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Last Updated on September 30, 2020

Should a course you organise be a residential training course or non-residential? This is one consideration you will come across when planning certain courses as a trainer. So here we look at the pros and cons of holding residential versus non-residential courses.

Is it better to run a residential course or non-residential?

Indeed, a subject area where interaction between participants will greatly enhance the training, can, for example, mean that the course lends itself strongly to making it residential.

Courses such as the team building, mindfulness and SEO Beginners course and some management courses can certainly benefit from social evening events being built into the whole course.

So what are the advantages and disadvantages for making a course, a residential one?

Advantages of Residential Courses

Commercial Opportunity as a Trainer

As a trainer, offering training might well be your business. In addition to trying to offer high-quality training programs and workshops, you no doubt are looking to increase commercial opportunities, where possible, from the training.

Residential courses provide a wonderful option commercially to source a percentage of income from the accommodation offered.

You can offer the exact same price to attendees that they will get from other sources for the same hotel, but by creating a bookings.com (affiliate) account, you can link the bookings through your affiliate link. (Learn more about making money with your own small business here).

If, for example, you are using a local hotel as the accommodation for all course attendees, you will receive a commission without yourself needing to manage any of the hotel bookings at all.

It is possible to make a few thousand pounds a year extra income just from this one source!

Bonding on Residential Training Courses

As previously mentioned, residential courses can create a powerful bonding opportunity with social connections and activities adding to the training.

The social element can turn an otherwise less attractive course for some, into a mini-break.

A residential course can also give participants more time for networking, which can be seen as an additional bonus, considering how important making social connections is for people’s careers.

For others, though, it may be seen as an unnecessary extension of the day, so ensuring you understand your target market here is key.

Classroom lesson plans

Those Travelling a Distance for Training

Some delegates might have to travel quite a distance in order to attend your training.

Residential training courses can offer a solution to this issue, making it a more attractive option for some potential attendees.

More Focus on Learning

Residential courses can give participants a chance to focus more on their learning.

Being away from home and from the habitual place of work, takes away many distractions of everyday life. Thus, learners can really immerse themselves fully into the training experience.

Without worrying about commuting, preparing food and carrying out all other daily chores, participants are free to focus on learning.

Disadvantages of Residential Training Courses

Costs

Making the course residential inevitably can push up the cost of the course and this potentially might price some candidates from attending.

For courses that are likely to be paid for by the candidates’ company, this becomes a greater possibility.

Time and Niche Topic Considerations

As previously discussed, time, in this post-modern world where we are constantly chasing our tails, is always an issue.

If you are sure there is the demand, such as because you are offering a niche course and you are clearly the expert in the field, why not make it residential if you feel that demand will make it worthwhile.

Certain subject areas are niche such that people are willing to pay whatever it costs (within reason) because they are determined to attend a course run on a certain subject by a certain trainer.

We have seen this specifically with art-related subjects, such as for dance workshops. Furthermore, the opportunity to add one evening entertainment (such as a dance show or provide the chance to dance if it is a dance workshop) means an even deeper experience for those attending,

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Dr Paul Symonds

Paul is a trained researcher with a PhD in wayfinding. Paul is a co-founder of Symonds training. We focus on providing high-quality training materials packages and programs for trainers, classroom teachers and HR departments.

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