Terry Billingham previews The Academic Venues Show in MayAny special reasons or advantages with the change of venue this year?
“We decided to move to the Royal Horticultural Halls this year as it is less than 10 minutes walk from four London underground stations. In addition, the building’s beautiful architecture will provide a stunning backdrop to the Show.”
Are there likely to be any new facilities to learn about this time around?
“This year visitors will be able to meet and discuss with some venues exhibiting with us for the first time and some that are coming back after a little absence. There will be an incredible range of new facilities featured on many stands.
One typical example is Conference Roehampton in London SW15, which is opening a new conference centre in the autumn. Another is Conference Aston, which has recently refurbished its year-round meeting spaces in the centre of Birmingham.
All round, it means there will be plenty of fresh ideas and facilities for all visitors to discover on the day.”
Will there be any special events for organisers to attend?
“Obviously the main attraction is the opportunity for event organisers to meet face-to-face with representatives from academic venues located around the country – but all under one roof for one day. However, visitors are also welcome to hear Olympic medallist and TV personality Sharron Davies talk about the importance of building 'winning combinations’ to achieve success. She will draw upon her own experiences in the sporting and business arena and explain how this can be compared to event organisers and academic venues building their own winning combinations.”
What are the main benefits offered by an academic venue compared with a private, commercial venue?
“One key area is the sheer range of facilities, from hundreds of meeting rooms that include tiered lecture theatres, to sports halls and pitches and even Olympic-sized swimming pools. All of which is complemented by thousands of single study-style bedrooms, plus a choice of hotel standard accommodation. And it is important to take into account some award-winning catering.
Naturally a really key benefit is that the quality facilities and service are offered at competitive rates.
We are all looking for value for money, and, thanks to investments in facilities and staff training, academic venues offer excellent packages. When organisers can find Day Delegate Rates from as low as £18 there really is something to suit all budgets.”
Will there be opportunities for the visitors themselves to network with each other?
“We appreciate that event organisers like to share their experiences, so this year we are introducing a ‘Prosecco Hour’ at the end of the Show. This will give visitors the chance to network and discuss any business done on the day, as well as talk about new ideas with one another. There will also be plenty of seating around the Hall, so visitors can grab some refreshments and talk to one another throughout the day.”
What geographical regions are covered by the exhibitors?
“We represent venues based up and down the UK and the Show really highlights the fantastic locations of some of our venues. There will be representation from around 30 towns and cities. This includes the major capitals of London and Edinburgh, large metropolitan boroughs such Leeds, Manchester and Birmingham, as well as more rural locations such as the Cotswolds – so there’s certain to be something to interest everyone.”
The Academic Venues Show will be held on Wednesday 11th May 2016 at the Royal Horticultural Halls in Westminster, London. Registration is now open at http://www.academicvenueshow.co.uk/.
The Show is organised by Venuemasters. This is a not-for-profit consortium that has promoted academic venues for events for over 30 years. It is headed by Terry Billingham, who answers some ITCM questions to give an insight into the 2016 Show.