Turning up to find a room is the wrong size, badly lit and set up incorrectly are the three biggest frustrations shared by training providers booking venues for their courses. Bad acoustics, a limited choice of refreshments and failing IT were also high up on the list of pet hates among trainers, research by leading London events venue The QEII Centre has found.
With an increasing number of training courses set to take place at meetings and event venues when lockdown restrictions lift, venues need to know how best to cater for providers and their delegates in order to capitalise on this growing area.
According to the results of the survey of more than 500 professionals responsible for delivering training, the way to create the perfect environment for learning is to give delegates access to fresh air and provide an inspiring view.
Offering a modern well-decorated room with the ability to adjust the temperature were also favourable features.
And to stimulate effective learning, layout is key, the research found. There has not been a shift towards more radical approaches as just 3% believe asking delegates to stand for a session is the most effective format. Instead, the equally most popular room set ups to engage delegates were the more traditional table groups with chairs facing forward, or enough room to sit as well as facilitate group working, which was closely followed by a horseshoe of tables with chairs.
While clocks on the wall serving as a constant reminder of the time were a low priority, trainers said a schedule for pre-determined breaks with catering served in a separate room is the best way to keep delegates fuelled. This was preferable to flexible breaks where refreshments are ready in the room for when energy levels dip.
The quality of catering should also be a high consideration of venues hosting training courses. When trainers were asked to describe their worst experience when delivering a training session, many said the food left a lot to be desired. ‘Poor quality’, ‘not enough to boost energy levels’ and ‘lack of choice for veggies’ were some of the answers.
Power cuts, IT glitches, and noises outside the meeting room were also referenced by many trainers as contributing to their worst experiences of holding courses at external venues.
Diane Waldron, sales and marketing director at the QEII said: “The pandemic has created many changes within employment and as a result, many people are now looking to re-train, or brush up on skills to return to, or start in a new workplace.
“Our research shows that 40% of training professionals use external venues for more than half of all courses they run and an even higher percentage – 91% - claim that holding their training event off-site is either essential or helpful, so clearly there is likely to be a growing demand for venues with facilities to host training courses as lockdown measures begin to ease.
“This insight into the needs of professional trainers and their thoughts on environmental factors that are more conducive to learning than others will therefore be valuable to those looking to book or run face-to-face training and development courses.
“The QEII Centre has a wealth of experience in holding training sessions, conferences and other events where learning is central to the cause and our team will listen closely to training providers to be able to advise on the best space, room-set up and facilities relating to each client’s needs.”