Why hiring an academic venue for your business event may be the clever option

Hiring event space at a school, college or university was once considered the unexciting budget option, compared to the wealth of glamorous facilities provided by purpose-built, state-of-the-art conference centres and luxury hotels. Educational venues used to be only available out of term time, providing practical, no-frills venue hire space suitable for large groups and, if you were lucky, basic study bedroom style accommodation for your delegates.

Luckily, that’s all changed now. We spoke to Carrie Larwood, Managing Director of Best Venues London, who has seen many academic event venues transform from humdrum classroom spaces to highly desirable corporate hire options. “Academic establishments have realised the commercial potential of their often beautiful historic buildings and have invested heavily into state-of-the-art facilities that can be hired in and out of term time. Many universities and colleges now offer dedicated meeting rooms, executive boardrooms and business lounges, hi-tech conference facilities and hotel style accommodation that are exceptional value for money and more than able to compete with traditional conference venues.”

Still not convinced? If you’re considering hiring event space at a school, university or learned society for your next business event, you might be interested to hear that educational venues are becoming increasingly popular with client organisations and companies looking for value for money as well as a bit of character.

We’ve put together 9 good reasons that put academic venue hire right at the top of the class.

1. Value for money

Not surprisingly, value for money is the key decision-making criteria for booking a conference. From the point of view of universities, conference business is valuable but incremental revenue to them. But since the cost of meeting room facilities is partly covered by a number of services already employed to deliver student services, the cost to corporate venue hirers is very competitive.

2. Flexibility

Educational institutions have a keen requirement for flexible use of teaching space and are used to configuring classrooms and halls into different layouts and with flexible furniture arrangements. This can be a huge advantage for corporate clients who are actively looking for versatile event space.


3. Availability

Many colleges and universities have dedicated conference facilities at their disposal that may be available at any time. Clearly, demand is going to be much higher during term time, meaning less availability for corporate hire. However, out of term time, the portfolio of venues available for meetings and events will increase substantially.

4. Networking

Schools, colleges and other educational institutions are designed with large numbers of people in mind, including specific areas for meeting and socialising. From large lecture theatres and grand halls to bars and cafes, there should be plenty of scope for networking and breakout spaces – an important criterion for many event organisers.

5. AV/IT Facilities

Audiovisual and IT facilities are often built into the room and are not charged additionally to the room hire cost. With many educational established having invested heavily into technology to be able to compete with traditional conference venues, prices are likely to be attractive. WiFi is often included as standard, and technicians are often onsite and able to help out when required.

6. Customer Service

The education sector tends to offer good employee benefits, meaning a higher level of motivated, dedicated staff and lower rates of staff turnover. For the corporate client, this translates into continuity of customer service, a friendlier and more personal service, and greater attention to detail, particularly for repeat customers.



7. Choice

The UK boasts such a wealth of educational facilities that you will find no shortage of choice when it comes to choosing different spaces. From sports halls to great halls, seminar rooms to lecture theatres, large-scale exhibition space to vast outdoor areas, you’re bound to find just the right type and size of space for your event.

8. Character

Whether you book a venue at a venerable university college or a modern art centre, no two venues will be the same. Compared to a regular hotel meeting room or a conference centre, an academic venue will offer a unique experience. From historical character, exciting architecture, inspiring surroundings or amazing vistas, there won’t be another experience quite like it.

9. Corporate

Social Responsibility (CSR) From minimising waste, pollution and carbon emissions to intelligent building design and working with local suppliers, educational venues tend to be leaders in the field of CSR. If you’re looking for a corporate venue with sustainability credentials, you’ll find that many colleges and universities are ahead of the curve.


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