaging

If your training content is exciting and interesting, your trainees will be more willing to learn and absorb the information they’re given. To help keep your trainees motivated include a mix of activities, such as role playing or an informal quiz.

Pick a good venue

Trainers have told us that the most effective training occurs off-site because there are fewer interruptions and trainees are more likely to concentrate. So choose a professional venue in a good location that offers a good-quality service. West Park, located in the quiet suburbs of Dundee, offers spacious training rooms and a flexible approach to customers’ training needs.

Have the right equipment

A professional venue will provide all the audio visual and IT equipment you need whatever your planned activities, but not all venues include this in their package prices. If you’re planning hands-on training you may need Wi-Fi, flip chart paper and sticky notes, so make sure these are available.

Provide brain-stimulating food and drinks

A healthy menu and regular refreshments will ensure your trainees stay alert and motivated throughout the day. Our menus offer delicious healthy food made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. 

Measure your success

It’s a good idea to ask for feedback including the training content, the trainer and the venue. This information will help you to measure success, make improvements and identify further training for your trainees.  

If you’re planning a training session, our team at West Park can help you to deliver a successful event. Please contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

Read Six key factors to planning a successful training event…

Bored of the same four walls in your meetings?

Glen Doll meeting room with desk in horseshoe layout If you need to brainstorm your next project or discuss targets for the next financial year, the same four walls or a busy canteen may not provide the most inspiring environment. Choosing an off-site venue is an ideal solution to make the most of your team's skills and get the creative juices flowing.

Here are five reasons why you should consider an off-site venue for your next meeting:

1.    Greater productivity.

The same environment and agenda can be boring for your team. A change of venue can encourage new ideas and creativity; it can also create a sense of excitement which can help to motivate your team even when they return to the office.

2.    Space.

Giving your team the right space, whether it’s a comfortable, bright meeting room or access to an outdoor space can help ideas flow more freely and allow employees to feel relaxed. West Park, located in the leafy west end of Dundee, has a range of meeting rooms available, suitable for teams of all sizes.

3.    No distractions.

When you’re in an office meeting there can be countless distractions which are difficult to ignore such as; emails, phone calls and urgent issues. Getting your team out of their comfort zone and into a new environment can energise them and help to focus on the tasks at hand.

4.    Good facilities.

A venue with helpful, dedicated staff and good facilities such as Wi-Fi, flipcharts and audio visual equipment is likely to make your meeting a better experience for your team. Providing refreshments and a brain-stimulating lunch will also help to keep your team focused throughout the day. At West Park, our menus offer delicious healthy food made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. 

5.    Networking opportunities.

When you move your meeting to an off-site venue, employees can get to know each other in a more relaxed environment. Your team will have opportunities to share their knowledge and build up key relationships which may contribute to the success of your project in the long run.   

If you’re looking for a new venue for your next meeting, check out our conference centre facilities. Our full-day delegate package is competitively priced at £27.99 per person and includes room hire, a venue co-ordinator, equipment hire and a delicious lunch.

Read Bored of the same four walls in your meetings? …

How to plan a sports team celebration event

A sports dinner setup in the West Park venue. One way to round off the end of your sporting season or to motivate your sports team is to organise a celebration event or awards ceremony.

Whether it’s a black tie night to celebrate winning the local rugby league, a social gathering for your orienteering team or an awards ceremony to recognise your Tae Kwon Do team’s efforts, West Park has the perfect space available.

Advance planning is the key to creating a successful sporting celebration event, so we’ve put together a checklist to make your event a success:

Choose the right venue.

Make sure the venue is suitable for the size of your party and is within your budget. It should be within easy reach for your guests, ideally with parking facilities, or has accommodation on-site or nearby for overnight stays. West Park has a wide variety of venues, suitable for a small intimate dinner or a gala banquet with a DJ or band, on-site parking and disabled facilities. We also offer comfortable accommodation in the summer months.

Check the venue’s facilities.

It’s important that the venue supplies everything you need to make your event run smoothly, including electrical and audio-visual equipment. West Park’s event experts can arrange tailored events with all the equipment and facilities, so you can enjoy your event without any hitches.

Set a date.

Make sure the date you pick doesn’t conflict with any other events in your guests’ calendars.

Price everything up and decide your budget.

You need to know how much you have to spend on the venue, food, transport, entertainment and gifts.

Select the menu.

An exciting menu that offers lots of choice and caters for special diets if necessary will keep your guests happy. At West Park we offer delicious menus sourced from the finest local ingredients and we cater for special dietary requirements.

Send out your invitations.

This could be a simple email, a text, a poster on your clubhouse’s noticeboard or you could even create a Facebook event to remind your guests to save the date.

Organise your seating plan.

This will help everyone know where they should go when they arrive and it tends to make guests feel more comfortable.

Add some fun.

You’ll want the event to be enjoyable, so arrange to have some images on a large screen or a video playing of your sports team’s highlights or achievements. Holding a raffle with donated gifts from local businesses or friends and family is also a popular choice.

You can find out more about holding your next event at West Park on our Sport events page or contact us to discuss your needs.

Read How to plan a sports team celebration event …

Nine questions to ask your wedding venue

A wedding layout in the Balbeggie Suite at West Park. Possibly the most expensive item in your wedding budget is booking the wedding venue. It’s really important to ask the right questions to get exactly what you want from your dream venue and to help your big day to run smoothly.

Here’s a list of questions to ask your potential venue:

1. Is it big enough for all my guests?

Only visit venues that are suitable for your numbers. West Park offers intimate wedding suites to suit small gatherings and can comfortably accommodate bigger celebrations too.

2. Is my preferred date available?

Wedding experts advise you to book as early as you can to get your preferred date. If your dates are flexible, you can get some great last-minute deals. Check out West Park’s late-availability packages.

3. Is there an in-house wedding co-ordinator?

A good wedding co-ordinator will take the organising out of your hands so you can concentrate on the rest of your planning. West Park provides a friendly, personal service from the moment you book right through to your wedding day.

4. Can the venue accommodate my theme?

Check if they can make your ideas a reality and if there are any restrictions with decor. Find out where the photographs will be taken to make sure the backdrop fits in with your theme.

5. Is there in-house catering?

If the venue provides food, ask to see all the menu options and if they’re flexible on menu choices; ask if they cater for children and special diets too. Find out more about West Park’s wedding menus.

6. Is all the equipment included?

Check if the room hire includes tables, chairs, linen, glassware and extras such as; chair covers, personalised menus and a cake stand and a knife. These small things can add up, so if you need to hire them, make sure you include them in your budget.   

7. Is entertainment allowed?

If the answer is ‘yes’, check there is sufficient power supply for any entertainment and sound systems that you may need. Also, find out how late the bar will be open and what time you and your guests will need to leave the venue.

8. Is there sufficient parking for guests?

It may not be a deal breaker but if there isn’t enough parking available, ask the venue for details on alternative parking nearby and let your guests know the location.

9. When does the deposit need to be paid?

To secure a venue you will often need to pay a deposit, so ask how much it is, when it needs to be paid and when the rest is due. It’s worth attending the wedding exhibitions at potential venues, so you can often take advantage of generous discounts. West Park offers a reduced deposit and the previous year’s price, if you attend their free wedding exhibitions.

West Park offers the finest traditional Scottish hospitality, first-class cuisine and a choice of suites. If you would like to arrange a viewing West Park, please get in touch.

Read Nine questions to ask your wedding venue…
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