If you're from a corporation with unlimited funding and have to spend money for tax reasons this article may not be of interest to you; if you're responsible for a limited budget, you might be.
1. Cost – Pay for what you need, not what you don't. You choose what extras you want. (pens, note pads etc.). I've been to meetings where you got a note pad and pen, with the venues name on it, bottles water, again with the venues name on it (probably from the tap) and other sundries and extras. Thankfully I didn't have to pay the bill.
2. Location – Easily accessed by everyone. If you know where everyone coming from, and you're good with logistics, it could be a good idea to organise route for people, failing that, somewhere fairly central or well known with a lot of travel links is worth thinking about. If you're going out for lunch, what's available in the local area? An area with a variety of choice, for after meeting drinks or entertaining clients, might be a consideration.
3. Catering – If you're working through lunch, what's on offer? Do they have catering, or can they order in? Can you bring your own? Again, if you're on budget, this can be a consideration. You don't need to pay £2.50 for a bottle of water that you can get one for yourself for 70p.
4. Ease of booking – Quick and simple. Pay online or at the venue. Straight forward without too many forms to fill in. VAT will probably be added after the price, that's pretty much industry standard these days, but, after that, watch for those hidden charges. Ask about what you're getting and being charged for, you're entitled to.
5. Amenities – Internet, AV equipment, conference calls, white boards, flip charts, water, breakout spaces etc. should be standard. Amazingly, some companies will charge extra for TV, internet, even extra chairs. I have no idea what to think about that.
6. Wi-Fi connection – This may seem a bit obvious but it's worth checking. These day there are so many different adapters and connections, new and old software, that it's a good idea to make sure that laptops and AV equipment are compatible, or that they can accommodate. I can't recommend enough, going along early and testing the set up before you have your meeting. Make sure the Wi-Fi is fast and reliable.
7. Security – You want to feel like you can leave your bag or laptop and know that it's safe. If you're going out for lunch, or stepping out of the meeting for any reason, you want to know your stuff is safe. And you don't want to have to take your laptop with you to the restaurant for lunch.
8. Breakout spaces – Areas to go to for side meetings or just five minutes of a different view with a tea or coffee, especially if it's an all day meeting. Studies say it's good for the brain to have little rests. Apparently we retain more that way. Having somewhere to go for that or to make a phone call is a plus.
9. Support staff – Polite, professional, helpful and there. When you're made your enquiry, did you feel that you were listened to, or did you come away feeling there were things that you hadn't had a chance to discuss? Thing can always go wrong or you may decide you need something you hadn't planned for. It's always good to have someone from the space around to help. You may be able to check for reviews on Google. Always worth a look.
I hope this piece has been of some help. Good luck with your meeting room hunt.
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