An analysis and critique of evolving conference venue styles and structures from post war to the present day within the UK
This source preferred by Julie Whitfield
Authors: Whitfield, J.E.
This thesis provides an analysis and critique of the U.K. conference sector during the post-war period, in response to five hypotheses and research objectives. A pre-tested and piloted postal questionnaire was distributed to 3,000 U.K. conference venues that were drawn from secondary data sources, such as the Venue Directory. A total of 438 (14.6%) usable responses were returned. The research findings used quantitative analysis, with descriptive, explanatory, comparative and predictive research approaches also adopted. Holts linear and exponential smoothing was used to predict future trends.
The literature review concerning the classification of the U.K. conference sector identifies that many of the typologies used over the last decade are often confusing and unnecessarily protracted due to sub divisions. This research forwards a typology comprising of four mutually exclusive classifications, namely purpose-built conference venues, hotels, educational establishments and visitor attractions all with conference facilities.
This research identified many similarities and differences between the four venue classifications. Purpose-built venues initiated the U.K. conference sector during the 1950s. Hotels followed then educational establishments and finally the most recent are visitor attractions with conference facilities. Although purpose-built venues were the originators of the modern U.K. conference sector, growth rates from the other three venue classifications have, at one time or another exceeded that of purpose-built venues during the post-war period.
Purpose-built venues were established in response to demand and were not initially economically focused, whereas the other three venue classifications added conference facilities to generate additional revenue sources and thus were economically motivated. The 1990s were the first decade in which over 37% of each venue classification opened their conference facilities, thus competition grew by over one third within the 1990s. The 1990s were also the most popular decade in which venues across the U.K. conference sector refurbished, with cosmetic changes such as upgrading furnishings and décor commonplace. Such refurbishments were undertaken to keep pace with customer’s demands, offering higher standards along with the need to modernise. Overall such refurbishments are viewed as a response to increased competition, cited by all venue classifications as a key issue encountered.
Butler’s Lifecycle Model was utilised to explain the development of the U.K. conference sector, identifying that each venue classification has passed through its lifecycle at differing rates, with purpose-built venues having the longest lifecycle, but progressing through its lifecycle the slowest. Visitor attractions have the shortest lifecycle of the four venue classifications.
Respondents perceive the future of the U.K. conference sector as positive, with increasing numbers of venues forecasted to open in the current and subsequent decade. Hotels conference venues still dominate the sector, although visitor attractions are predicted to experience the greatest levels of growth over the current and future decade. The majority of educational establishments and visitor attractions plan to refurbish in the future, whilst the majority of purpose-built venues and hotels do nWhere refurbishment is planned, cosmetic ch to furnishings and décor are commonplace, along wi iationdern conferquipnd hend safety i The majority ofe refurbiplannoccur wihe first half of the t . ll resps perceie fututerence sector totinued growth and increaseet----------------733b0988 Conisposifor;"c7_thesis
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