How to Choose a Training Venue - The Comparative Guide
There are literally thousands of different training facilities competing to host your event, so how do you know which one is the best match. While this is not a comprehensive list, here are some of the strengths and weaknesses of different types of training spaces, that can help you choose a training venue that works for your event.
Universities often have conference rooms or empty classrooms that can be rented out as training space. How do these classrooms fair compared to other facilities?
The Strengths: Because universities are created for education, they are intended to be used for learning. Meeting rooms, classrooms, and, on occasion, computer labs can be found for rent.
Generally speaking, they also tend to be rather cost-efficient. In the eyes of the university, they have space, so if it’s not being used, why not bring in extra revenue?
The Weaknesses: Universities are designed for education, but specifically for the education of on-campus tuition-paying students. The cross-over to professional training misses the mark in a few key areas.
- Universities can be complicated campuses. Finding the building named after a famous alumnus is often easier for students than for professional trainees, and the bigger the campus, the bigger the maze.
- Unless you strike a deal with the school cafeteria, catering can be difficult to arrange. Lecture halls don’t exactly lend themselves to snack bars and catering set-ups. This will obviously differ depending on the university, but the buildings are generally not built with that in mind.
- Universities also don’t offer much in the way of support, especially technical. A university campus comes with a long list of technical support needs, and the training session outside of University control doesn’t land on the top of that list. It is rare to find any technical support whatsoever from this venue.
- The biggest weakness with universities comes in the form of class offering difficulties. For many universities, a professional training hosted on campus cannot compete with any class that currently exists on-campus. That means your training can’t resemble any class from any major in the school’s curriculum. You might have to cut class before even starting.
The Bottom Line: Universities can be good for no-tech, casual meetings, especially for only a portion of the day. For more complex trainings, work with a provider who can ensure that you have everything you need for a successful training event.
Hotels are often popular venues for business meetings or company events, so many corporate trainers will seek out hotels on habit. But is that knee-jerk reaction justified?
The Strengths: Hotels tend to be great for those traveling for training events. Beginning the day with a session in a conference room, spending the evening at the attached restaurant, and ending with everyone simply going upstairs to their own rooms can make hotels the convenient location for training. Hotels are also more likely to have larger meeting rooms to host bigger training events and meetings.
The Weaknesses: The majority of weaknesses with hotels as training venues stem from the cost. While the initial quote may not be frightening, it’s important to remember that this is merely the starting point. That number can quickly rise. For example:
- Service fees. It’s not uncommon for hotels to require you to use their technicians to plug in speakers; their employees to move boxes; or their chef to serve dinner. Each and every service is adding another line to the bill, which may not resemble that initial quote.
- Audio-Visual is often listed as “available”, but in actuality it’s being outsourced to another company. Any time an additional company is brought in, you’re adding another profit margin to your bill.
- Technical support is often hit or miss as well. Almost every event planner has a horror story of their technical elements not working like they did somewhere else—or even dropping out in the middle of an event with no nearby technical support to assist them. Hotels can have technical support staff, but they tend to be more order-fillers than active assistance. They might plug it in, but it doesn’t start, there’s no guarantee they’ll know how to fix it.
The Bottom Line: If the hotel is the training venue that you need, don’t go it alone. Work with someone else who has already negotiated rates for amenities and support. This venue can be a convenient one, especially when you have a partner to guide your way through the booking process.
Temporary Office Space
Temporary office space is designed for companies to rent out as needed. It is often used as transitional space or overflow for companies, but can it also be used for corporate training programs?
The Strengths: Rented office space is largely cost-efficient. Because it’s designed with a “however-much-you-need-for-however-long-you-need-it” mentality, you will likely find a decent hourly rate for a suitable size that will fulfill your requirements to complete the training. Weekends, evenings, or regular work hours—these facilities will tend to price exactly what you need and not a minute more, allowing you to maintain a reasonable budget.
The Weaknesses: You are likely getting the bare basics of renting space—certain square footage of meeting space for a particular length of time, nothing more.
- These rented office spaces give you empty space, which leaves a lot for you to fill. As a result, any AV requirements, snacks or catering, technical support, or printed materials are squarely on your shoulders to manage.
- Your room will have to be laid out appropriately for a “classroom” or “pods” layout, dependent on your needs, and most of these companies won’t do that for you.
- These temporary rental spaces are not designed for learning. Your break area will be the same as your learning, allowing the two to blend together.
The Bottom Line: To rent office space is to purchase a blank space for a little while. This can work very well for temporary office spaces, but it’s really not conducive to professional training. If this is absolutely the place you need, bring in an extra pair of hands to ensure that everything needed for a successful training session is present on-site.
Designated Training Facility
These facilities are not repurposed learning spaces or add-ons to another service, but facilities whose primary service is offering training space.
The Strengths: By and large, training facilities do everything you need them to do. They have space for training, built-in audio-visual, experienced onsite technical support, and designated break areas.
They have computer labs that they manage, snack bars that they stock, and training space that they upkeep. It’s difficult to find spaces that are more prepared for you than this. The whole facility is structured around the idea that all you have to do is show up and teach. There might be an extra charge for dedicated bandwidth or catering, but these facilities have excellent reputations for offering straightforward rates without hidden service fees.
The Weaknesses: These facilities may be simple and easy, but they’re not quite perfect.
- You’re often locked into their contracts, especially when it comes to catering. They may have a wide selection from their catering vendor, but their contracts will likely mean you can’t bring in your own catering platters to serve your students.
- These facilities may not be as large as hotel spaces or the lecture halls of universities. For the most part, these facilities cap off potential attendance at around 30 learners.
- These facilities can also come with limitations on the evenings or weekends. They tend to operate for full weekdays at a time.
The Bottom Line: Training facilities are designed to be easy and accessible—the ultimate show-up-and-teach venues. They have a proven model of training, which may limit class sizes or focus your catering options, but they provide a simplified option that works well for many training events.
When searching for a place to host your training, the sheer number of options and the weight of the different features can be a little overwhelming.
Fortunately, you don’t have to decide alone. As a training solution provider, MicroTek has access to all the above venues—and those that don’t fit into this list. Give us a call and let us talk you through which training venue would be best for your training event.