Colleges have let their students out (or are about to) and are about ready to close up shop. But are they? Meeting planners are taking a hard look at college campuses, and many are booking these unique venues for meetings and conferences. Lets explore the reasons why this is happening.
In 2009, college-based meetings and conferences brought in $1.04 billion and 11.7 people to this country’s learning based institution, according to the Campus-Based Economic Impact Study conducted by the Association of Collegiate Conferences and Events Directors – International (ACCED-I). In addition, total revenue for each school ranged from $84,000 to $10.9 million. "It is a growing business," said Deborah Blom, Executive Director of ACCED-I. "It’s a niche market, but it does have a significant impact for colleges and universities and the cities."
Here are some of the reasons event meeting services organizations are seeking out these type of venues:
- They are less flashy than a 4-star hotel, thus drawing less attention to the event itself.
- They can be more affordable, especially when you are looking at lodging.
- Many schools have multiple services on-site such as:
- Multiple Meeting Rooms
- Convention Space
- Food and Beverage Service
- Housing can vary from single bed dorm rooms, to suites, to apartments. You might be surprised that even small colleges such as Case Western Reserve University (student population of 11,000) has this variety of housing.
- Many universities and colleges have recreation centers and can make those facilities available to your guests. Usually the recreation center has one or more pools, gym, and sometimes aerobic classes.
- Depending on the weather, you can host some of your functions outdoors.
- Many campuses have restaurants and bars within walking distance of the meeting, to give attendees variety.
- Campuses are safe.
"Walking onto a college campus is simply a different environment for a conference than a hotel or conference center," said Blom. "I think the traditional campus setting is very relaxing and rejuvenating. It’s just a nice setting."