Your special report on conferences and exhibitions (MW July 27) glanced over the most fundamental problem with hotels as conference venues – the design of meeting rooms.
Most meeting rooms are designed by architects who have been given a brief to create banqueting rooms. This means access doors can be too small, lighting controls located in other rooms, no hanging points in ceilings, fixed chandeliers and even fixed mirrors.
At some venues you are plagued by noise from nearby kitchens, at others the kitchens are so far away food is cold by the time it arrives for delegates. It is not unusual to have meeting rooms that require access by lifts, but some service lifts are only designed to take passengers and not bulky A/V equipment, much less something like a car.
Design flaws like these can be easily overcome by involving a conference and event organiser at the design brief stage.
As a conference and event organiser I am optimistic about the future of hotels as conference venues in the UK. Over the past few years I have seen improvements implemented within most of the hotel chains as they understand the benefits that the conference and events industry can have on their revenue stream. I am confident that hotels as conference venues will continue to improve and meet our needs.
As your feature highlighted, there are areas where hotels can improve to become better conference venues, but this has to be one of the most fundamental things to get right.