Six Conference Organising Tips


Conference delegates should reap the professional benefits of networking, according to new survey from Conference Leeds

15 April 2024: The UK has hosted 1.02million conferences in the last year alone, generating an outstanding £16.3 billion for the economies of popular conference destinations1.

As one of the leading conference destinations in the UK, Leeds has seen huge success in the last 12 months, welcoming 2.5 million delegates to 32,600 business events, which has brought £413 million direct expenditure to the city2.

As one of the UK’s leading conference and event destinations, Leeds consistently provides conference organisers and their delegates an exceptional conference experience. In a new survey, the city’s conferencing bureau, Conference Leeds has revealed exactly what today’s delegates are looking for from their conference experience, and what organisers should consider when planning their programmes.


The new data demonstrated what aspects of a conference will encourage delegates to be a more active attendee. The top five responses are:

  1. An engaging conference environment (37%)
  2. Entertainment (25%)
  3. Networking sessions (21%)
  4. Socialising (21%)
  5. Group exercise classes (20%)


The survey has highlighted the important role that an engaging conference environment has in encouraging delegates to become a more active attendee and this was the top consideration delegates search for when attending a conference (37%). While, almost half of those surveyed said activities involving networking and socialising would make them a more active participant when attending a conference.

However, even though socialising and networking activities are making delegates a more active participant at business events, delegates aren’t seeing the potential professional benefits to these parts of conferencing itineraries.


The research found the top three least professionally beneficial parts of a business event, are:

  1. Breakout sessions (26%)
  2. Networking sessions (22%)
  3. Socialising lunches (21%)

With networking sessions and socialising lunches coming out in the top three, the data shows that event organisers should carefully consider the balance of their upcoming itineraries to ensure delegates realise the full potential of these types of sessions.

The survey data also suggested that, in a world where life is fast-paced, delegates would prefer the latest insights from experts in a short and concise presentation. Seeing a well-known industry expert (39%), short, time-focused presentations (33%) and an ‘ask the expert’ session (31%) would keep delegates the most engaged at a conference.


Event organisers can also keep delegates engaged by avoiding these session types.

  1. CSR activities (95%) including charity fundraising, team building activities and pledging
  2. Live polling (94%) as part of an interactive conference presentations
  3. Speed networking (92%) with short, allocated time to spend time with other conference delegates
  4. Debates (90%) where speakers pose an argument for an open delegate and panel discussion
  5. Live event illustration (89%) to visually represent the outcomes of the key discussion of the conference


Commenting on its research, Claire Heap, head of Conference Leeds, said: “As one of the leading conferencing and business event destinations in the UK, Leeds hosts a multitude of successful events from a wide variety of sectors on an annual basis.

“Many business event organisers will understand the importance of finding the right balance of expert insights, ideas sessions, exhibition browsing and networking. Our recent research has suggested that even though delegates may not realise the professional benefit from networking or socialising, such as new contacts, client leads or product information, it’s still an integral part of the delegate experience.”

Conference Leeds, the conferencing bureau for the city of Leeds, offers a free and impartial service to assist delegates in experiencing the exceptional. To explore your options ahead of your next conference, visit:

To find out more about Conference Leeds’ recent research, visit:


Notes To Editors:

Data references:

  1. UKCAMS UK 2023 results
  2. UKCAMS Leeds 2023 results

For any further information on this release, please contact [email protected]

The creation of this content has been part funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

Leeds is acknowledged as the Best UK Conference Destination (2020 C&IT Awards) and in 2022, hosted 32,600 conferences that welcomed two and a half million delegates and generated £412.6 million (UKCAMS). Leeds’ visitor economy was also worth £2.2 billion in 2022 as the city welcomed 29.68 million tourism visits that year (STEAM).

Winners of the Best Destination Team at the miaList Awards 2021, Conference Leeds offer tailored conference propositions designed to delight and surprise. Offering a dedicated planning team, from venues and accommodation to catering and logistics, Conference Leeds works through every stage and detail to deliver an event like no other. For more information visit