Tips to liven up your conference in a unique venue

April 26, 2019

By Gareth McTiffin

The word ‘conference’ can have its connotations, and unfortunately, it sometimes sparks an image of drab grey chairs, clipboards and predictable lunches… Egg and cress, anyone?

The days of lifeless conferences are truly behind us, as event planners and businesses have been working hard at getting it right when it comes to creative conferencing.

While conference-goers have become all too used to Powerpoint presentations and finger sandwiches, you can exceed their expectations, captivate their attention and give them a conference that’s as fun as it is insightful. The key to a good (and memorable) conference is attention to detail and most importantly, the element of surprise.

It can be easy to assume a conference is all about business with no room for fun, but with a little thought and a little creativity, it can be pretty simple to liven it up.

Event space in Cardiff Bay
Meeting Room at Techniquest, over-looking the water in Cardiff Bay

Finding the ultimate backdrop

The first step is to find your perfect venue, and the best venue spaces are often unique and unexpected. The right venue can get your guests talking about your event before they even walk through the door, adding to the anticipation and even igniting conversation across your social media platforms. Don’t forget to check those mentions.

Already ticked that off your list? Here’s how to make the most of your big conference in a unique venue…

Conference Venues in Cardiff
Conferences at Techniquest, A Science Discovery Centre in Cardiff ©2018

Breakout of your comfort zone and into interesting breakout spaces

Lectures and presentations are a vital element to all conferences, but guests need interesting spaces to explore and relax in between the business of talks, seminars and panel discussions.

You’ll also want to minimise the chances of guests leaving the building to see what is on offer elsewhere, e.g. if they need to run to the nearest Starbucks for a sugary jolt of caffeine, chances are that’s something they’ll have loved to have seen on site.

If your venue has plenty of room, you can create cosy corners with lounge seating and coffee stations, or maybe hold ice breaker activities in a separate area where guests can get to know each other without added pressure.

With a lab, boardroom and on-site planetarium, we’ve got plenty of ways to keep things interesting.

Clever catering goes a long way

We all have one shared interest, and that’s food. It’s almost a guarantee that catering can make or break an event, and one way or another, it will get people talking.

While a conference may seem like another opportunity for a trusty finger food buffet or predictable hot lunch, it’s the perfect chance to get creative. Teaming up with the right caterer can help you with this, and we work closely with our friends at Epic Caterers to cook up inventive, smart and delicious food options, all with your guests in mind.

Why not add some street food to your event, or theme your catering around your conference topic? If you’re keen to sweeten things up, you could always arrange pick and mix stations as an extra treat.

Getting hands-on

The bonus of booking a unique venue is the chance to enjoy everything the venue usually has to offer on a normal day. We’ve got two-floors of hands-on, interactive science exhibits and even a VR experience that will bring out the child in everyone. You could even plan a scavenger hunt around our building, which is perfect for relationship building and giving people something to talk about.

Guests interacting with exhibits at an event

Do it for the ‘gram

It goes without saying that your guests will want to document their experience on their social media channels, so why not embrace it?

We love thinking outside of the box when it comes to a guest’s experience and this often includes creating visual talking points, all with social media in mind.

This could mean something as simple as giant photo frames, cut out boards, or maybe an instant photo station where guests can take away a tangible memory.

Eager to get feedback? Why not set up a colourful graffiti wall where guests can leave messages, business cards and feedback for the hosts.

If you enjoyed our tips on taking your conference from drab to fab and want to see what we can offer for your next event, get in touch with our events team.

Get in touch

For more information on holding an event at Techniquest, please contact us at or on 029 2047 5475.

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Find us

  • Techniquest, Stuart Street, Cardiff, CF10 5BW

Contact us

  • 029 2047 5475
    Mon–Fri: 9am–5pm Sat–Sun: 10am–5pm
    While we always endeavour to answer calls, when the centre is busy it may not always be possible.
    If you leave us a message we will respond to you as quickly as we can.

Opening hours

  • Techniquest’s opening hours vary — visit the Opening Times page to find out the current hours.

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  •   What is Techniquest?

    Techniquest is an educational charity, with a science centre in Cardiff Bay. Our mission is to embed science in Welsh culture through interactive engagement. We provide a range of services to schools and teachers to complement formal education provision in Wales and work extensively with public audiences.

  •   Where can I park?

    We are pleased to be able to offer all of our visitors discounted parking with Q-Park, our preferred parking partner.

    The Q-Park operates the Cardiff Bay car park in Pierhead Street which is around 8 minutes walk from Techniquest.

    We have agreed a special discount rate for our customers of 15% off all pre-bookings.
    Pre-book and guarantee your space here using the code TECHNI15.

    There are also nearby pay-and-display car parks on Stuart Street and Havannah Street. Please do not park on Havannah Street itself.

    We regret that there is no parking on-site at Techniquest.

  •   Who is it for?

    Techniquest is suitable for all ages! We do have special events for certain groups, however — see Toddler Days and Home Educator days.

  • I have a different question.

    Please see our dedicated FAQ page.

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