Hotels, sports centres, cinemas and even zoos offer conference space for hire. Whilst it may be tempting to opt for the unusual in a bid to sell the conference to your delegates, purpose-built conference centres provide the optimum learning environment in a dedicated, distraction-free zone.
Unlike hotels and other venues which offer ad hoc meeting space, dedicated conference venues focus entirely on hosting corporate conferences, meetings and training events. As well as no distractions, you can expect excellent conference facilities, in tranquil surroundings, with high quality technology, and experienced staff.
If you've never used a dedicated facility before and aren't sure what to look for, we’ve put together a list of 10 things you should have your eye on when looking to book a dedicated conference facility:
1. THE OFFERING
Before booking check the standard of conference facilities; looking at your options and what will be included in your booking.
For example, dedicated conference facilities usually have a variety of different room sizes, layouts and set ups available. Think about what you want to achieve from your conference or meeting.
Are you going to need delegates to split up and work in groups? Perhaps you’ll need smaller syndicate rooms for this purpose.
Are you presenting the latest year’s results to the company? A theatre style layout may be best for you.
Do you only need space for 25 – 50 people? Ensure the facility is able to accommodate that and provide you with a more suitably sized room.
It’s also worth considering the quality of room(s) you will access to. Regardless of size or layout, your room should be spacious, well presented, with plenty of natural light, and comfortable ergonomic seating.
Each of these things will ensure you get the most from your money by providing your delegates with a comfortable, focused environment with little distraction.
2. THE EQUIPMENT
Don’t get your event off to bad start by arriving at your conference venue and finding poor quality technology or even worse, that technology isn’t included in your package at all.
Regardless of why you are using a conference facility, you should be provided with a minimum:
- A digital projector and projector screen
- A wide screen TV
- Video conferencing equipment
Any good conference facility will also provide you with things like flip charts, stationary, and access to a printer and photocopier.
Unfortunately not all conference facilities offer this level of equipment, so it is always best to ask before you commit to a venue to avoid finding out you have minimal equipment when it’s too late!
3. THE NETWORK
Fast, reliable internet access is an absolute conference essential. In today’s online world, fast WiFi lays the foundations of a successful conference.
More often than not dedicated conference facilities throw in free WiFi as part of the package. Hotels and other similar venues on the other hand frequently charge for wireless internet, adding to the overall price of your event.
Quite often WiFi in these venues is not quite up to the standard required to house a busy conference, so asking about the quality of the WiFi is just as important.
Ideally look for venues benefiting from a direct fibre optic link. This delivers mega fast speeds of up to 100 Mbps, allowing multiple delegates to surf online at the same time without slowing each other down.
4. THE EXCLUSIVITY
Sometimes it is necessary to discuss sensitive company information off site, and on these occasions discretion and privacy is vital.
To ensure complete privacy, ask whether your venue is able to offer exclusive use of the entire venue or individual buildings. This is something dedicated conference facilities will be used to doing, however the likes of hotels and sport centres are often unable to do the same due to their public nature.
Some conference centres are able to offer self-contained facilities including dining areas and break out rooms so your delegates can continue conversations over lunch without the fear of prying ears!
5. THE CATERING
If you’re looking to be off-site all day, or for multiple days, look for a conference centre with a professional catering team on-site. This will avoid the need to order in food at expensive rates and means you, the event organiser, will have one less thing to worry about.
While open venues are often able to provide catering services, the likelihood is they will also be serving the public giving you much less flexibility when it comes to timings and the types of food you would like to serve.
Lane End prides itself on preparing the best conference food from scratch every day, from tasty working lunches to elegant fine dining menus depending on your exact requirements.
6. THE LOCATION
When looking for a conference venue, one of the key factors is accessibility. Check the location’s proximity to major motorways, rail links and airports. While it isn’t necessary to find a venue in a city centre, it is crucial to ensure your delegates can get to the venue without too much trouble (which often means opting for a venue outside of the city).
For delegates travelling by car, confirm whether secure parking is available and, like Lane End, whether it is free for the duration of your stay.
7. A WINNING TEAM
The support of a responsive, experienced, professional conference team is a real asset when it comes to running a smooth and successful event. The team at the venue can be the difference between make or break when it comes to how well the event runs, so gauging just how good customer service is beforehand is crucial.
Check for evidence of this in customer satisfaction surveys, accreditations and testimonials to get an understanding for how customers feel towards the venue.
At Lane End, we regularly publish customer satisfaction surveys, actively collect testimonials and achieve a VenueVerdict gold standard accreditation for outstanding customer service every quarter.
These 7 points will help you choose a dedicated conference facility and make your next corporate event a success.
Ideally located thirty minutes from central London yet immersed in peaceful countryside, Lane End offers an unrivalled combination of award-winning customer service and state-of-the-art residential conference facilities including:
- Five self-contained conference buildings equipped with private conference suites, syndicate rooms and social areas
- Contemporary, stylish conference rooms with high performance LED digital projectors, screens and video conferencing technology
- Free, superfast wi-fi across the 26-acre site
- Freshly cooked meals and refreshments made to specific dietary needs
- Over 100 comfortable, modern bedrooms
- Spacious landscaped grounds bordered by fields and woodland.