Tagged: Event planning

7 Signs You've Found the Perfect Conference Venue

- by Alyson Shane

Are you wondering how to find the perfect conference venue?

Choosing the perfect conference venue isn’t just booking a flashy space that wows attendees. 

Choosing the perfect conference venue means anticipating your speakers’ and attendees’ needs, and making sure they’re taken care of.

This ensures a positive experience for everyone, and will make your conference memorable for all the right reasons.

Below are seven signs you’ve found the perfect conference venue:

1. The venue is accessible and inclusive

One of the most important parts of ensuring a positive attendee experience is to choose a venue that is accessible and inclusive.

We love the tips outlined in the Council of Ontario Universities’ guide for choosing venues, which include:

  • The building entrance. Doors should be wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair or scooter, and should have a power-assist button.
  • Meeting room size. Big rooms with lots of space are better-equipped to accommodate wheelchairs, walkers, and scooters. But, rooms that are too big could prevent vision or hearing-impaired attendees from engaging with speakers.
  • Washrooms. The most important factor to consider is the washroom proximity to all meeting and dining areas.

2. There’s lodging nearby for out-of-town attendees

If your event isn’t held in a hotel, then it’s important to consider the proximity of your location to nearby hotels for out-of -town attendees.

If your event isn’t close to any hotels, see if you can arrange a shuttle service. Otherwise you’ll need to factor in the expense of taxi services when pricing your tickets.

3. The venue has staff on-site to help

Depending on the size of your event, the venue should assign at least one person to be your dedicated point of contact both leading up to and during the event.

It’s important to only book a venue from people who are committed to addressing your concerns in a timely manner. Don’t book venues with people who take forever to get back to you, or who seem flippant about your questions or concerns.

4. The venue accommodates your needs

Make sure to clarify any audio/visual needs with your venue and determine what they have, and don’t have, before booking.

Make a list of all the technical equipment you’ll need for your event. For example, if your event features multiple speakers who may need to plug in laptops and use microphones, make sure that the right equipment is available before booking.

Other areas to clarify include:

  • Stage location and audio-visual setup
  • Seating arrangements and capacities
  • Sponsor areas
  • Whether or not you can bring in outside vendors
  • If any break-out spaces are available

5. The venue is sustainable

The venue you choose is a reflection of your event’s values - whether you want it to be or not.

As a result, it’s important that you take care in choosing venues that are close to public transit, or are committed to using compostable plates and cutlery.

6. The venue offers additional branding opportunities

Do you remember to ask about signage and branding opportunities when you book a venue?

Promoting your event doesn’t stop during the event, so make sure to ask about where you can place signage and banners throughout the facility, not just in the event space.

Get creative: ask about signage in elevators, in the lobby, and anywhere that catches your eye. We suggest doing a walkthrough of the space before booking to get a sense of where you can add some extra branding to raise awareness of your event.

7. The venue has flexible food and beverage options

Most venues provide onsite food and beverage, but it’s important to clarify the following areas before signing on the dotted line:

  • What kinds of food and beverage options are available?
  • Can they accommodate special diets or food allergies?
  • Are you allowed to bring in outside vendors?

Make sure to clarify whether the venue can manage additional requests from last-minute attendees, and whether attendees can order à la carte during the event as well.

7 signs you've found the perfect conference venue

Keep these seven elements in mind while booking your next event venue and rest easy knowing that one of the most important aspects of planning your event is taken care of.

Want to save even more time planning your event? Sign up for our private beta and use HeyAlfa to generate your entire event marketing campaign for social media.


10 of the Best YouTube Lo-Fi Playlists for Productivity

- by Alyson Shane

What kind of music do you listen to when you want to be productive and get sh*t done?

Hey, it’s Alyson from HeyAlfa here. For a long time, my answer to that question was “silence.” 

As a writer, I’ve always struggled to listen to music and write effectively, and as a result whenever I sat down to hammer out my thoughts (like I’m doing right now) I’d always wind up needing to turn off whatever I was listening to. I needed more space to think.

For a long time I got around this by listening to EDM, jazz, or classical, or OSTs like The Social Network and The Fountain.

(Ask me about my love for Clint Mansell.)

Recently I’ve really been digging those lo-fi playlists that have been exploding on YouTube. I’m actually listening to one right now. 

This post is inspired by our pal Alex, who sends me new videos a couple of times a week. I love getting texts from him with a new playlist to check out, so here are 10 of my favourite lo-fi playlists for office productivity in 2020:

1. lofi hip hop radio - beats to sleep/relax to

This is the live steam I’m listening to as I write this post.

I like it because it’s nice and smooth, with lots of piano and ambient sounds. Unlike a lot of other lo-fi playlists on this list, this one doesn’t have vocal samples which is nice if you’re looking for something to sink down into that won’t distract you with a catchy chorus.

I like listening to this playlist when I’m working at night. There’s something about a fully belly and a nice glass of wine that goes well with this playlist.

Listen on Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2Ryy9JL 

2. Campfire Crackling [warm / cozy beats]

I guess technically you’d call this a ‘chillhop’ playlist (I can hear all my old DJ friends groaning over this right now, heh) but I’m adding it here because it’s got the same kinds of beats, and because I listen to it a lot.

