Levelling the battle field in the fight for conference bookings

As
former blogs on this website have detailed, when it comes to choosing a
conference venue, there’s a wealth of variety on offer. But I want to focus in
on the independent vs. big chain choice – even if this debate might seem like
something of a double edged sword.

You’ve
probably already got an opinion on the merits of choosing an independent
conference provider over a chain or vice versa; and it’s that opinion is
probably influenced by the modern disliking for big names perceptions that big
chains, in any sector, represent globalism and lack of choice, whereasin favour
of the more personable, niche independents who seem to offer more
represent imagination and value for money than the average superbrand. 

But
before we reduce the debate to ’big guy vs. little guy’ (being as I’m
associated with the big guy it’d be career suicide to pick on the little guy),
let’s see if the battle of the conference venues isn’t a little more evenly
matched.

With
the wider economic climate taking its toll on business conference bookings, we
all need to adapt or die. Our own conference team at Breadsall Priory has
noticed that commercial uncertainty has led to businesses are booking
conferences later and therefore lead times have shortened dramatically in
the last two years. I expect this is the case for independents as well, again
levelling the playing field when it comes to the challenges we face. This
requires us to be ever more flexible in being flexible and creative with
planning times, managing staff effectively and delivering events to the same
high quality expected in half the time.

Whereas
years ago the Investment in technology is another area where things have
changed. Big name conference and meeting facilities could win on the
advantages of technology could previously attract bookings on the merit
of – big screen, multimedia facilities – that smaller players couldn’t afford.

These days it’s available to all, and besides, we’ve noticed a trend for
conference planners are giving their delegates taking a more human, tactile
approach to enhance the experience for delegates. That means flipcharts instead
of Powerpoint, coming out from behind the lectern to interact in group
settings, even taking sessions outside and tying in with the ambient setting using
the environment â€¦basically anything that unplugs tech-weary delegates from
the mainframe.

Finally what about the ace card up every big brand’s sleeve? Reputation,
it might seem that this is where the typical assurance of a consistent brand
promise that comes with a big chain will win out. It’s definitely an advantage
and something we pride ourselves on. But some businesses might fear the big
chain conference team, expecting, albeit wrongly, a hard sell, high prices
and pressure to conform to rigidly traditional corporate style.

So,
far from running away with the business the challenge for the big chain
conference providers is to communicate our offering effectively, provide
flexibility and use the experience of our conference planning staff to be
creative and offer what the customer needs, rather than what has worked in the
past. It is on these grounds that the battle of independents vs. chains will be
won.

Any comments? Email conferencenews@mashmedia.net

ConferenceNews Guest Author

Conference News hosts great guests on its pages. Our Blog section is the collection of the best opinions in the UK and international events industry.

ConferenceNews Guest Author

Author

ConferenceNews Guest Author

Conference News hosts great guests on its pages. Our Blog section is the collection of the best opinions in the UK and international events industry.

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