With hundreds of different venues competing for your training business, it can be tough to determine the right one for your event or roll out. We've compiled a list of the most popular types of training facilities and broken down their pros and cons. Let's jump right into it.
Colleges and Universities
Higher education campuses often rent out conference rooms and empty classrooms. These spaces are designed for education, but how do they stack up against other training venues?
- Variety of room types available: Universities can offer a wide array of room layouts including lecture halls, meeting rooms, classrooms, and, on occasion, computer labs.
- Typically cost-efficient: Empty rooms would go completely unused without your business, so they can often be had for lower rates than those at other venue types.
- Wayfinding: Universities (especially larger ones) can have complicated campus layouts. In many cases, buildings are built as new gifts, grants, and donations of nearby property come in, which can lead to a maze of a campus map after decades.
- Catering and dining options: 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.
- Scheduling limitations: First and foremost, these spaces are for students. This means that you'll have to plan your events around university class and organizations schedules. Often, the only availability is during off hours or during the summer.
- Lack 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.
- Restrictions on learning content. 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 one of the most popular venues for professional development and training events. They're often the first place many corporate trainers will seek out when on the hunt for a venue. But is that the right way to go?
- Accessibility: Hotels tend to be great venues for events that bring attendees traveling by plane.
- On-Site Lodging and Dining: 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.
- Large Spaces: Hotels are more likely to have larger meeting rooms to host bigger training events and meetings.
- 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:
- Unforeseen 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 Availability: 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: This one is often hit or miss as well. Any seasoned 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.
- Cost efficiency: 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.
- Flexible Hours: 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.
You are likely getting the bare basics of renting space—a certain square footage of meeting space for a particular length of time, nothing more.
- Resources and Amenities: 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.
- Room Arrangement: 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.
- No Dedicated Spaces: 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 is present on-site.
Designated Training Facility
These facilities are not re-purposed learning spaces or add-ons to another service, but facilities whose primary service is offering training space.
- Turn-Key: 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. These facilities are purpose-built to make it so that you can just show up and teach.
- Resources and Amenities: 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.
- Available Add-On Services: In many dedicated training facilities, you can get extra features that are unavailable in other venue types, such as dedicated bandwidth or catering. These can sometimes come at an extra cost, but an overwhelming majority of these facilities have excellent reputations for offering straightforward rates without hidden service fees.
These facilities may be simple and easy, but they’re not quite perfect.
- Contract-Based Agreements: 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.
- Room Size: Though the rooms in these facilities often offer more features and amenities, they may not be as large as hotel spaces or the lecture halls of universities.
- Operating Hours: 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 total 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.
Looking for other tips for planning your training?