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Getting the right venue for a great result


Margaretha Welsford looks at the demands made on conference and training venues today


the choice of venue really effect the outcome of your training session?


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We all know natural daylight is key – if you’ve ever sat in an underground bunker after lunch you’ll know what I’m talking about and how difficult it is to keep your delegates awake – and why no employer would suggest their employees sit in an office without natural daylight. You may also have experienced a venue where the AV doesn’t work, staff can’t set up your laptop presentation and everything gets fraught and delayed, even before your session has started. But hopefully in this day of technology those venues are few and far between.


But it’s not just about laptop connectivity these days. The Millennials and emerging Generation Z have grown up with social media as a primary means of communication. They are highly visual and used to communicating and educating through video over


Urbanisation means that training needs to be local, effective and concise – to keep engagement of your delegates as well as reducing costs


the written word. Not only do they expect super fast connectivity, they have two or three devices each, expect Wi-Fi to be free and want their training delivered using the new media – before, during and after the event. All this puts pressure on the choice of venue. At etc.venues we’ve always seen ourselves as leaders in technology – 10 years ago 100MB was top of the range – now we install a minimum of 500MB in our venues – with the possibility to dedicate bandwidth for a specific training session to ensure seamless connectivity. Providing adequate bandwidth has therefore become an ongoing investment need for venues, and it requires frequent updates in infrastructure – at least every five years.


Time and energy are considered the new currency, and time-consuming weeklong training courses with no clear agenda are now in the risk zone. As we see a spike


o you’ve got the delegates, planned your content, secured the trainer and now you need to book a venue for your training course. Does


in technology human interaction becomes even more important. The Millennials have a great sense of ‘self’ and don’t want to be treated as a number. They are busy and won’t sit in a training session that they don’t feel works for them. Earlier generations thought it was exciting to go away, but youngsters are already well travelled. It no longer feels like a treat, in fact the reverse is true. It makes life more difficult for families, for example. But this does not mean there will be fewer training sessions in the future – on the contrary. The new way of working, where more and more people are involved in the same project, is going to define many sessions, but with greater awareness of what makes a good meeting and higher demands for effectiveness.


Training is expensive and we need to see significant ROI – it’s not seen as a ‘perk’ to go to a residential training session in the countryside. Urbanisation means that training needs to be local, effective and concise – to keep engagement of your delegates as well as reducing costs. No HR manager wants to be paying for drinks in the minibar and a round on the golf course anymore.


Another clear trend I see concerns the growing importance of health and fitness, and knowledge of how our brain works. This will place additional demands on venue suppliers. For the brain to perform at its best, the conditions need to be right. More and more people work in creativity today – it is a core business for many in this new ‘thought’ society. Last century was all about industrial society, where we drove up productivity 50 times with the help of the conveyor belt. Now we are entering a society where thought is the key. And


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