Wake up and smell the coffee...

Conference Cambridge has just released the results of a survey completed by 75 event organisers on the subject of refreshments at UK venues.

Event organisers shouldn’t lose sleep over registration arrangements, worry about the room layout or panic over Powerpoint presentations – a recent survey shows that an event’s success could actually be measured by the quality of the refreshments.

Conference Cambridge, the official free venue-finding service for Cambridge University and its Colleges as well as hotels and other unique properties in the city, have released some important results from their recent survey.

Over 80% said that the availability and quality of tea and coffee was ‘very important and could make or break an event’, but only 50% were happy with current refreshment arrangements. 

Two thirds of respondents said they had received complaints from delegates on the timing of refreshments, the length of queues, tepid hot drinks and a limited range on offer.

Almost half felt the drinks served were of poor quality and a similar number referred to the disappointing snacks which lacked imagination and were not home-made or healthy options.

When asked what coffee arrangements would be preferred, 46% highlighted a coffee machine with options such as Cappuccino, Latte and Americano and a further 17% requested a Barista making fresh drinks to order. A ‘make your own’ arrangement with hot water and a selection of teas was also the preferred option. 

Finally 68% said that if they had had a positive experience of refreshments at an event they were likely to use the venue again or recommend it. 

Kelly Vickers, Director of Conference Cambridge said: “We had suspected for some time that the quality and choice of refreshments play a pivotal part in the success of an event but even so, we were surprised by the responses to our survey.

“What came across loud and clear was the need for venues to ‘up their game’ both in terms of range and quality, particularly in relation to coffee and tea where we are now used to ‘bean to cup’ options everywhere on the high street. 

“We presented our findings at a Marketing Forum attended by representatives from our member venues and also included a coffee-making demonstration by Peros, specialists in coffee products and barista training, to show what is possible! Since then we’re pleased to say that our venues have really taken the results on board and several have been in touch to say that they have already made important changes to their refreshment provision. We had such an excellent response to this. We’d like to thank the organisers who took time to tell us their views and our venues who have responded by making changes quickly and positively.”

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