When opportunities arise to engage employees in training seminars, workshops, educational lectures or presentations designed to improve performance or skills, often the office is not the ideal setting.
Depending on the tone of the workshop and the information being delivered, a traditional meetings venue might be the best option, or it could be that the team needs something completely different to open their minds to a day of important information.
Says David Simpson, who runs Teambuilding Asia: “We like to choose venues with good facilities that are flexible and preferably somewhere with outdoor space. Especially if people are in a hotel all day, you might want some part of the programme to be outside.” He adds that for any group, planning educational sessions, teambuilding activities or any other types of seminars should take into account the group normal business environment. You want to adapt the venue to fit with the personality of the group, but you also want to make sure it looks different than what they are used to. Whatever the flavour of the seminar, hotels, resorts, country clubs and even universities themselves are redefining the look and feel of corporate training sessions and workshops. The following are a selection of Mix’s top picks from the region.
Back to School
These venues evoke a nostalgic feeling about being back at university or college. With lecture halls, a campus environment and even the requisite modern and contemporary version of the campus cafeteria, the ambience is ideal for seminars, speaker events and the exchange of ideas in the corridors.
Singapore Management University
+65 6828 0887
Singapore Management University (SMU) has just completed its brand new 300-seater conference halls, boasting multimedia facilities. While these larger venues are perfect for larger lectures, conferences and presentations, smaller seminar rooms and executive rooms make for flexible spaces to meet the needs of any learning event. The networked seminar rooms come fully equipped with high-speed LAN connected computers. Executive Rooms with media theatres, studios and other interesting features make any type of discussion possible. With a full campus to enjoy, outdoor spaces like the Atrium, U-Square and the Campus Green give groups a range of options for add-on events.
Hong Kong University
+852 2859 2445
Conveniently located in Pok Fu Lam, Hong Kong University (HKU) rents out some of its classrooms, lecture halls and auditoriums for corporate use year-round. With seats for up to 350, the theatre-style seating is perfect to get participants in the mood to learn, and makes it easier for the speaker to connect with everyone in the audience. And, the university will let groups brand the room for added effect. For lectures, educational presentations or seminars, often getting out of the office does wonders to lift spirits, wake people up, and keep them alert and interested in the information being presented.
Mix business and pleasure at these resort-inspired venues, which make business meetings, educational seminars and even budget planning almost fun. Indoor and outdoor spaces look out across natural vistas, making them ideal venues for multiple-day retreats. While many resorts do retreats well, it is important to find those with business-friendly meeting rooms and preferably an adults-only environment.
Banyan Tree Sanya
+86 898 8860 9988
With all the luxury one expects from China first all-villa beach resort, the Banyan Tree Sanya has also taken corporate retreats to a new echelon with hi-tech, luxury facilities. Rent out one of the Presidential Suites, which boast up to 25 individual rooms and bond with the team using private facilities. This type of escape is ideal for elite corporate retreats, executive coaching sessions and management training that requires participants to be open to new ideas and self-reflective about their management style or corporate practices.
+632 551 5555
A unique city-centre hotel with a resort setting right on the bay, the Sofitel Manila is an ideal location for groups that want all the comforts and ambience of a resort without the hassles normally associated with getting to these types of destinations. On-site, a variety of meeting rooms cater to small- and medium-sized groups looking for boardroom, classroom and U-shaped configurations, which are conducive to open discussions, seminars and lectures. The Harbour Garden features a vaulted, tented roof, capacity for 2,000, and views out to the sea – all of which make for a unique conference venue.
Le Méridien She Shan
+8621 5779 9999
An hour outside the city, the hotel is one of the few in the Shanghai area with views of picturesque mountains and the Shanghai Sculpture Park, not cranes and brand new skyscrapers. With events at its heart, it serves as a world-class meetings centre without the distractions of the city. With a pillarless ballroom for up to 1,800, an auditorium for up to 470, seven smaller meeting rooms for workshops, and a pavilion that can be turned into anything, the hotel has ideal spaces for every learning or training environment, as well as sprawling outdoor lawns, lakes and hills for activities and serene breaks.
Serious Topics, Stylish Surroundings
Executive training, personal assessments, management workshops and training sessions can all seem daunting, difficult, and at times tedious; but with the right setting, delegates will open up to the opportunities that these workshops provide for personal and professional growth. The key to successfully achieve this is to strike the right balance between the corporate environment and an upscale lifestyle ambience.
