The Rise of In-Person Conferences in 2024
While virtual meetings and events may have kept the world afloat when meeting in person wasn’t viable, in-person conferences are back in a big way. A steep rise in bookings at conference centres has seen businesses getting back to normal. What’s more, 75% of organisers believe conferences will become increasingly important to their success in the coming years. So, looking ahead to 2024, this pattern looks certain to continue.
This is likely because good businesses are built on great relationships. In-person conferences allow a space to forge meaningful connections and collaborate with one another. In fact, more than 8 out of 10 businesses (85%) said they build stronger and more meaningful business relationships when they meet in person.
Why are Conferences Important?
There are many reasons to book or attend a conference, but ultimately in-person conferences enhance your professional and personal development. For a business, the aim of a conference is to network and to share knowledge and innovations. Businesses who do not attend in-person conferences may miss out on opportunities to embrace new relationships, developments and ideas.
The main reasons people attend conferences are:
- To network or meet new people
- To expand knowledge
- To present or discuss ideas
- To find solutions
To network or meet new people
Conferences provide an amazing opportunity to network within your industry. Meeting new people is extremely valuable for progressing your career or business. Moreover, a business conference is also a great way to enable your employees to build stronger relationships. The main benefit of in-person conferences is that they allow interaction and bonding with co-workers, peers, and clients. For this reason alone, virtual meetings and conferences will never fully replace face-to-face for building relationships.
To expand knowledge
Conference centres provide an opportunity to get together with, and learn from, the experts. You’ll gain insights into the latest company news, industry trends, and best practices at work through:
- Keynote speeches
- Guest speakers
- Panel discussions
When hosting your event, it’s a good idea to expand knowledge through a range of mediums, from engaging presentations and hands-on activities. Top tip: plan a hands-on activity to promote experiential learning, whereby people learn by doing. A recent Harvard University study showed that people learn more when they are actively engaged.
To present or discuss ideas
Conferences are a place to present or discuss ideas, insights and innovations. By attending conferences, you can stay up-to-date with the latest advancements and technology, which is important if you want to stay ahead of the curve. Discussing ideas in an open format which allows everyone in your company to get involved can only be a good thing. You never know where the next great idea will come from. What’s more, if you’re lucky enough to be able to present your ideas, it’s an ideal way to show off your knowledge and experience.
To find solutions
One of the great things about conferences is their ability to throw up solutions. You’ve heard the phrase ‘two heads are better than one’, so two hundred and fifty can only be better! As well as the ability to widely share information and teach new skills, conference centres bring people together to find solutions.
On this note, the concern with virtual meetings of this nature is that you run the risk of attendees not giving their full attention. Naturally, people are more likely to be distracted by things like their emails or social media. The rise of in-person conferences is likely largely due to this exact point – people want to be involved in learning and discussing ideas in a way that is difficult if you aren’t in the room.
The Role of Hybrid Events
There’s no doubt that the virtual has its place in the corporate world today. For in-person conferences, they have evolved to open up doors to keynote speakers attending events remotely. Now they are able to offer invaluable insights from across the world where they might previously be unable to attend.
Streaming presentations has certainly become more popular post-pandemic. However, there is simply no replacement for in-person networking and face-to-face meetings at a conference centre. After all, conferences aren’t just about sharing ideas and information. They’re also about connecting and team-building. And this you can only get at an in-person conference.
The Conference Centre Experience
A 2022 report revealed that 83% of event planners expected to host more in-person conferences in 2023 compared to 2019. Furthermore, following the restrictions of COVID-19, expectations of the event experience have risen in recent years. There’s now a heightened focus on the experience for event attendees.
The best conference venues should promote:
What Makes a Great Conference Centre?
The venue itself plays an important role in the overall experience. The ambiance sets the tone of the day, with quality facilities and a well-flowing layout combining to provide an overall positive experience. Thus, the choice of venue becomes integral in an event’s success and ultimately how your attendees will remember the day. Some of the most important things to consider are when choosing a conference centre are:
Your chosen conference venue should be ideally located within close proximity to the airport, train station, or taxi service. It should also have plenty of parking for those making the drive. This makes travel for your delegates simple and stress-free, whether they’re coming from within the UK or overseas.
As mentioned, the venue itself plays a role in setting the tone for your conference. Bright, spacious rooms with comfy chairs, modern fittings and air conditioning all play a part in creating a comfortable environment for optimum working conditions.
From high quality production and AV to inclusive catering, excellent facilities are important to ensuring you get the most out of your experience. Essentials include superfast wifi and projectors, plus ample break out spaces.
Whether you’re seeking a small conference venue for 2-20 delegates or hosting a large conference for up to 1000 people, find the right space that works for you and your event. The great thing about conference venues is that they often have multiple spaces to accommodate your needs.
The Conference Centre Size Guide
Good conference spaces can be adapted to suit your needs and numbers. For example, the National Conference Centre Birmingham is able to offer rooms to hire in various sizes to accommodate your exact requirements. With years of experience hosting events of all sizes, let’s talk through the options:
When most people think of conferences, they think BIG. The NCC is known for its larger conference space in the Midlands and naturally hosts a lot of larger conferences from around 250 delegates up to 1000. But it’s just as important to have other event spaces that you can use for breakout rooms for workshops and refreshment areas.
It’s not just big businesses who can benefit from hosting a conference. Hosting high level business meetings and smaller conferences are just as important to the success of medium-sized businesses who require a capacity of around 120-350.
Not everyone needs a large space. But smaller events aren’t any less important. Most conference centres can provide for companies with smaller workforces (generally 2-120 people) as well as those with tighter budgets. If in doubt, discuss your requirements – they’re always happy to help.
Conference centres aren’t just for conferences! Due to their adaptability, the rooms are used for a wide range of events including:
- Job fairs
- Awards evenings
What to Expect
Short lead times and conversations were a theme for 2023 and look likely to continue into 2024, as in-person conferences and events continue to rise. The fast-paced nature of business and the world in general is pushing companies and organisations to be more agile. Ever-adaptable, conference venues utilise dedicated event planners, tasked with considering all of the factors you would expect as well as those you wouldn’t even think of! This takes the pressure off and allows you to focus on the thing that matters: your business.
The most common way to book a conference is with Day Delegate Packages which offer a convenient and efficient way to plan and attend conferences. This makes them a popular choice for both organisers and participants. DDR packages are, in conference and event planning terms, an all-inclusive package that typically includes all catering, room hire and equipment including paper and pens. They ensure that organisers and attendees have a hassle-free experience and can fully engage in the conference’s content and networking opportunities.
Book a Conference in Birmingham
The National Conference Centre Birmingham (NCC) is well known for its large conference spaces. We host a range of conferences, typically from around 250 delegates up to 1000. Importantly, we also have the other flexible event spaces to use as breakout rooms. These can host those all-important workshops, speaker events and – perhaps most important of all – refreshment areas.
If you’re looking for conference venues in Birmingham, look no further than the NCC. Our experienced and attentive event professionals will ensure that you have everything you need to make your in-person conference a success. Get in touch with us to find out more about why we are the most popular conference venue in the Midlands. Simply call us today on 01214682671.