Venuemasters Show Guide: Academic roll call

Venuemasters is the only exhibition to focus solely on the meetings facilities within UK centres of learning. Anna Bowden highlights some of the venues attending this year's show.

Venuemasters, the consortium representing more than 90 academic venues from around the UK, will hold its fourth annual exhibition on 11 May at the Business Design Centre, Islington, London.

This year, 56 members will exhibit, including two recent joiners - Henley Management College and the London-based Methodist International Centre (MIC).

MIC sales and contracts manager Carole Ismail said, "We wanted to join because our facilities are available 24 hours per day, 365 days per year, and we thought we should be marketing that. Companies often like to use academic venues because they know that the money they are paying is going directly to a good cause - the students."

Exhibiting again is the Cambridge University Trio, this year comprising Churchill, St John's and Fitzwilliam Colleges. Churchill College conference manager Gillian Dickinson said: "We exhibit at Venuemasters because it is very targeted marketing. We know that all the people attending will be looking specifically to book conferences at an academic venue, so every one is a potential customer. We have an excellent range of facilities all on one site and that's often what companies are looking for when they choose an academic venue."

CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY TRIO

Churchill, St John's and Fitzwilliam Colleges are exhibiting as this year's Cambridge University Trio. Churchill, set in 42 acres of open parkland, provides 350 guestrooms for delegates (including 115 with en suite facilities), as well as a range of meetings rooms and dining options in the college itself. There is also a separate and dedicated conference centre - the Moller Centre - within the grounds. St John's is one of Cambridge's most beautiful colleges. Set on the River Cam, it too offers purpose-built meetings facilities, ample parking and a dedicated conference team. Both Churchill and Fitzwilliam, which offers purpose-built meeting rooms and guestrooms, are located close to the M11 and other major roads around the city. 6

CARDIFF UNIVERSITY

The university is situated just three miles from the city centre and all the nightlife and transport links that it has to offer. The facilities on the main campus include four meeting rooms (seating up to 460 delegates), 2,500 guestrooms, 2,000 of which are en suite, and a 800m2 Great Hall that can host large functions, exhibitions, launches and lectures - as well as additional off-site, year-round facilities. 20

HENLEY MANAGEMENT COLLEGE

The college, based in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, is one of the oldest business schools in Europe and is a new member and exhibitor at Venuemasters. It has eight fully equipped rooms available, which range in capacity from 20 to 115 delegates, making it an option for both large conferences and small board meetings. All rooms offer full multimedia presentation facilities. 9

METHODIST INTERNATIONAL CENTRE

New member Methodist International Centre (MIC) is a charity owned by the Methodist Church. As well as providing accommodation for students it is also a commercially run enterprise offering three conference rooms (for up to 130) and ten meeting/boardrooms, plus accommodation. The accommodation has recently been refurbished and will be launched officially at Venuemasters (although the rooms have been in use since January). The MIC now offers 28 boutique-style guestrooms, all with en suite facilities. 45

NOTTINGHAM, UNIVERSITY OF

This centre of academic excellence is pursuing the conference market with a vengeance. As well as 50 lecture theatres (maximum capacity 550) and 300 meetings rooms, it is also home to the East Midlands Conference Centre. This purpose-built venue is set in parkland and incorporates the Jesse Boot Centre - a tiered conference theatre and 11 break-out suites - and the modular Banqueting Exhibition Suite. Residential options out of term time include 3,600 guestrooms, and further features include free car parking and free use of the sports facilities. 11

PORTSMOUTH, UNIVERSITY OF

A dedicated conference management team, a host of facilities and proximity to sea, town centre and transport links make the University of Portsmouth an excellent option for groups. There is a wide range of lecture theatres, halls and seminar rooms and full catering services are available, providing private lunches and buffets to large banquets. During the summer, residential accommodation is available within the halls of residence, which are within easy walking distance of the conference facilities. 43

SHEFFIELD HALLAM UNIVERSITY

The university's conference product, Conference 21, offers a range of modern facilities across its two campuses. There are four air-conditioned premium theatres - seating 150 to 450 delegates - which are ideal for conferences, large meetings and presentations, and hospitality areas are located nearby. There are also more than 80 rooms available for meetings, seminars and training sessions, each equipped with audio-visual equipment. 27

ST ANDREWS UNIVERSITY

Famous for its golf, history and academic flavour, the town is also home to several conference and meeting rooms belonging to the university. Available in the summer months, the largest venue, the Younger Hall, seats almost 1,000 people and three other lecture theatres seat up to 400, with ten further venues each seating around 100 delegates. The university also has around 50 smaller seminar rooms seating between ten and 50 people. Accommodation is based in the nine student residential buildings scattered throughout the town. Each has its own dining room, a lounge and other meeting rooms and is run by its own management team. 1

STRATHCLYDE UNIVERSITY

The John Anderson campus offers more than 100 modern lecture theatres and seminar rooms in the city centre, taking from ten to 450 delegates. The larger Jordanhill campus is set in parkland in the west of Glasgow. It can hold up to 900 theatre-style between another 100 in its lecture theatres and seminar rooms. Both are available only in the summer. The Barony complex has four main areas for meetings, exhibitions and break-outs and can take up to 800 theatre-style. Ross Priory is a venue with a difference. Situated on the south shore of Loch Lomond, the 17th century house has three meeting rooms and can take between six and 60 theatre-style. As with the Barony, it is available year-round. 15

UNIVERSITY OF WALES, SWANSEA

The area of South Wales best known for Catherine Zeta Jones and the beautiful Gower Peninsula is also home to the University of Swansea. There are approximately 130 meeting rooms available, in a variety of sizes. The largest is the Taliesin Arts Centre, which offers a 380-seat theatre. The 300m2 Taliesin Annexe (Arts Hall) holds 250 and can be used as an exhibition hall. In addition to these is a large number of seminar rooms, boardrooms and lecture theatres seating from 12 to 260 delegates. 30

WOLVERHAMPTON UNIVERSITY

This new exhibitor offers several centres for conferences, meetings and exhibitions, including Compton Park and Wolverhampton, Walsall and Telford campuses. Compton Park is a small venue on the outskirts of Wolverhampton offering ten air-conditioned meeting rooms, which hold up to 40 delegates each, plus accommodation for up to 140. It is based near the M54. The other venues offer a further selection of meeting rooms, tiered lecture theatres and dining halls. Accommodation is en suite. 31

FACTFILE

Event: Venuemasters 2005

Date and time: Wednesday 11 May, 10am to 4pm

Venue: Business Design Centre, London

Tel: 0114 249 3090

Email: info@venuemasters.co.uk

Online: registration www.venuemasters-exhibition.co.uk/reg.asp

Cost: Free

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