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A memorable location can transform even the most staid event. Sharon Greaves looks at the merits of unusual venues
The mantra that all marketing activity should be 'on brand' is just as relevant in the conference and exhibition sector, where a growing number of companies are eschewing purpose-built convention centres for more idiosyncratic venues which reflect their company values. However, this approach does bring a fresh set of challenges to organisers.
Not least is the fact that staging a conference or product launch in a location that lacks the expertise and the in-house facilities to cater for large corporate groups can cost up to 40% more -- and is often more time-consuming and difficult to organise in terms of logistics and production.
The venue, often little more than a 'black-box' environment, may have to be dressed and carpeted -- while installing everything from toilets to power and heating can pump up the costs. Qudos Design director Anton Jerges adds: "If you go to so much effort to dress a venue then you set up great expectations and have to deliver content-wise."
That can cost extra, too and, on top of that, unusual venues can often be found in obscure locations that may be difficult to reach.
Throughout Europe, purpose-built convention centres present vast and pillar-less spaces that are fully compliant with European health and safety regulations and come equipped with power points, high ceilings and truck access. When they sit so comfortably with organisers' basic requirements it is understandable that many companies see little reason to reject them.
The words comfortable and memorable, however, do not necessarily make for the most likely bedfellows. Nigel Lloyd-Jones, HP:ICM chairman, says: "A lot of convention venues in Europe are extremely …