Booking meeting rooms for your conference or team building exercise needn’t be time consuming and difficult. Nonetheless, there are a number of factors that you need to bear in mind when doing so that, if you keep them at the forefront of your thinking, will help your meeting to go off without a hitch, and leave all the attendees satisfied.
Booking meeting rooms for your conference or team building exercise needn't be time consuming and difficult. Nonetheless, there are a number of factors that you need to bear in mind when doing so that, if you keep them at the forefront of your thinking, will help your meeting to go off without a hitch, and leave all the attendees satisfied.
Meetings are the bane of our life; delays and rescheduling causes us to waste a lot of time in the first place, and then the meetings themselves drag on for hours after they should have finished! Well, this article doesn't seek to help you run your meetings to a tight schedule – that, unfortunately, is a skill for another day. But what we can do is provide a few simple guidelines that will make the booking of meeting rooms simpler and quicker, freeing up your time to work on the agenda for your meeting or seminar.
The first thing to do is to approach a venue finding company who can handle many of the arrangements for you. They will begin by asking you what your requirements are – over the phone in the first instance, but for larger seminars and conferences this may involve sitting down with you face to face. Be clear in your mind as to what your requirements and expectations are. If it's a simple matter of simply booking a meeting room, this may be a straightforward process. If not, you may find that you will need to go into further detail with the event organisers.
Issues to bear in mind at this stage will include the following. First, location. It sounds obvious, but make sure you've selected a location that's convenient for all the attendees at the meeting – not just geographically, but in terms of accessibility and ease of travel, too. If people are being required to attend the meeting from long distances, consider the possibility of arranging videoconferencing or Internet conferencing facilities – your chosen venue may charge extra for these facilities, but it will save some of the delegates from making a long and time-consuming journey when they could be using that time to far better effect back in the office!
You'll also want to ensure that the prospective venue is set up to handle your requirements, be they technical requirements such as IT facilities, or catering needs. You may want to use a meeting room for discussions in the morning and then have it converted to a lecture theatre format during lunchtime, ready to make a presentation in the afternoon. Most conference venues and meeting rooms can handle this sort of requirement, but some more easily than others. In particular, you'll find that contemporary conference venues are better set up for flexible arrangements of this sort, using modular, lightweight office furniture and partitions to reconfigure rooms in minutes, saving you time and money.
Once you've established that a prospective meeting room is suitable for your needs, there's the small matter of price. Again, if it's a modest sized meeting – maybe just a handful of people, say – then you may not be inclined to haggle too much. But bear in mind that dedicated conference organisers can often secure better rates than you'd be offered if you simply walked up to the door and asked venues yourself. A difference of £50 may not be much to your business, but if you become a regular customer of the meeting rooms or conference centre in question, this can quickly translate into significant savings. Why pay more than you have to?
Before you commit, make sure that the venue for your meeting is clear on your requirements, both in terms of IT and technical needs, but also in terms of additional issues such as breakout rooms, a registration area (if a larger gathering) and of course catering. Many meeting rooms will provide their own in-house catering; if you want to bring in food from outside it's important to consult with them first, as some venues will, understandably, object to your doing so. You'll be offered a range of catering options from the basic tea and biscuits up to a full hot and cold buffet spread for lunch. What you lay on for your attendees is obviously up to you, but check that the venue understands your needs, and ascertain what will happen if your morning session overruns – which, let's face it, isn't exactly unheard of, is it? The last thing you want is for an expensive lunch to go to waste because your meeting didn't break in time to enjoy it while hot.
Using a venue finding company allows you to leave the details to them to arrange, and gives you plenty of time to focus on the substance of your seminar or presentation, which after all is the most important element of the event.
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