Hosting a conference requires significant forethought and meticulous planning. While a professional conference centre provider will be able to ease your pain to a great extent, you will first have to be totally clear about your requirements. Knowing exactly what you want will help you make sound decisions. This may include conference amenities, meals, accommodation and travel arrangements.
Once you are clear about what you want, you begin by choosing the venue. There are various innovative options these days, including university campuses. University campuses are fast turning out to be a favoured conference venue choice. Marketing gurus have recently been gushing about how the times and the economy are luring corporations, associations and organizations towards hotel conference centres that are part of a university campus. What better place to hold a conference than a venue that promises to have a good learning environment!
Why Choose a Conference Centre Affiliated to a University Campus
Here are some factors that make university campuses a great conference venue:
Space: Some universities have constructed special conference centres with hotels, while others combine existing conference space with other facilities like the arts, recreation or athletic complex. Most universities are sprawling and the environs are green. Conference centres at a campus may have breakout spaces, essentials for meetings, an auditorium with a seating capacity of not less than 500 as well as a dining hall. Ballrooms have also been thrown open for corporate use. Parking too is easy and provided for as there is no lack of space at such a venue.
Technology: Campuses typically make significant investments into technological features, such as internet connection, audiovisual equipment, speakers, etc. They also allow for "communication beyond the physical space." With sophisticated video conferencing and web casting facilities, you can extend the impact of your conference far beyond the four walls of the conference venue. Moreover, the universities are happy to store the data, such that anyone can access the sessions at their convenience.
Accommodation: Many conference centers in university campuses have hotels attached to them. The lush natural surroundings of most campus venues make for a wonderful tranquil atmosphere. Some of the universities have cottages, enabling delegates to bring their families or partners along.
Transportation: Universities typically are landmarks in their area and are easy to find. Moreover, many universities offer their own shuttle service to transport conferees to other hotels and around the campus.
Surroundings: While sprawling universities are typically located at a slight distance from the main city center, development usually takes place around universities. Thus these campuses are typically surrounded by quaint shops and tourist spots. This offers a great getaway for conference attendees during their free time.
When making a choice of the university conference centre, find out whether the university has a hotel and whether the conference centre is located at the centre of the campus. You may also check on whether the campus is close to shops and restaurants. Find out whether there are any museums, monuments or other tourist spots that are a short drive away. Check on the amenities and services offered and whether this will suit your needs. Enquire about the reception area, banquet facilities and meeting rooms.
Another trend that is catching the fancy of corporate conference organisers is sports venues. Such a conference venue also provides lush and spacious environs in which to host conferences. Many golf courses provide accommodation and conference facilities and have become popular among golfers and amateurs alike. The vast stretches of green, with amazing landscaping, including ponds and deep fairway bunkers, provide an enjoyable challenge to your delegates when they are not attending the conference. Sports venues also play an important role in breaking the ice and building team spirit.
As event planners are gaining a better understanding of the possibilities, university campuses and golf clubs are gaining popularity as conference centre options.