Businesses are in “the Blackberry era”, according to Alistair Stewart, managing director of etc.venues, and are demanding ultra-modern training and conferencing facilities that are on their doorstep and all-inclusive.
“Staff are learning and being trained in different way,” according to Mr Stewart. “Three or five day residential courses are not feasible any more, things have to happen faster and more efficiently.”
Carrying out conferences economically and in a timely manner and providing training with the least amount of fuss is now of the utmost concern as companies do not have the time or money to splash out on expensive accommodation or residential courses.
Guy Booth, general manager at etc.venues commented: “With companies under financial pressures, day training centres offer an affordable solution to residential packages, at approximately a third of the price. They can provide flexibility in terms of accommodation, cancellations, creature comforts, self service as well as the chance to budget your own finances.”
City centre conference facilities also provide the flexibility to arrange all sizes of meetings and conferences, assessment centres, sales seminars, product launches, as well as graduate and mandatory training.
Businesses are looking closer to home for organising out-of-office meetings partly because staff are becoming less willing to make long journeys in cars drive across the country to out-of town facilities.
Companies are now encouraging staff to use public transport as well as considering environmental factors, so the shorter the distance and greater the proximity to central transport links, the better.
Employees are also unwilling to stay away from home for long periods, so day packages are becoming more popular for fitting in around busy lifestyles and responsibilities.
Traditionally, hotels offered the only location for conducting larger meetings in central locations. And while Mr Stewart maintained there are some very good hotels in Birmingham that offer a huge variety of services Stewart, he believes that paying for sub-par facilities at older hotels is a compromise.
“If there is a wedding going on and tourists are streaming in then it is difficult to keep people happy. Some hotels will provide general-use function rooms, or chairs not meant for sitting in all day, they do not have the specialist facilities of modern city centre conference sites,” commented Mr Stewart.
Mr Stewart is confident that etc.venues’ expansion to Birmingham, from its London base, opening its first regional centre outside the capital is a move that is very much in line with market demand.
He noted that many businesses, especially larger firms with offices around the country had been enquiring about more local facilities, and clients favoured Birmingham, to a factor of three to one, as their preferred location.