Meetings are a necessary part of business. Though not loved by many, meetings play a key function in business performance and success; they are used for planning, brainstorming, sharing results, and solving business crises.
And though most companies — if not all — at some point have meetings, not all of them have on-site meeting rooms within their workplace.
Luckily, there are plenty of off-site meeting room options available for companies (and no, we are not talking about your local coffee shop or favorite restaurant).
Though coffee shops and restaurants are sometimes used as meeting places, there are various reasons why they are not ideal to host important meetings, particularly big ones.
So, how do you pick the right off-site meeting space for your team?
Some things to consider
Before you book your meeting room, there are a few things you need to consider.
- How many people will attend the meeting.
- How do these people like to or prefer to work.
- What type of meeting is it? In other words, will the meeting be for brainstorming purposes, for planning purposes, to present end-of-year results, to follow-up on a specific project, etc.
- Will there be people joining the meeting remotely? If so, then you need to ensure that the meeting space you choose has the necessary audio-video equipment and the necessary tech infrastructure.
- How long will the meeting run? This is for comfort purposes as well as to decide whether you will also need to book food/catering services).
Where to Find and What to Look for in Off-site Meeting Space
Where to Find Meeting Space
Once you have figured out the above items, it’s time to start evaluating meeting room rental options. There are several choices when it comes to booking off-site meeting space, including hotels, event venues, and third-party offices (business centers, coworking spaces, virtual offices).
Before you decide on any given meeting room, make sure you conduct some research and compare prices, amenities, and additional services that each meeting room provider offers.
What to Look for in a Meeting Room
Not all meeting rooms are created equal.
While large conference rooms can be great for training sessions or large team meetings, they are not right for brainstorming sessions or meetings where people will be joining remotely.
Depending on your and your team’s needs, you need to carefully evaluate each meeting room option. Keep in mind that the right meeting space is a key to the success and effectiveness of a meeting.
With this in mind…
Here are some things that you should look for in a meeting room.
1. Convenient, central location
If you’re meeting outside of the office, consider booking a meeting room in an area that is easily accessible by car, public transport, or alternative transportation methods.
Making it easy for attendees to get to the meeting will positively impact the overall results as attendees are less likely to be stressed out by their commute and it can even make it easier for everyone to get there in time.
2. Competitive pricing
And no, this doesn’t necessarily mean cheap.
When evaluating your meeting room options, you need to take a careful look at the fine print. When you’re comparing prices, make sure that you’re comparing apples to apples.
Look at the price per hour or day, see how much they charge if you need extra hours at the last minute or if you need to cancel last minute, see if the price includes access to tech infrastructure, wifi, parking, printing services, coffee/tea and water, etc.
3. Technology infrastructure
When you’re hosting a meeting, you need to look beyond wifi and look for integrated connectivity.
Will any of the attendees be giving a presentation? If so, how will they present it?
Do they need a monitor or a projector? Is their computer compatible with the available HDMI cables? Can presentations be set up via bluetooth?
What if you have people joining remotely?
Does the space’s infrastructure support audio and visual connectivity? Does it offer collaboration tools?
The right technology can make or break a meeting; the right tech will help the meeting run smoothly, stay on time, and be effective.
The wrong technology can make a meeting run longer and prevent it from being effective and efficient.
4. Design matters
Not only should your meeting space be equipped with the latest technology, but it should also be carefully designed.
The space you choose should be both inspiring and comfortable for attendees.
Look for spaces that offer ergonomic furniture, that have plenty of natural light, that have modular layouts that you can arrange to your needs, and that are visually pleasing.
If you want people focused on the meeting agenda and actively participating, then you have to pick an environment that will motivate them and make them feel comfortable; you don’t want attendees feeling like they’re enclosed somewhere they don’t want to be in.
5. Service first mindset
Wherever you decide to host your meeting, you need to make sure that it is a welcoming environment.
This goes beyond the actual meeting room that you book and it includes everything from the minute attendees walk through the door of the building up until they leave.
Does the meeting room provider offer receptionist services to greet guests?
Does it offer tech support in case you need help setting up computers, monitors, microphones, etc.?
Does it allow for food to be brought in from a caterer?
Will it allow you to provide some sort of branding and signage for your meeting?
You should also think about ease of booking and payment. Can you book the meeting space automatically? Can you pay with a credit card?
There are plenty of options out there for off-site meeting rooms. Picking the right meeting space for your needs requires that you carefully take into consideration elements like pricing, connectivity, location, design, and hospitality.