By, Jackie Boughton, head of sales, Barbican business events discusses the importance of refurbishments
Why should you refurbish? It may be a short term cost but the long terms benefits can be numerous.
The meetings and events industry is ever-growing with competition high not just in London, but across the UK. There is a growing need to differentiate your venue from the others and one way to do that is regular refurbishment – be it cosmetic changes, extensions, or of course technology.
For every venue there is the risk of becoming tired or, even worse, behind the times. Expectations for meeting and events spaces can quickly change so there is a need to remain relevant.
In our case, the most recent refurbishment has been that of the Frobisher Rooms and the surrounding areas. We feel that we really understand the needs of our clients and delegates, because we listened carefully to the findings from the external research we conducted prior to the work. By responding to that feedback we now have spaces that not only look fresh but also enjoy a real connection to arts and culture – something which is of high importance here at the Barbican. There is no doubt that this refurbishment will have a positive impact on how we promote and sell these spaces.
Clearly investment is needed to ensure changes can go ahead and will be a success. We, like most venues are limited with budget when it comes to refurbishment but, with a solid strategic plan, it is possible to make the investment pay off in the long run.
I mentioned earlier about using research before committing to spend. The thoughts and opinions of those who had used a venue on previous occasions is key, and it is this kind of strategic planning that can help you obtain the investment before getting the results. The research should be designed to advise where best to invest to enhance the delegate and event organiser experience at your venue.
It’s also important to realise what your venue has that is special. For us of course it is the arts and culture, but every venue has a character or a story to tell. Why not let refurbishment help you tell that story? After all, it’s not just about affordable rates and a tasty lunch.
Refurbishment will be something we focus on over the coming months but already conversations are underway on how we can continue to modernise and refresh the Barbican to suit the needs of meeting and event professionals.
Change is always a big step, but with a little research and investment – anything is possible.