Meetings

New Venue Certification Considers Both Facilities and Quality of Service

By / May 15, 2015 (iStock/Thinkstock)

The new Venue Standard global certification takes a different approach to assessing convention centers, evaluating quality of service as well as the venue’s offerings.

In selecting meeting sites, planners take into account a variety of factors to help narrow down their choices. A common one is certification status.

Convention centers and other meeting venues can be certified on a whole host of criteria: Are they green or LEED certified? Was it recognized for engineering excellence? Even staff can be certified in their respective job roles or as tourism ambassadors for the host city.

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.

A unique certification is being added to the mix that will bundle some of those elements and add a few new ones. The Venue Standard, announced this week by UK-based certification body Excellence Squared (ES), will provide meeting planners with perspectives on the quality of both a venue and the service it offers. The assessment, which is currently available only in the UK, will expand to venues in the rest of Europe, the United States, Canada, and Australia in the coming months.

According to its website, the Venue Standard will assess four key areas: customer feedback, administration, quality of the product, and service delivery.

“Demonstration of quality is the key to success within the modern meetings and events industry,” Venue Standard’s Gary Swarbrooke said in a statement. “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.”

In addition to the quality assessment, which is based on a 1- to 5-star rating, the Venue Standard will provide data and feedback to participating venues on how they can improve their rating.

“Our plan includes the establishment of the Venue Standard as the first global assessment, ensuring fair comparison of venues by event buyers researching and planning events in a wide variety of different locations around the world,” said Swarbrooke.

Beth Sadler, business development manager at the Priory Rooms in Birmingham, UK, one of the first venues to go through the Venue Standard assessment, said it shone a different light on the work that goes on at the conference center.

“[It] was an opportunity to consider the successful practice of our administration, service, products, and customer feedback processes, and have them benchmarked against competitors,” she said in the statement. “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.”

Rob Stott

Rob Stott is a contributing editor for Associations Now. More »

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