• Blog 8: Thoughts I had While Attending the CUCCOA Central Regional Meeting

    Written by Jessica Petrella

    In February, our team attended the annual CUCCOA Central Region meetingWhile we attend this meeting every year, this time was different as it was a virtual event. CUCCOA stands for the Canadian University and Colleges Conference Organizers Association. This is a mini conference of all the conference coordinators and managersConfused yet? You’d be right in thinking “a conference for conference organizers?” …yes, that is a thing! 

    During this year’s virtual event, my mind wandered to a far-off place, which to be honest isn’t that strange considering this past year and everything COVID has thrown at us. 

    My first thought was, “Am I the only one wearing track pants?”  I guess I will never knowThe wonderful thing about virtual events is that you can attend in comfortable attireDressy on top, cozy on the bottom…that’s the way it is for most and I am not complaining at all 

    I was also thinking “is this the way our conference will be each year?”  Unfortunately, I don’t think anyone has a real answer to thatI would like to think that this is temporary, and we will all be faceto-face in the near futureBut how soon will that beThis conference is a terrific way for all of us professionals to connect and network, share our ideas, and brainstorm new ones. I am longing for a day when we can all meet in person again. 

    The last thought that ran through my racing mind was how grateful I wasGrateful that we have the technology to be able to still conduct business virtually20 years ago, there would have been a vastly different outcome. I am grateful that I work in an industry with such awesome people who share the same passion that our team does and who understand the struggles that we are all facing right nowAnd most importantly grateful that I am still able to be a part of this annual event no matter how different it may look this year. 

    Maybe the 2022 conference will look the same or differentWhatever it looks like, I can’t wait to be a part of it again! 



  • Blog 7: A Day in the Life of a Conference Coordinator 

    We’re all longing for the days of onsite events to return. While the coordination of virtual events means little movement from place to place onsite, the oversight requires the same exceptional customer service you expect from our team and attention to detail. 

    Here’s a reminder of the hustle and bustle of the coordination of in-person events.  Our coordinators truly love providing exceptional conferences and events at Brock University and look forward to hosting you on campus in the future. We are currently accepting inquiries for spring and summer 2021 – Book with us today!

    5: 00 a.m. – Wake up, work out and drink coffee – we like to start and finish each day with enthusiasm and energy!

    6:20 a.m. – Check texts and emails while eating breakfast. 

    7:00 a.m. – Arrive at work and check-in at the 24-hour Service Desk in residence to ensure that all went smoothly overnight.

    7:30 a.m. – Meet the carefully selected student staff team and ensure that they have all information and materials required to ensure that the conference and events progress smoothly throughout the day. 

    8:00 a.m. – Arrive at the dining hall and check in on breakfast service. Greet the conference organizers and go over the schedules for the day. Take careful note of any requested changes or additions. 

    8:30 a.m. – Return the office. Greet your colleagues and share updates about your conferences.  

    8:45 a.m. – Reach out to on-campus partners (dining services, residences, custodial, facilities management, etc.) to communicate any additions for the day. Communication is key ensuring that groups have the best experience possible on campus.

    9:00 a.m. – Respond to emails and voicemails regarding upcoming conferences. 

    10:00 a.m. – Update logistics documents for upcoming conferences and events. Share with on-campus partners who help to provide an excellent experience at Brock.

    11:00 a.m. Take a walk through the areas where your guests are. Ensure everything is running smoothly. Grab a coffee on the way back to office. 

    12:00 p.m. – Visit the conference organizer while they eat a delicious lunch in the dining hall to ensure that they have everything they need for the afternoon. 

    1:00 p.m. – Brock is an outstanding location to host a conference or event. Detail the state-of-the-art meeting spaces, classrooms and facilities, over 2000 comfortable beds in residence for onsite accommodations, and delectable dining services  available while creating proposals for future potential clients.  

    3:00 p.m. – Complete administrative work for groups that have just departed the conference center. Carefully craft a thank you card for the conference organizer as we sincerely appreciate that they have chosen to host their event at Brock.

    3:30 p.m. – Meet with the afternoon student staff team and discuss the plans for the evening programming. 

    4:00 p.m. – Connect with the conference organizer to let them know that you will be leaving campus within the half an hour.  Provide the contact number for the team member onsite that will available to answer and questions they may have throughout the evening. Remind them that you are just a phone call or text away if needed.


