What are the Room Setup Options for Your Next Event?
Room layouts can have a huge impact on engagement of attendees and the overall success of your next event. Whether you are looking to promote better learning, encourage networking, provide a good performance experience, or enable brainstorming or team building interaction, the optimal layout of a room is key to enabling you to accomplish these goals.
With this in mind, we have come up with a guide to help you understand some of the most common layouts and which one will work best for you.
1 – Banquet Seating
Also called Dinner Style, Banquet Style seating is where attendees sit around 60″ or 72″ tables. The tables are then placed in the most space efficient manner. This is best for dinner based events that don’t require attendees to focus on a central point in the room. While it is conducive to networking at the table, it is difficult for guests to interact with other tables which may creates silos.
Often Used For: Weddings, evening events, sit-down dinner, music or entertainment performances that don’t require full audience attention throughout
2 – Conference Seating
In this configuration, tables are turned inwards to create a square or rectangle with participants seated at the tables facing the middle. This configuration allows for participation, interaction and discussion and is perfect for small breakout sessions and meetings. This setup is only recommended for 24 participants or less since it takes up a lot of space and more attendees can create the opposite of the desired effect.
Often Used For: Meetings, conference breakout sessions, smaller sessions, brainstorming.
3 – H-Square Seating
Similar to conference seating, H-Square or Hollow Square seating consists of 4 tables put together in a square or rectangle shape with a hole in the middle. Like with conference seating, guests are facing one another which helps with participation and interaction. H-square can accommodate more attendees than conference style so should be used for slightly larger meetings or conferences.
Often Used For: Meetings, conference breakout sessions, brainstorming.
4 – U-Shape Seating
U-Shape is similar to H-square but with only 3 sides and often having a conference table in front for presenters to stand behind. This allows the audience to see each other and have clear visibility of the speaker or whatever is going on inside the U.
Often Used For: Interactive sessions such as small conferences & meetings, debates, workshops, brainstorming sessions
5 – Reception Style
Reception style is perfect when you are trying to accommodate as many guests as possible while trying to encourage networking. This style often has several long tables for food or bars on the ends of the room with or without small high-top cocktail tables scattered throughout the space for guests to stand and rest.
Often Used For: short events, happy hours, networking events
6 – Classroom Style
Attendees sit in chairs behind (shared) tables facing the front of a room where there is a presentation area. This is often used where there is a need for note taking, test taking, or experiments or where a surface is needed to observe or explore something.
Often Used For: Lectures, training, medium sized conferences, longer events, events using computers and/or tablets
7 – Table & Chair Style
Individual tables and chairs are an option for small group learning and discussion, networking, and training. Guests sit in chairs around tables and do not usually get up to network but just work within their own groups.
Often Used For: training where small group discussions or activities are conducted, networking, table games or activities
8 – Auditorium Style
Auditorium or theater style seating, sometimes referred to as rows or a tiered setup, consists of chairs set up in straight rows facing a central point, such as a staging area, usually with an aisle in the middle to allow guests to reach their seats. This is one of the most common and traditional layouts and is used when trying to fit as many attendees into a space as possible. It is perfect for conferences and events that require a large scale presentation or a stage area. It does not provide a good environment for guests to talk or network and attendees tend to spread out leaving gaps.
Often Used For: Large conferences, displays, lectures, product launches, performances
If none of these seating styles are perfect for your event, there may be options to modify them to suit your needs. For example, if you like the banquet style and are planning on serving plated food but need guests to both watch a presentation and work together as a group, perhaps the best option is a cabaret seating arrangement where guests are seated around one side of a round or square table facing the front of the room. This arrangement provides plenty of comfort and space for long events while providing the benefits of banquet and classroom style layouts.
Remember, there are always ways you can tweak one of the more traditional arrangements to make them work for you and help make your event a success. If you need help, venue personnel as well as the professionals at Reventals are available to help you come up with the best option for you.