This playlist is nice because it features outdoor sounds, like crickets chirping, owls hooting, and (of course) campfires crackling. It’s as cozy as the name says it is, and I’ve really enjoyed listening to it with a cup of coffee while it snows outside.

Bonus: I put this on when friends come over and it’s great background music to board games.

Listen on Spotify: ttps://chillhop.lnk.to/sptfySi 

3. lofi hip hop radio - beats to study/relax to (Racoon edition)

Okay, this soundtrack doesn’t have “Racoon edition” in its name, but I refer to it that way in my head because there’s a ton of YouTube playlists called “lofi hip hop radio - beats to study/relax to.”

If you click the link you’ll see that the stream features a cute little racoon hanging out on its laptop - hence the name - and you can treat your ears to some sweet lo-fi vibes.

This playlist features minimal vocals, ambient sounds, and is great for doing really thought-intensive work like crunching numbers or looking at data. 

Listen on Spotify: https://chillhop.lnk.to/lofihiphop

4. Nighttime Ramen [jazzy beats / lofi hip hop mix]

If you’re looking for something a little more upbeat and varied than the video above, this mix is a great alternative.

I love jazz, and I find this mix really easy to work to. The tracks selected features tons of horn, piano, and saxophone, which gives it a moody, groovy feeling. The tracks build and crescendo nicely, giving you a real sense of progression, which can be helpful for fueling creative momentum.

Ever so often you’ll hear a vocal sample, but they’re not too heavily featured. You can find my fav track in the mix by skipping ahead to 19:51.

5. Super Lofi World

This one comes to you courtesy of Alex, who sent it to me and sent me down a rabbit hole of video game-themed playlists that I’m still exploring. I’ve been a gamer since my parents got us a Super Nintendo for Christmas in 1991 and grew up listening to music by Koji Kondo and Nobuo Uematsu, so old school video game beats are a soft spot for me. 

Super Lofi World features music from Zelda, Pokémon, Donkey Kong, and more classics that nerds like me will love. 

My fav track is at 18:14 - there’s something about the music from Donkey Kong that I still can’t get enough of.

Listen on Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2YyMSWp 

6. 24/7 nostalgia - lofi hiphop beats to study/relax to

Maybe it’s the anime clips that show on repeat as the stream plays, or the heavy use of the harp and xylophones, but this playlist always reminds me of music from shows like Sailor Moon, or Studio Ghibli movies.

This stream often features vocal tracks, bird chirping, waves, wind, rain, and all the ambient sounds you can think of. It’s pretty groovy, and blends into the background nicely if you’re tackling to-dos like writing emails, marketing copy, or anything that requires you to be detailed-oriented.

Best of all: since it’s a livestream, you never have to worry about running out of tunes to listen to as you work!


I’ve always loved writing while it’s raining. During the summertime I’ll often haul my laptop and a cup of tea out into our sunroom with our cats in tow to listen to the rain fall while I work or write. 

As someone who lives in a city where winter temperatures regularly dip to -30C (-22 F), I find myself longing for the sound of rain often during the winter months. This playlist is a great remedy, and includes bird sounds, thunder rolls, and even the occasional lightning strike to really create the feeling of being surrounded by a gentle, warm downpour. 

8. Heavy Rain | Lofi HipHop

This playlist opens with a beautiful piano rendition of The Song of Storms from The Legend of Zelda, so we’re already off on the right track.

As we can tell by the name, this playlist also features heavy rain sounds, as well as a few samples, including some “garden of your mind” samples from Mister Rogers which just make my heart explode.

This playlist makes me want to curl up under a blanket and sip hot chocolate while I work, which is often what I find myself doing while I listen to it.

9.  24-7 lofi hip hop radio - late nite chat

I only recently discovered this stream, but I’ve been listening to it a lot recently. 

I like this stream because it features tracks that feature more synthy sounds than a lot of other streams/mixes on this list. 

I find that a lot of lofi playlists can start to blend together over time, but to date this stream has kept things feeling fresh by occasionally injecting something with a heavier beat or more 80’s sounds.

10. Zelda and lofi

I know I’m really focusing on nerdy content here, but I listen to this playlist at least 4-5 times a week and this list wouldn’t be complete without it.

The Legend of Zelda is known for its sweeping soundtracks and original music, and this compilation of remixes and covers layered with bird sounds, water sounds, and sounds from the games like cuckoo calls is honestly just a treat to listen to. 

This playlist takes me back to happy days playing Ocarina of Time as a kid, and does wonders for my mood and productivity. 

I find I listen to this one most often first thing in the morning, over a big cup of coffee while early morning sunlight streams in through the window.

Listen on Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2rxFApP 

The best YouTube lofi playlists for productivity: conclusion

There are so many lofi videos on YouTube, and even more once you start to expand into areas like chillhop, ambient, synthwave, and more. 

If you ask me, there’s never been a better time to be a productive person in need of some great background music.

If I’ve missed mentioning your favourite playlist, let me know by tweeting at us at @sayheyalfa


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