We all know that location is everything when it comes to choosing your home or an office base or even your holiday, but what about when choosing a training venue?
Yep, you guessed it, location is probably the most important consideration in selecting a training venue – or any events venue, for that matter. Get it wrong and you could have an empty training session or a room full of grumblers, get it right and delegates will arrive relaxed and ready to learn.
Audience and Objectives
Before even contemplating location though, answer the following questions to clarify what you are trying to achieve:
- What are your objectives for the training session?
- Where are your delegates based and how will they travel to the venue?
- What is your delegate profile? Are they young office workers? Or senior executives who like the finer things in life? They might all be staff who all work in the same company.
- What brand image do you want to portray?
- How do you want the training to ‘feel’? Quiet and calm or perhaps upbeat and inspiring.
Once you have a clear picture in your mind of what you are aiming for, selecting the right location will become much easier and lead you to consider the following:
City Training Venues
Training venues located in a city centre offer numerous benefits, with the fundamental advantage being ease of travel.
Indeed, in this age of corporate social responsibility it may be that the decision about location of a training venue comes down to company policy. If your organisation has policies about use of public transport or minimising impact on the environment, then a city centre may be your only option.
Apart from the environmental benefit, city venues are generally easier for people to get to and can be more inclusive – not everyone has a car and can take the time to drive out to a more rural location.
The timing of your training or event should also be taken into account when thinking about location. If you have a morning or evening event (such as a breakfast briefing or a drinks reception) you’ll possibly better attendance in a city where people can go before or after work.
The downside of city venues is that public transport can be unreliable and, for the people that do want to drive (and there will always be some), parking in a city centre is generally expensive.
It is worth considering that noise can play a part in the selection of a training venue. In a city there will be background noise – the city’s hustle and bustle, police and ambulance sirens. If your training requires lots of concentration or includes an exam, then think about how noise might affect your delegates.
Some of Our Favourite City Training Venues
Here’s a few city venues that we think are leading the way in quality, facilities and the overall delegate experience:
– Located in London, Manchester and Birmingham and considered leaders in city centre training. They are recognised for their quality, customer service and considered business approach. Their Manchester venue, for instance, has a dedicated wing that caters more to training and small meetings, whilst their other wing is more for larger events. They have in this way considered their market and ensure that they still service each appropriately and without affecting the other business.
– Located in Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester and Glasgow, they offer bright, colourful and modern spaces for training.
– De Vere have some city centre options including De Vere Colmore Gate in Birmingham and De Vere Holborn Bars in London, they are non-residential, modern training spaces.
– London’s best kept military secret! The only military club in London to offer membership solely to service and ex-service personnel of all ranks and their families and supporting their charitable objectives.
Out-of-Town or Country Venues
The advantages of a countryside location for training are clear to see – green, wide open spaces, lots of fresh air and space to think. Utilised fully, the out-of-town setting can have a profound impact on your event, removing people from their normal lives and giving them the time and environment to learn.
Typically, your regional training venue will have lots of free parking and can also potentially offer better value for money. Many non-city settings have more spacious rooms and can provide better rates, especially for a contract business opportunity.
If your event or training is for a specific audience, e.g. a particular department, team or region from one company, there is the opportunity to turn the travel and transport ‘issue’ into part of the team build. Sitting on a coach together for half an hour gives people the opportunity to talk informally with colleagues they might not know. It could allow you to break the ice before the training or event even begins.
Unless you are arranging transport for people, the main drawback with rural training venues is travel. You are reliant on people making their own way to the training. If your delegates are happy to drive then that’s great, but don’t forget about the traffic – we’ve all been stuck in one of those awful motorway incidents where you’re at a standstill for hours.
For a time-constrained event, like a breakfast briefing, an out of city setting probably won’t be right for you. It’s possibly too risky.
When selecting your country venue for training or event, it is worth checking out their level of technical ability. Some hotels in the past have been slow to adapt modern technology and you might not receive all the bells and whistles that you would get with a city training venue.
Some of Our Favourite Out-of-Town Venues
Historically, hotels were considered the only out-of-town locations to go and train, but that’s not the case anymore. There are a range of options that includes academic training venues; these generally offer purpose-built infrastructure that is devised to withstand the rigorous demands of large complex events.
Here are some out-of-town venues and hotels offering great facilities, including a nod to academic venues, both for residential training and non-residential:
– Located in Coventry at Warwick University campus. Providing creative, unusual and innovative training spaces.
– Out-of-town options include De Vere Staverton Estate in the Northamptonshire countryside.
– Incorporating three hotels across the Midlands and Loughborough Campus.
– Business hotels in Warwickshire and Northamptonshire.
– Built as a private house in 1865 and passed down from family to family as part of the Warren House Estate. Now offering a unique and exceptional space for events and social gatherings.
Some of these unique venues are members of, and can be found at, Venues of Excellence.
There is a huge complexity of choice in the types and styles of training venues and event spaces. We will be looking in more detail in a later blog at the many and various options for events and meetings. Looking at city vs. country locations is just the tip of the iceberg with venue selection – there’s everything from historical venues and museums to private members clubs or sporting venues, such as racecourses and football clubs. Using this type of unique venue might also support your organisation’s CSR objectives.
Our advice is to think about what is within your realm of control and what is outside it. Then focus on the most important factors for your training event and always put yourself in the shoes of your delegates. For more advice see our blog on What Makes the Perfect Training Venue.
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