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10 Reasons Why Academic Venues Are Excellent Conference Locations

Written by: Mark Cooper - Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Where can you find an all-encompassing meeting location that offers immersive learning, cutting-edge technology, high-quality accommodation and excellent catering? The answer lies in many IACC certified academic conference venues.

In the past, meeting spaces in academic venues were often overlooked by planners. Well, not anymore. commercially savvy academic venues have invested millions to hold their own in a competitive marketplace. Planners are now increasingly using these esteemed settings to curate exceptional meeting experiences.

Situated on the campus of Texas A&M University, the Doug Pitcock ’49 Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center is a world-class destination offering state-of-the-art facilities and exceptional hotel amenities.

What is an Academic Venue?

An academic venue is a conference location that plays a vital role in educating and inspiring delegates from a wide variety institutions. Types of academic venues include:

  • Campus located residential and non-residential conference venues

  • City located non-residential conference venues

  • Venue facilities located in places of historical, scientific and cultural importance

Conference venues aligned to universities currently steal the crown for the most popular meeting locations for corporate clients. This is largely due to their sizeable campuses and diverse meeting spaces that can cater for both small, intimate events or large-scale events. 

 

The Slate building at Warwick Conferences. Warwick Conferences was recently awarded silver for Best Academic Venue at the 2019 M&IT Awards.

Why Choose an Academic Venue?

Universities invest heavily in their amenities to ensure they attract (and keep) new students. Corporate clients can rest assured their guests will experience top-notch facilities in inspiring campus surroundings.

With endless options at planners’ fingertips, let’s explore the 9 key reasons why academic venues are proving so popular:

1. Prestige 

Well-respected academic institutions harness considerable prestige. This often appeals to planners looking attract a high calibre clientele to their conferences.


UCLA Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference Center located at the center of the UCLA campus offers state-of-the-art facilities.


2. Location and accessibility

Academic venues are centrally located and provide vibrant campus settings — often featuring, meeting spots, flower gardens and water features.

  • Largely situated on or near to university campuses, academic venues are well served by frequent public transport and shuttle buses to local amenities. 

  • Academic venues are usually surrounded by rich history including museums, artworks and sculptures. Guests can absorb this culture at their leisure. 

  • Rural locations often provide outdoor activities and much needed peace and solitude. 

  

 Royce Hall - UCLA’s best known landmark.  

The Zen Deck at UCLA’s Lake Arrowhead Conference Center.

“The campus vibe brings great energy and enthusiasm to any meeting environment.” 

 - Nancy Lindemer, IACC’s President of the Americas

3. Superior learning environments

Academic venues can heighten interaction and audience engagement. 

Here’s how:

  • They help to spark creativity and increase dialogue between attendees due to their world-class approach to learning and innovation. 
  • Guests can benefit from the creative powers of some of the industry’s brightest minds and leading research studies.
  • University lecturers are regularly hired as highly skilled, results-driven meeting facilitators. 

“Large corporations often work with our lecturers and students on real-life research and case studies. Companies looking to up skill their employees approach us to create bespoke programs to develop their employees.”

- Issy de Castro, MGSM’s Hotel & Campus Manager at Sydney’s Macquarie University


speaker
Image courtesy of Pixabay.

4. Diverse meeting spaces

Many commercial venues can’t compete with the distraction-free and unique learning inspired settings provided by academic venues. Whether a conference is for 50 or 1,500 people, academic venues can flex accordingly.  

Conference Park at the University of Warwick encourages planners to build their “ideal event” with a range of tailor-made, electric meeting spaces.

  • Adaptable meeting spaces at academic venues include:

  • State-of the-art auditoriums and lecture halls.

  • Creatively designed meeting spaces with lounge-style furnishings.

  • Energising breakout areas abounding in natural light and colour.

  • Sumptuous banqueting halls.


A dedicated learning space at Sydney’s MGSM Executive Conference Centre at Macquarie University. 


A lecture theatre with the wow factor in the Oculus building - Warwick Conferences.


5. State-of-the art-technology

Planners and guests alike (especially millennials) now expect cutting-edge technology as standard. Used to catering for tech-savvy students, academic venues provide the very latest technology solutions including superior AV equipment and innovative touch screen devices.