  • Blog 6: 2021 Event Trends

    2021 Event Trends – What Can We Expect in the World of Events?

    Written by: Jessica Petrella 

    Last year has made us all think creatively about different ways to move forward with business. The way that we’re used to hosting and attending events is currently off the table. And while we are all optimistic that the old way of doing things will return, it will be a while before industry trends go back to “normal.” 

    So, what can we expect in the event world for 2021? Well, it’s safe to say that planning and creating events will still happen, but it will be done a little different this year. 

    Staying Closer to Home: You can expect travelers and groups to stay closer to where they live and avoid air travel. Destinations within driving distance are a safer bet. 

    Revised capacities and seating arrangements: Banquet spaces and meeting rooms with large capacities and close seating will be outdated. These spaces will need to be transformed with less seating and more room between chairs. 

    Hybrid Events: Although it’s expected that inperson events will resume, some delegates may still have hesitation to be in attendance. Offering an event that is both in person and virtual will be beneficial for all delegates to get the opportunity to attend. 

    More Outdoor Events: If the weather permits, outdoor events will be preferred. Open air space gives event goers more peace of mind instead of being in a confined space. 

    Increased Sanitation Procedures: It will be expected that extra cleaning will be taking place in any event space that is used. Hand washing and sanitizer stations are also necessary throughout the event space. 

    Pre-Event Testing: While rapid testing is not available at every location, this may be something we will see sooner rather than later. You can expect event attendees to have a rapid test on site or have a test done prior to arrival.  

    Limited-Service Events: We can expect that events will be simplified with little person to person contact.  

    Swag Bags: Delegates will want to avoid bringing anything home that may be a germ collector.”  Some event planners will send e-cards or mail a gift to your house.  

    Reach out to Brock University Conference and Event Services to help you with event planning. We can help you navigate the new normal by creating and executing exceptional events.

  • Blog 5: Conference & Event Services Year in Review

    Written by: Heather McFarlane


    2020 has certainly been a year to remember! We all have done our parts to ensure the health and safety of others, including cancelling all gatherings until further notice. As we work in the event industry, this put a halt to our plans.

    Without conferences and events, our team has had to adapt as the pandemic moved along. As we reflect on the past year, we are sharing four things that we have done since March.


    Shift to Virtual Events

    Did you know that we have shifted to hosting virtual conference? We have used this past year to expand our knowledge base about virtual events and dove head-first in to host our first two virtual conferences over Fall reading week.

    Connect with us today if you are looking to host your next event virtually!


    We Started Working at an on-campus Screening Desk

    The Brock Campus has been progressing through a phased reopening process. Currently there’s limited access for on-campus courses and research purposes.

    Due to the increase of students, faculty, and staff, there was a need for staff members to work entry points to the University to greet and screen those accessing campus.

    Since the summertime our team has been using our amazing customer service skills to assist in working these desks to ensure those accessing campus are safe to do so. We’re proud to able to help encourage the safety of the Brock Community and the wider Niagara Region.


    We Started This Blog

    We wanted to share our skill sets and services with the world, so we made the decision to start a blog that provides monthly posts about various event planning topics to help you plan your next conference or event.

    Follow us on LinkedIn or Facebook to keep up to date when the next post goes up!


    We Started a Monthly E-Newsletter

    To keep our clients up to date we started a monthly newsletter. Through this last year, we have focused on reaching out to our clients to see how they are doing, lend support and to share what’s happening at Brock. . Starting this newsletter allowed us to stay in touch and provide updates about the University.

    Subscribe to our monthly newsletter and keep up to date with anything Conference and Event Services!

    Subscribe Now


    As we wrap up 2020, we would like to take a moment to thank each and every one of our clients who have put their trust in us as we navigated the last 8 months. You are the reason we love what we do and we cannot wait for the day we can welcome you back to campus once again.

    All the best for a safe and healthy remainder of your 2020. We’re looking forward to connecting with you virtually in the New Year to help plan your next online event!

  • Blog 4: Choosing Great Guest Speakers

    One of the best ways to get potential attendees to hit that register now button is by having an excellent choice of guest speakers. Here are a few tips to help choose your next guest speakers for your event, and how we can assist you in this process. 

    1. Determine the needs and wants of your audience 

    A simple and easy way to do this would be to setup a box on your registration site to ask them what topics attendees are interested inOr if the event has been hosted in the past, review the feedback from attendees who filled out the post-event survey to help guide you.  

    If you are unable to have your guests provide feedback directly, research trending topics within your industry to give you a starting point.   

    2. Ensure they are both content driven and engaging 

    Now that you have determined the type of content to provide based on your audience’s needs and wants, ensure that the content is going to be presented in a way that keeps their attention.  

