With a host of new venues, pricing packages and refurbishments, training course organisers have even more destinations to choose from this spring. Simon Kent reports
Research and management centre Roffey Park started the new year with a splash as it opened a new £6.5m purpose-built venue for conferences and business training activities. Set in the grounds of Roffey's 40-acre site, The Meadow offers state--of-the-art presentation equipment across four meeting rooms and a main seminar room with capacity for 120 people.
Val Hammond, Roffey Park's chief executive says: "The new conference facilities provide an inspiring base for business meetings and events of all sizes. The rooms and equipment, setting and service combine to create a stress-free environment, wholly conducive for meeting, thinking and developing people and business."
Located in St Leonard's Forest near Horsham, The Meadow is easily accessible from London, Brighton and Gatwick airport. On paper, the new facility appears to fulfil the principle criteria which determine a client's decision to book a venue: location, service and quality of environment.
However, while ensuring these factors are considered, venue providers are becoming increasingly aware of the need to offer flexible and tailored venue provision, enabling their customers to control the cost of removing participants from the workplace to undergo development.
Every training provider knows these activities must have an appreciable effect on the bottom line, and winning this value begins with managing the cost of venue hire and nec- essary extras such as presentation equipment, course materials, food and drink. As a result, venue providers and venue- based training consultants are increasingly offering packages to clients across the full range, from venue-only to all-in-one training and venue deals, offering clients access to high-quality facilities with discounts which increase in proportion to the volume of business ordered.
According to Becky Graveney, sales and marketing director at Initial Conference Centres, venue and location-centred training providers are having to adapt to a number of trends within the UK's training function. "We are seeing shorter courses," she says, "In the past, some of our customers could book for a six- week course. Nowadays, people can't be out of the workplace for so long."
As part of t