Learning & Development

Four in five workers attending off-site training are distracted by requests for actions to be completed while they are out of the office.

Over one in six report receiving email requests from the very manager who sent them on the training, according to results from a new report commissioned by Warwick Conferences, The Value of Expertise. The study follows the Value of Satisfaction Report produced in 2013, also in collaboration with independent researchers Dynamic Markets.

The new research reveals that over half (51%) of delegates have cancelled their attendance at training sessions in the previous three years.

Neither does it seem that post-event feedback being taken fully into account, with 34% of bookers claiming that managers pay only some attention to the feedback their delegates provide on training sessions off site.

The report involved sampling the opinions of 100 delegates, 100 meetings managers and 100 bookers (all from organisations with at least 250 staff) and reveals that miscommunication and mismatched expectations appear to be at the root of many event problems between delegates, managers and bookers.

This could explain why 51% of internal event bookers don’t treat booking their venue as a business partnership, according to the report, despite the fact that 93% of delegates agree that a meeting is improved when the host understands their event.

Similarly, the vast majority (93%) of event bookers admit to neglecting to investigate at least one key issue prior to selecting a venue (issues here include the degree to which non-business guest frequent the venue, the compatibility of technology with managers’ laptops and availability of parking and free and fast Wi-Fi).

Money still clearly talks, and only 2% of bookers admit to not asking about the total cost when booking a venue, according to the report, which reveals that hidden costs are still very much prevalent. The frequency of inflated invoices increased by 13% to 58% of managers and bookers, compared to 45% found in the 2013 study.

And a certain amount of confusion clearly reins, with 36% of internal event bookers admitting that a venue’s hidden extras make it difficult to compare venue quotes on a like-for-like basis.

Rachael Bartlett, head of sales and marketing at Warwick Conferences, says: “Hidden costs are still a very real problem for the industry – in fact, the research shows they’re increasingly common. Invoices that amount to more than the original quote pose a threat to event ROI and muddy the waters when it comes to finding venues that offer real value for money”.

Bartlett adds that the study shows that “misaligned expectations can occur throughout the event process, and highlights the need to champion collaboration and co-operation in events”.

Jane Longhurst, the Meetings Industry Association chief executive, welcomed the report: “In today’s meetings industry, expectations to deliver are high – and justifiably so. With a plethora of venues and services on the market to choose from, what sets one apart from another? I believe it is a commitment to excellence, in terms of customer service, facilities and processes – and alongside this, the underpinning theme of this report: expertise.”

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