    If your speaker is not engagingthe audience is more likely to tune them out even if the content is there. The most memorable sessions are the ones where the speaker made them feel engaged. 

    3. Meet the speaker before selecting them 

    Speaking with the person you are considering as your speaker (in person or virtually) is a great opportunity for you both 

    You can explain the conference and convey your guests’ needs and wantsThis will give the potential speaker an opportunity to explain how they could tailor their content to your audience. 

    It is a win, win, win, because you find a great speaker, the speaker books another engagement, and your guests will be treated to a lecture that truly meets or even exceeds their expectations.  

    4. Watch videos of past talks they have given 

    Even if the content in past videos is not what you are planning to share at your conference, these videos will give you the opportunity to see how the speaker delivers a speech. You will be able to determine if they are engaging and keep the audience’s attention, which is especially important during virtual events.  

     5. Use a survey following the event 

     While this one may not help you choose your speaker for this conference, it will certainly help you when planning for the years after. Since you are tailoring your choice to your audience’s needs and wants, who better to ask what they want to see than the audience itself?  

     Send a brief survey a day or two after your event to thank people for attending and ask them to rate the different sessions delivered. Provide a feedback section requesting future topics. 

    6. Choose a Conference Coordinator that can work with your speakers directly 

    We pride ourselves in assisting our clients in every step of the way when booking with us. Often guest speakers have specific requirements in order to deliver their content, such as AV requirements, stage settings, and screen share capabilities.  

    We can work directly with your guest speakers to ensure they have what they need and do a test run through the virtual platform or in-person with the equipment when it’s safe to do so. 

    Let us pair you with the perfect Coordinator for your needs today!

    For more tips from our Brock University Conference and Events team email

    Happy Planning!

  • Blog 3: 5 Tips for Planning Inclusive Events

    When planning both in-person and virtual events, we make sure that the experience is respectful and equitable for all attendees. Here are some tips that we encourage you to incorporate into your next event to make sure that it is inclusive for all.

    1. Registration Site

    To set the tone from the beginning of your event, review your registration site and make sure that it is easy to read for all.

    • Is the font set between 12 and 16?
    • Is the language simple, welcoming and informative?
    • Are the links clearly identified and are they working correctly?
    • Can guests identify allergies and dietary requirements (if food is being served) in advance?
    • Is there an area on the registration page for guests to identify any disabilities and/or accommodations required?

    All of these are important questions to answer before you send your registration out to potential guests.

    2. Communication with Attendees

    Just as with the registration site, ensure that each correspondence that is provided to your attendees is clear and easy to read. This includes:

    • Registration confirmations
    • Information about transportation
    • Any programs or handouts that you will be providing

    Name tags should also be printed in large font and include first name, last name, preferred pronoun and organization that the attendee is representing.

    3. Signage

    Pay special attention to the signage that you are displaying for your event. The font should be large enough to read at a distance and if you’re using colour, ensure that they are contrasting.

    When putting out wayfinding signs, remember that your guests may not be familiar with your venue. Signs should be posted at each “intersection” both inside and outside.

    For equity purposes, be sure to ensure that all your guests can travel the same path between locations.

    4. Accessibility

    Prior to your event, travel all areas of the venue and ensure that you have identified an accessible path for all guests to travel. Identify and remove any barriers as it’s best to ensure that all guests have the same experience if possible.

    When addressing the attendees, use a microphone and be sure to ask presenters to do the same. Arrange interpreters well in advance of the event if needed. All presentations should be prepared in large font and arrange for them to be available after the event for all attendees.

    Should your event staff be asking individuals if they require assistance, be sure that they are asking all attendees.

    5. Evaluations

    After your event, send out an evaluation and ask the attendees for feedback. Ask if there is anything that your organization can be doing to make the event experience more inclusive.

    For more tips from our Brock University Conference and Events team email

    Happy Planning!

  • Blog 2: 5 things to include on your event website

    Looking to plan an event? Our Conferences & Events team pulled together their top 5 things to include on your event website.

    1. Your Event Details

    This may be the most obvious piece on this list, but you would be surprised by just how many websites that do not include all of the event information on them!

    When talking about event details, this should include more than just the date, time, and location. The name of the event and the purpose should be front and centre. What is it and why would I want to attend?

    Details matter:

    There should be information regarding parking, the check-in desk, and more. Think like your customer, what information do you need to know in order to feel confident registering for your event?

