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Inner London vs Outer London – choosing the right conference centre

CEME Pod Theatre Interior

London is one of the world’s most amazing cities and it’s for just that reason that there are a plethora of quality event and conference venues dotted around the capital. With something to suit any and every type of event you can imagine, the UK’s premier city has it all.

This can be both a blessing and a curse when it comes to choosing a conference venue. With so much choice, in so many easy to reach locations, how do you shortlist the best venue for you? Have you ever considered using a conference centre in an outer London location? We had a chat to Eamonn Cole, Director of East London’s CEME Conference Centre, to find out why he thinks swapping the hustle bustle of the city center for the charms Greater London is the right choice to make.

Conference centre locations vs prices

It shouldn’t be surprising to find out that central London locations are going to come with a hefty price tag, especially if they are in the more affluent areas such as Mayfair. Unfortunately, it’s not always a case of ‘you get what you pay for,’ as you will be paying for the location rather than the facilities. It’s not unknown for high price venues to be lacking where it comes to room comfort, natural light and dated AV technology. Add to this the fact that most venues are converted, older buildings, rather than purpose-built conference spaces, and you may find issues when it comes to room sizes, facilities and accessibility for all.

Eamonn commented, “It’s the old adage of location, location, location when it comes to London prices. While central London does have some exceptional venues, the savvy conference organiser will consider moving conferences to the outer London boroughs, where modern, high-tech, purpose-built conference and events spaces are rising to the fore.“

Moving location to a superior venue with a lower price tag is a ‘no-brainer’ to many conference organisers, but there are still those who are not comfortable moving away from their usual London venues.

Eamonn smiles at this. “London is a very accessible city, with transport links and hotel accommodation in the outer London boroughs just as good as central London locations. Moving to a location outside of central London also opens up the option to drive and gets delegates away from the hustle and bustle of London’s crowded transport system. For instance, CEME Conference Centre is just 10 minutes from the M25, 15 minutes from City Airport and Canary Wharf, sits on its own bus route and is also close to underground and overground stations. With on-site parking for 600 cars, the transport options at CEME are actually greater than a central London venue are.”

“If you also add in the fact that costs will be considerably cheaper at a Greater London venue – for in many cases a superior conference experience – then it does make sense to see just what the outer London venues have to offer.”


Conference Centre facilities and environment

We know that the venue makes a huge difference to engagement and the learning experience at conferences. Delegate places do not come cheap and so you want your guests to have as fulfilling and inspiring an experience at your conference as possible.

“There is a lot of good competition out there. I think we are starting to see a backlash against older, converted venues, that don’t quite measure up when it comes to comfort and facilities. Conference delegates are more discerning than they were 10 years ago. They will expect access to free WiFi, want to receive quality refreshments and catering, and all in a clean and modern venue which ticks all their boxes for comfort and environment.”

Venues such as CEME have been purpose built, which gives them the edge here. When searching for a conference venue, look for event space that is bathed in natural sunlight, is kitted out with top of the range tech and has individual heating and cooling as standard. When visiting the conference center try to pick up on the vibe of the venue, does it feel like an inspirational, positive place to be?

Eamonn continued “At CEME, we also pay incredible attention to detail, ensuring that we exceed our client’s expectations, every time they visit. From the décor and comfort of our furnishings, to little touches such as complimentary Wi-Fi, water, pads, pens, blotters and mints, we make sure people feel like coming to CEME is an enjoyable experience.“


City vs suburb conferences

So has CEME (as an outer London venue), had to ‘up its game’ to attract business? Eamonn disagrees. “I’d like to think we would work towards the same quality offering whether we was in an inner or outer London location. All venues are different and have their own set of pros and cons. You just need to look really carefully at your particular audience and needs. The perfect venue for one type of event, may not be the perfect venue for another, so I’d always urge conference and event organisers to go out an see as many venues as possible – they may find a hidden gem in a location they have never thought of before.”

So there you have it. There are many advantages to seeking out an outer London venue. You can find out more about what Eamonn and the CEME Conference Centre events team can do for your conference by getting in touch on +44 (0) 20 8596 5151 emailing events@ceme.co.uk or contacting us online.

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