IT support is readily available to avoid any glitches and provide planners with peace of mind.


AT&T Hotel and Conference Center at the University of Texas provides the very latest in communications and technology, including wireless access in all meeting spaces.

6. Exceptional catering

Universities attract many overseas students with various dietary needs. Therefore, menus at academic venues feature multiple options including gluten-free, dairy-free and vegetarian dishes.

You can choose from a vast array of dining areas. From formal dinners in banqueting suites to alfresco lunches on terraces and buffet-style “food stations”, there are op-tions to suit planners’ every need.

The Thomas Executive Conference Center on Duke University’s campus in North Carolina provides many culinary delights — from French toast and homemade grano-la for breakfast, to bourbon braised beef and lobster for dinner.  

“The fact that the meeting planner isn’t saddled with making menu selections is the icing on the cake!” 
- Joel Grodensky, JB Duke Hotel at the Thomas Executive Conference Center (Duke University, North Carolina)

JB Duke Thomas Executive Conference Center Ballroom

JB Duke Hotel at the Thomas Executive Conference Center (Duke University, North Carolina) — one of the USA’s top campuses for its high quality dining options.


Al-fresco dining on the terrace — at UCLA’s campus.


The quality of catering at academic venues often rivals that of high-end restaurants (image courtesy of UCLA).


7. Quality accommodation

The standard of accommodation at many academic venues could rival that of bou-tique hotels. Outdated halls of residence have been revamped and stunning new accommodation built. 

Conference venues in academic settings can provide accommodation to suit all budgets and needs. Options include:

  • Luxurious executive-style guest rooms featuring all the mod-cons.

  • Cleverly designed “micro” rooms within Halls of Residence - ideal when catering for many delegates.

  • Unique chalet-style accommodation with wood-burning fireplaces, hot tubs and stunning views.


Just one of the 250 contemporary guest rooms offered by the Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center.


8. Access to recreational activities

University campuses often provide on-site access to a number of additional resources ranging from impressive libraries to state-of-the-art fitness and outdoor recreational centers to theater productions and museums. 

Let’s not forget guests can often access: 

  • Beautiful campus grounds

  • Extensive on-site recreational activities

  • Free parking spaces

UCLA’s Lake Arrowhead Conference Center not only features a stunning setting, but beautiful outdoor recreational activities. 

9. Corporate social responsibility 

Choosing an academic venue also helps companies to give back. The revenue generated from conferences is often reinvested into education and research.


Recycling and waste-reducing measures are key elements of the IACC Green-star certification program, which provides guidance to member venues about sustainable practices. (Photo courtesy of Lacey Williams - Unsplash)


10. Cost effective

Academic venues provide exceptional value. Many offer all-inclusive packages, with no hidden costs, helping to simplify planners’ budgets and achieve better ROI.

Options include: 

  • Day rate deals covering room hire and buffet-style refreshments.

  • Bespoke packages tailored to planners’ needs.

  • All-inclusive packages including facilitated learning sessions, accommodation, meals and transport. 


With the multitude of benefits that academic venues offer, it’s clear why they’re proving to be highly sought-after conference locations. 

“Academic venues spark engagement, innovation and inspiration.  They are the ideal setting for any productive escape.”

- Glenn Zeitzer, General Manager at Steinberg Conference Center, Philadelphia 


Looking for an immersive and memorable venue for your next event?

Choose an IACC accredited academic venue.





With thanks to: 
Issy de Castro and Jason Chen at MGSM Macquarie Park Executive Centre, Sydney
Greg Stafford and Leeann Taylor at the Texas A&M Hotel & Conference Center
Gail Tomlinson-Short and Rupinder Cremins at Warwick Conferences, United Kingdom
Peter Angelis and Kyrie Bass, UCLA Luskin Conference Center, California
Nancy Lindemer, Rizzo Center, North Carolina and President of IACC Americas
Glenn Zeitzer, Steinberg Conference Center, Philadelphia
Joel Grodensky, Thomas Executive Conference Center at the JB Duke Hotel, North Carolina
AT&T Hotel & Conference Center



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