One of the biggest factors playing into the success of a meeting is the space in which it is held. Many businesses have forgotten the power of a good meeting room and thus have also forgotten how to choose a good meeting room.
This simple 5 step guide will (for lack of a better word) guide you through choosing a venue that’s perfect for your next meeting.
Step 1: Create a Budget
Many fall into the trap of creating a budget later on in the planning process, but setting a realistic budget before anything else will help you to avoid over-spending. Remember to include the cost of drinks, food, and, if necessary, equipment rentals.
Step 2: Choose the Location
We don’t mean that you should choose the venue itself, but choose the area or areas in which you would like the venue to be located, and the type of surroundings which you would prefer.
Holding an off-site meeting can be tricky for a number of reasons, but one of the most prominent is choosing the location. I’m not talking about the meeting space itself, but instead the proximity to the office, ease of directions, and scenery itself. You want to ensure that you’re looking in an area close enough to your employees that no employee needs to travel an excessive amount to arrive. You also want to avoid destinations too far off the beaten path as they may cause trouble when people arrive late or not at all due to the difficulty of the directions.
Lastly, you want to consider the scenery. If you’re office is in the crowded city, a hillside venue with beautiful woods and gardens may be just what your employees need to focus and come up with creative new ideas.
Step 3: Create a List of Meeting Rooms
Figure out which amenities and facilities are a must-have, then create a list of venues in the areas you chose in step 2 that have all those must-have features. A few examples of features which might be essential to you are the following:
- A/V Hookup
- Room for 89 people
- Outside snacks allowed
- Beverages available
A great way to quickly find venues with all your necessary features is to use VenueCenter’s simple and powerful search tool.
Then, create a copy of the list and organize the now 2 lists in the following ways:
- Price (Lowest First)
- Amount of Features and Amenities (Highest to Lowest)
After creating both lists, you will want to add the rankings of both lists together and organize by the smallest number first. Here is an example:
- bowling alley
- college campus star observatory
- Laser show room
- Apple Orchard Meeting Room
- Apple Orchard Meeting Room
- College Campus Star Observatory
- Laser Show Room
- Bowling alley
Add the venue’s rankings together so…
Bowling alley = 1+4
College Campus Star Observatory = 2+2
Laser Show Room = 3+3
Apple Orchard Meeting Room = 1+4
The meeting spaces will now be listed with the smallest combined number first:
4) College Campus Star Observatory
5) Apply Orchard Meeting Room
5) Bowling Alley
6) Laser Show Room
Make Sense? Good. Let’s proceed.
Step 4: Test Response Times
When you’ve created the list of meeting rooms, contact the venue for more information and see how long the sales team takes to respond. While not guaranteed, this is usually a great way of checking the quality of service for each venue. In addition to seeing how long it takes to get a reply, make note of whether they offer a site visit.
Another way to check the quality of their service is to look at online reviews. We recommend looking both at the reviews and using the response time method.
If a venue doesn’t respond quickly, has low ratings, or after requesting more information doesn’t seem like a good fit, take it off the list of meeting rooms.
Step 5: Visit the Best Meeting Room
Choose the number one venue on your master list (the one that has the lowest combined number) and set up a site visit. When going to the venue, take a list of the most important features and check to make sure the venue has everything or at lest most everything on the list. Here are a few other things to consider as well:
- The way the staff welcome and treat you as you tour the site. Are they polite and helpful?
- Is there sufficient parking? Is it free?
- Have all of your questions been answered? If they have a complex A/V set up, was it explained to you so that you could use it during the meeting?
Once you’ve decided on the meeting room, you will want to do a few last things
- Go over the pricing and ensure that everything is included and appropriately priced.
- Look over the contract itself and ensure that everything is provided in the contract.
- Send out an email to all attending containing the address, directions, and any other useful information.