It’s hardly surprising that so many companies are nowadays choosing to have training carried out at off-site training facilities rather than on their own premises. After all, in recent years there’s been a steady increase in the amount of high tech conference centres opening up, the likes of which were once strictly the reserve of top end hotels and resorts. However, one would do well to remember that not all of these venues are equal, thus making it crucial for companies to choose a venue carefully.
Ideally, in order for a training facility to be suitable for a company’s training requirements, it has to have all the necessary amenities and it needs to be convenient in general as well. In other words, a company has to determine whether or not a facility is capable of meeting their requirements in terms of location, capacity, transport, technology, etc.
Choosing to go off-site
It’s undeniable that off-site training has always had the upper hand with regards to providing an environment which is free of interruptions and distractions which are for the most part common in the average work place. Unfortunately though, many companies had no choice but to forfeit these benefits, not only because of cost, but also due to other reasons such as transport to and from the venue or at worst, lodgings if the distance to the venue warranted it. Even lack of training resources prevented many companies from opting for off-site training as they were expected to supply their own audio and video technology.
Nowadays however, companies are literally spoilt for choice because the vast majority of conference centres have an abundance of resources and ample staff to ensure training programs are conducted successfully. In fact, companies have never before had so opportunities to choose from as they do now.
Generally speaking, conference centres have focused on improving and restructuring in three areas: accommodation, amenities and technology. With some of the top conference centres boasting more than a thousand rooms as well as a number of suites, one can clearly see just how much the market has changed. Likewise, many of the more upscale centres are designed in such a way that the guest rooms adjoin the actual conference room, thus affording attendees the convenience of being able to freshen up between lessons or meetings.
Another outstanding feature of modern conference centres, are the recreation and relaxation amenities which are available to attendees. Such amenities are vital, given that they encourage a sense of team building as employees are able to socialise freely with each other. Furthermore, it’s been established that such an environment also results in delegates being more receptive with regards to the training they receive.
Perhaps most importantly of all, is the sheer magnitude of technological resources made available at today’s top conference centres. Amongst some of the top centres, companies will find at their disposal, resources such as high speed wireless internet access, computerized projection systems, video conferencing, touch screen audio systems and even digital cameras in the event that they are required. This is of course a far cry from conference centres of a few years ago when companies would in fact have been required to provide all their own resources or at best, they would have had to rent everything. Over and above this, they would also have had to hire people in to get everything set up and made ready. Nowadays however, companies can expect to find everything they need at a conference centre, including professional technicians who will ensure that all audio and visual requirements will be met to the very highest of standards.
Where to go?
An ever increasing number of companies are nowadays opting to have their training programs delivered off-site, and who could blame them when the top conference centres are offering such a vast amount of resources. However, companies still need to ensure they choose a venue which best meets their requirements.
Space is a vital factor to take into consideration when choosing a conference centre. While it certainly is important to establish whether or not a venue has the ability to cope with the number of people attending, this goes beyond adequate seating and accommodation. Ideally there should also be plenty of free space, or empty space as such so as to ensure delegates have adequate privacy as well. After all, it would hardly seem worthwhile going off-site if the venue has just as many distractions as you on-site.
Of course it goes without saying that service is another extremely important factor which needs to be taken into consideration when choosing a venue. While it certainly looks and sounds impressive when a venue boast of all they offer, unless all those resources are readily accessible, the chances are they’ll be little use to anybody. At some of the top venues, companies have a conference planning manager at their disposal who is able to take care of literally every aspect of a training schedule, whether it be location, or whether it be transport. In fact, planning managers are worth their weight in gold, particularly if they’re actively involved during the entire process, from beginning to end.
Last but not least, a company should always determine whether or not a facility can meet their technological requirements. Because technology advances relentlessly, only the top conference centres are able to keep abreast of technology while other venues start lagging behind. Providing a company chooses the right training venue, it soon becomes apparent that off-site training is always more cost effective in the long run than on-site training.
About the Author
Mary Hubbard represents the events centre @ maroochy, a Sunshine Coast conference centre and corporate events venue. Find out more about hosting your next conference on the beautiful Sunshine Coast here =>