By Jeffry Farman, past Global President, International Association of Conference Centres.
In 30 years of providing facilities, services and hospitality for organisations wishing to run meetings at CountryPlace, the smallest conference I ever saw was for 2 people. Two partners who could never find the time to discuss their business, their issues, their strengths and weaknesses and plan for the future. So, they decided to go away and spend some time together to plan in the best interests of their business and their relationship. A formal (but informal) meeting for two. They had an agenda and an agreed approach. Breakfast at 7:30, followed by a walk in the gardens before taking up their positions in the conference room for the meeting. At the end of the day a formal review of their progress and decisions made before dinner together. Next day more of the same. Our guess was that it may have been the most successful meeting they ever attended.
So, I guess that’s small.
Conventions can run into thousands of delegates. Hence, convention centres in the centre of town, often surrounded by banks of major city hotels. But at the other end of the market, the so called small meeting market, is the small conference centre. Usually out of town and providing for up to 100 delegates, with onsite accommodation. Melbourne is typical, with quite a few conference centres ranging from 40 minutes to 3 hours from the CBD.
These “small” conference venues cater for the needs of corporations, government, university and school retreats for learning and development, strategy planning and leadership and team building events.
Small meeting venues have such a lot to offer.
A typical group is 25 to 50 delegates coming together for 2-3 days where everything is provided by the venue. Accommodation, food and beverage, meeting facilities and equipment as well as sporting and recreational facilities.
Natural environment clears the mind
Peace and tranquillity, fresh air and a closeness to nature are highly valued. There is a strong desire to make a break from the office. To get away from it all and relax in a stress-free environment where there are no distractions. But minimal travel time is important. Most organisations want to keep travel time to less than one hour. Peace and tranquillity, fresh air and a closeness to nature are highly valued.
One of the best small conference venues just outside Melbourne
CountryPlace has been specialising in the small meetings market for almost 30 years. In that time we have catered for over 3000 meetings for businesses, universities, churches and leisure groups. Countryplace, in the beautiful Dandenong Ranges, just 45 minutes from Melbourne, was the first venue in Australia to gain membership of the International Association of Conference Centres.
Don't forget to download our our FREE CONFERENCE GUIDE.