    Think to answer questions such as:

    • Is parking free for guests?
    • Is there a specific parking lot guests should be parking in?
    • Where do guests sign-in on the day of the event?
    • Will the sign-in desk be open for the whole event or just for a few hours at the beginning of the day?

    2. Registration Link

    Closing the sales cycles means getting customers to hit the register.

    So how do you make sure they don’t miss it?

    • Have a bold call to action – Register Now, Register Today. Don’t miss out on the event of the year.
    • It is highly recommended to have a pre-registration call to action (see next section for more tips for this).
    • Market how full the event is e.g. 80% sold out!
    • Locate the registration link in a prominent location. Remember: People will give up rather quickly in attending an event if they must search through multiple pages or information to figure out how to register for your event.

    3. Registration Pricing/Early-Bird Rates

    Getting people registered early allows you to start working on operational logistics. Clients that offer savings on registration prices typically see strong registration numbers early in the planning cycle.     Include this on your website! Don’t forget to send out reminders leading into the last days of early pricing. The last thing you want is to have someone not register because they thought they had more time to receive the discount. Tip: have an early bird registration countdown on your website.

    4. Accommodation Options

    Are accommodations included in the guest’s registration fee? If not, you will want to provide local accommodation information for your guests on your website.

    Perhaps you have a partnership with a specific company that is going to offer a flat rate or your chosen venue offers overnight accommodations like we do at Brock University.

    Include information about the rates, the rooms, and contact information for how they can book a room for the event.

    5. Event/Conference Schedule

    Again, another one that may be obvious, but so often forgotten. Always be sure that the schedule posted on your site is the most up to date it can be. Keeping it up to date will allow potential guests to see what sort of sessions or activities are being offered and entice them to hit that Register Now button!

    For more tips from our Brock University Conference and Events team or to get a quote on your upcoming event, email

    Happy Planning!

  • Blog 1: 5 Tips for Planning a Virtual or Hybrid Event

    2020 has brought on many challenges to the world, with one being the ability to gather together. With this change we are seeing a shift to hosting more and more virtual or hybrid style events.

    As we prepare and alter our offerings to service this new industry trend, we wanted to share a few tips with you when planning a virtual or hybrid event.

    1.Determine your content first, then choose your delivery method.

    Your content should influence your delivery. Take in to consideration the following questions to help guide you.

    • Are your presenter’s comfortable and familiar working with technology?
    • How many guests are attending?
    • Will there be one-way flow of information or an open conversation?
    • Does part of your content require hands on interaction?

    The two main methods of delivery are webinars and training sessions.

    • Webinars – one-way flow of information, large number of guests
    • Virtual Training Sessions – back and forth dialogue, small number of guest

    2. Know your equipment before launching the event.

    You should be familiar with any sort of technology system or equipment that you will be using to run your event. If a problem does occur, you want to be able to fix the problem quickly so that the event can keep moving forward.

    3. If you go hybrid, be sure to consider both in-person and virtual attendees.

    A hybrid style event is where you have both virtual and in-person guests for your event. Chances are you would have many more guests attending virtually than in-person for a hybrid event, but you want to ensure that anyone signing up to attend is getting the same experience.

    Some items of consideration for this part of the planning process include:

    • Can both types of guests ask questions to the presenter?
    • Is the presenter easy to hear both from the back of the room and virtually?
    • Is the presenter clearly visible to those attending virtually as they are to those attending in-person?
    • If you are running multiple sessions, is it easy for the virtual guests to jump between sessions as it would be for those in-person?

    4. Lighting and sound are key factors.

    Lighting and sound can greatly impact your guests experience when they are attending virtually.

    Lighting Suggestions:

    • Have the presenter sitting without too much going on in the background (most virtual services offer preset backgrounds if need be)
    • Find a location where light is focused on the front of the presenter
    • Do not trust natural lighting. Your lighting will change as the weather changes throughout the presentation.

    Sound Suggestions:

    • Have presenters connected to microphones if your budget allows
    • Sit in a location where there is not a lot of background noise or chances of interruption
    • For hybrid events, test the sound throughout the room as well as virtually

    5. Do a test run!

    When you begin planning, schedule in your test date at the beginning so you have a date to work towards. Doing a test run will help you work out any kinks that could happen prior to the event date. This is the opportunity to test out your lighting and sound and adjust as needed so that you know how to setup for the day of. Tip: Encourage all presenters and anyone involved in hosting the event to be present at your test run.

    For more tips from our Brock University Conference and Events team or to get a quote on your upcoming event, email

    Happy Planning!