Conference venues to get international star rating

Conference, meeting and event venues are to be given a one-to-five-star quality rating similar to hotels and restaurants.

 Gary Swarbrooke
Gary Swarbrooke

The new Venue Standard, created by Excellence Squared (whose parent company emqc Ltd is UKAS accredited), has already been undertaken by several venues across the UK.

During the next six months The Venue Standard will expand globally, with assessments planned across Europe, the US, Canada and Australia.

It is hoped the standard will provide meeting and event buyers with a clear indication of the quality of both product and service offered by any given venue anywhere in the world.

Gary Swarbrooke, founder of The Venue Standard, said: "Demonstration of quality is the key to success within the modern meetings and events industry. In order for venues to be successful both nationally and internationally, it is of course important that quality standards are set high and continue to improve.

"However, just as important is a venue’s ability to express their quality in a meaningful way. The Venue Standard has therefore been based on the well-established hotel star-rating system, allowing buyers to instantly appreciate both the quality of product and service offered by a particular venue."

Utilising Excellence Squared’s experience certifying businesses for Investors in People, The Matrix Standard and a multitude of ISO standards, each venue is rated on four key areas – customer feedback, administration, quality of product and service delivery.

In addition to establishing a venue’s current quality rating, the Standard will also provide significant amounts of data and feedback, allowing each venue the opportunity to improve.

The Priory Rooms in Birmingham was one of the first venues to undertake The Venue Standard assessment. Its business development manager Beth Sadler commented: "The assessment was an opportunity to consider the successful practice of our administration, service, products and customer feedback processes, and have them benchmarked against competitors. Most importantly, The Venue Standard rigorously questioned our practices and procedures from the customers’ perspective.

"The final result - a customer-orientated, well-rounded judgement of the venue has helped set us apart in an increasingly crowded market. In particular, it demonstrates that we take being compliant and consistent seriously, that investment and improvement is crucial and above all the customers’ expectations will be met. We are very happy to be one of the first to join The Venue Standard."

Where possible, The Venue Standard will seek to complement alternative standards already in existence throughout the world, embracing similar accreditation schemes that cover similar criteria.

Similar venue accreditation schemes do already exist, in particular AIM, established by the Industry Meetings Alliance and endorsed by the HBAA and more than 35 UK business tourism destinations, but it hasn't seen as much support from the corporate camp as you might expect.

More:

The Big Debate: Do corporates really care about venue accreditation?

Hilton opens hotel at The Ageas Bowl Southampton

Olympia London expands conference sales team

Convention Centre Dublin wins event contracts worth £9.4m

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