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How does venue design drive engagement and learning?

The meetings and events landscape is constantly changing and evolving to facilitate growing trends in the learning and development arena.

Ultimately, a conference venue needs to be a customer centric business that puts clients at the forefront of their strategy. At Warwick Conferences, we make a point of placing customers at the heart of everything we do by asking “what are you looking to achieve?” rather than immediately overwhelming them with a choice of packages.

This way we can fine tune into their objectives and direct them to a room and package, or bespoke solution, that best suits their learning requirements.

'Future in 15' show

Our Director of Conference Centres, Richard Harrison, discusses in detail how we are continually innovating our products and services to further exceed the needs of the market.

Innovative space

Let's take a closer look at three key ways we ae innovating our spaces in order to drive delegate engagement and learning.

1) Collaboration

It is vital that conference spaces allow for collaboration in order to encourage and instigate a higher level of learning for ultimate business impact. Warwick Conferences was recently awarded Learning & Performance Institute accreditation for its commitment to creating exemplary learning and development environments for customers.

To facilitate this, our team follow an extremely high standard of customer service processes to ensure they fully understand what they want from their meeting and conference environment to facilitate extended learning. The resounding feedback has been that delegates want spaces that challenge them with the unexpected and evoke a more collaborative atmosphere.

To meet these expectations, we created a “kitchen space” for clients to use as a meeting area. This room has all the tools needed to conduct a meeting but encourages a greater level of collaboration. The kitchen utilities within the room change the dynamic of the space, making it easier to break the ice by serving up unlimited cups of tea and stocking the fridge with their favourite snacks.

We’ve found that this more relaxed approach to meetings increases productivity as it encourages teams to use different thought processes by breaking down boundaries, rather than those that are conjured up in a more formal, traditional setting.

2) Face-to-face vs. virtual

To continue innovating our spaces to encourage deeper engagement and learning, Warwick Conferences finds that a blended approach to personal and virtual engagement is the most effective Despite the rise of virtual reality and artificial intelligence, technology will never fully replace the value of face-to-face conversations.

However, we do recognise the value in being able to return to previous face-to-face conversations in a virtual environment in order to continue the initial learning that took place.

When considering which technology to install in meeting and conference spaces, the best thing to do is talk to your customers. It is likely that they will already be using the technology they need in their own environments so can direct you to what would be the most beneficial.

This year, Warwick Conferences has seen greater interest in connectivity and ease of access to the systems available. Clients do not want anything too complex, they want to be able to walk into a room and use the technology straight away so that they can make full use of the time they have booked in the set meeting room.

3) Food innovation

Finally, there are plenty of other elements that venues can innovate aside from just the design and layout of a meeting room. We also make sure to pay increased focus to our food offerings as this is a significant part of the learning experience, and provides a great conversation starter.

Gone are the days of sandwich platters, there are now plenty of food trends that venues can tap into in order to promote greater engagement during an event.

The team at Warwick Conferences are currently looking to the high street for food inspiration around what people are eating and enjoying. For example, we noticed that Cuban and Mexican cuisine is a particular trend right now and we are looking at ways to work this into our menus.

Although it is also important to make sure that there are healthy options – we constantly strive to use healthy, locally-sourced, sustainable ingredients – it is even more imperative that delegates are given a choice. If you provide catering menu with only ‘healthy options’, it is likely that someone will then want to indulge in chocolate cake and will begrudge the venue for dictating what they should eat.

By giving clients a choice, they will feel all the more restored and ready to take on the next step of their meeting or conference.