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April 16, 2008

PURPOSE BUILT:the rise of custom-made business meeting spaces

In a recent news story, it was reported that hotels account for 66% of the conference and meetings market bookings, but a new concept in custom-designed business meeting space is set to challenge that… and it’s a rapidly growing business, as John Spencer, chief executive of MWB Business Exchange, explains: “Our business has grown from around £3.1 million in 2004, to £10 million in 2007.”

So what exactly is this business? MWB offers exclusive business-to-business office and meeting space. The company manages over 240 meeting rooms in the UK, all of which are located in major cities in landmark buildings, with fantastic transport and communications links.

Business without the distractions
“Essentially,” says Spencer, “we discovered that there was a big need for dedicated B2B meeting space which was purely business oriented. Many companies find they get a lot of distraction in a traditional hotel-based conference or meeting setting as these environments are necessarily geared to a wider audience. What we offer is business meetings in a business environment: basically meetings without the distractions.”


Whether it's a small high-level business meeting
or a full -on conference, MWB Business Exchange
has a dedicated business meeting space to suit

Spencer’s thoughts are echoed by Laurent Brydniak, client relations manager for the Business Club at 140 Aldgate Street, London EC1. “There are many advantages to using a custom-designed, dedicated business meeting space rather than a traditional conference-style venue," she says. "The Business Club offers privacy, security and discretion to organisers needing more intimate meeting rooms in prime central locations. Our meeting space provides an emphasis on personalised service, cutting-edge technology and contemporary modern spaces. “

MWB has invested money in the overall look and feel of its meeting spaces to make them different for each individual market. “Our aim is to be world’s best supplier of contemporary flexible office and meeting space,” says Spencer. “All our buildings are designed around the requirements of the local community, the look and feel of our Canon Street spaces are very different to those at 33 Cavendish Square – although they all offer the same high standards, right through from IT infrastructure to catering.

Food for thought
“We’ve done a deal with Marks & Spencer to put on food and an eco-friendly coffee provider to supply our coffee," he continues. "We are specialists in providing the space and we look to partner with people to do the jobs that we don’t and do them well.”

It’s these high standards and the ability to focus on the core customer requirement – business – that Brydniak believes sets this type of venue apart. “The Business Club staff are trained to provide high standards of service to the small meetings niche of the meetings market. The Business Club specialises in this sector and, therefore, staff are trained in servicing meetings. They are familiar with the issues and challenges that a meetings organiser might face.

“Whereas a conference style venue is likely to lose the personal touch when catering for multiple large events, a dedicated business venue such as ours would have a focus on the core business. Therefore, delegates will not have to stand in line at reception for information or have a smaller meeting placed next to an AGM for 400 people.”

Another key differentatior is flexibility. “A dedicated meeting space can offer increased flexibility, with multiple smaller spaces and cutting-edge technology, especially when the meeting space has been custom designed to cater for the smaller meetings market,” says Brydniak.

Anything you want
Book a meeting in any of MWB’s buildings and you’ll discover that all its office and meeting spaces are designed to be flexible and moveable. If you want a 120-person conference or a 20-person meeting they can create it. “In short,” says Spencer, “we can be what you want us to be.”

For all those who have been looking for a suitable alternative for their business meetings and conferences, custom-designed business meeting spaces will come as a breath of fresh air. They are designed specifically for their purpose with business delegates in mind. Essentially, come to a venue like this and you know it’s been set up to complement clients' business needs not dictate them, which is often not the case with hotels.


Related articles
Are the days of the hotel-based conference numbered?
Institute of IT Training signs major deal with meeting space provider

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