…while buyers criticise the standard of their facilities

The outlook for conferences is not entirely sunny. New information suggests there are some problem areas for both buyers and venues.

A survey of conference buyers conducted by meetings agency Banks Sadler found that less than one in five of the 150 respondents considered overall standards of cleanliness at conferences to be “very high”.

Indeed, 24 per cent of those questioned judged standards as “disappointing” or “unacceptably low”. Buyers also said there is too large a disparity between very expensive hotels which offer satisfactory standards and cheaper hotels.

And not all venues are happy with the standards of behaviour of some of their conference guests. The Armathwaite Hall Hotel – which has voiced criticisms over rowdy delegates mistreating hotel facilities, staff and other guests – is trying to improve the situation by establishing a Conference Courtesy Code. It is trying to get support from other venues for its 20-point guide for keeping levels of client behaviour acceptable. Some tips for organisers include a system of penalties and rewards for delegates’ behaviour, “imposing a sensible curfew” and offering discounts on future conferences for well-behaved organisations.

A Banks Sadler survey of 200 planners looking at attitudes to pay, job title and self-esteem has revealed discontent among conference organisers.

The majority of respondents said they felt under-paid and under-informed. Some 61 per cent thought there should be more courses offering training in conference organisation. Seventy four per cent said that the success of a conference needs to be more accurately monitored by meetings industry associations and the meetings media.

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