The Grand Residence at Grand Hyatt Taipei
+886 2 2720 1234
Groundbreaking in its conception of meetings and corporate seminars, The Residence was created by world-renowned designer Tony Chi. He conceived this space as a New York-style loft that would facilitate the natural flow of conversation and exchange of ideas. Several residences can be used individually, or as one 500sqm event space. Among some of the features are modern and well-lit meeting rooms that have the feel of a contemporary home office, and an open kitchen concept that comes complete with a tasting table – turning lunch hour as a perfect time to share thoughts and reflect on the morning sessions in an informal setting.
+662 236 7777
Conveniently situated in the heart of Bangkok, the Shangri-La provides a sophisticated mix of business and resort-like settings, with the service and attention to detail that corporate training seminars and workshops require. There is access to outdoor space and the hotel lush, tropical gardens can be used for activities, meals, or spots for restful breaks. In particular, the Garden Gallery and the Boardroom Suite feature direct access to a garden path. On the same floor, other meeting rooms and a central Tea Lounge make shifting groups from room to room, holding multiple small- to medium-sized seminars and a central area for coffee and snacks all possible.
TenOnCall at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre
+603 2333 2666
Named after its ten meetings spaces, TenOnCall is designed to address the needs of groups from 30 to 130. For sessions that require an auditorium and breakout rooms, the venue is ideal as its state-of-the-art auditorium is large enough for the entire team, before individual discussion, training or brainstorming sessions begin. The communal epicurean station brings teams back together for conversation and discussion around a buffet area that can include everything from fruit smoothies to cooking stations. With a view onto the city and the Petronas Towers, participants also get a change of scenery during breaks – a perfect way to liven up the senses for an intense day of workshops and seminars.
When the team needs a way to connect, these venues provide the perfect way to enjoy time together in a constructive and fun fashion. From beachside games to climbing the Macau Tower, when learning to work together and enjoying new experiences together is the goal of the day, look no further.
+62 361 778788
Long a favourite among corporate groups, the Conrad in Bali is set on 6.8 hectares of gardens, lagoons, waterfalls and beaches. Ideal for teambuilding and bonding in a relaxing, rejuvenating environment, the hotel offers everything from yoga classes to swimming races, relays, sandcastle building, beach volleyball, water polo, tug of war, physical feats and more. For indoor seminars and lectures, a variety of meeting rooms – some of which have natural light that filters in from the tropical sun outside – can serve as creative thinking spaces with unique configurations and decor.
Orchid Country Club
+65 6750 2166
This Singapore golf and country club makes for an ideal location for full-day teambuilding and training events. In addition to the three nine-hole golf courses, sprawling outdoor spaces and staff on hand to assist at every turn, the Theaterette, Tee Garden Foyer, Boardroom and Octagon Room are designed with workshops, seminars and training sessions in mind. Full AV capacity and varied room configurations also make it a flexible venue where the indoor/outdoor mix and discussion/activity blend all come together.
+853 2893 3339
The now internationally recognised landmark on the tip of Macau Peninsula, the Macau Tower goes much further than team-trust falls. As part of the Convention Centre, the Tower features meeting, exhibition and theatre rooms for groups large and small. At the top, however, is where groups can challenge themselves. The Mast Climb gives groups the opportunity to support each other in climbing to the top of the Tower, walk without a railing around the tower in the Skywalk, take the plunge with a SkyJump, or really go all out and bungy jump from the top. With a revolving restaurant at the top and programmes to suite all types of groups, it is a day the team won’t soon forget.
Clearwater Bay Country Club
+852 2719 1595
As the only venue in Hong Kong with its own teambuilding gym, the Clearwater Bay Country Club features a special facility brought in from Germany for year-round adventure without risk of cancellation due to bad weather. Presenting both physical and psychological challenges, the activities are designed to promote camaraderie, communication and cooperation for the entire team. But, with such stunning outdoor facilities as well, challenge courses, swinging units, and other nature-friendly activities can also be coordinated depending on the group goals or needs.
GET INSIDE THEIR HEADS
How to keep delegates awake, alert and receptive to information
• Orange and yellow colours have been found to spur creativity. Even tablecloths or serviettes can do the trick.
• Venues with outdoor areas offer more options for activities.
• Think about the participants’ everyday environment and adapt the venue to create something unique for them.
• Don’t be afraid to use the leisure facilities of the hotel, resort or venue as part of the day activities; breaking up a full day of learning can rejuvenate the mind and the body.
• Sunlight is the best way to cure jetlag, so for participants travelling long distances, venues with natural light and outdoor activities may wake them up.
• If holding a multiple-day conference on a serious topic, invite a keynote speaker to talk about something completely unrelated to business. Studies have shown that stimulating different parts of the brain is necessary to keep the other parts active and receptive to receiving information.