Where to Meet for Business Meetings [6 Options]
Momentum of In-person Business Meetings Revives
Now that the economy is back in full swing, in-person business meetings are also on the rise. Certainly, technological advancements before and during COVID-19 demonstrated that it is possible for businesses and professionals to work outside of permanent office settings—and to do so effectively. Even with a growing number of businesses mandating that workers return to permanent office space, most experts do not foresee a post-pandemic work world where professionals spend as much time in fixed office spaces.
Instead, many businesses have embraced some form of a hybrid work environment where workers spend some workdays working remotely and another number from an in-person office arrangement—whether permanent office space or coworking space. At the same time, a smaller percentage of businesses have opted to allow some workers to work remote virtually 100% of the time or even adopted a 100% virtual workforce, abandoning flagship office space for virtual offices connecting workers around the globe.
Value of In-Person Meetings
When it comes to meetings, technological advancements with video and collaboration Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions make it far easier to achieve successful meeting outcomes. Yet, at the same time, research repeatedly shows that there is no substitute for a face-to-face meeting—whether one-on-one meetings or those involving 5, 10, 15, or 20 participants. Business executives believe in-person meetings make complex strategic thinking difficult.
For small businesses and entrepreneurs, the ability to meet face to face with colleagues, partners, and customers can be a plus. For example, requests are 34x more effective than those sent via email; a physical handshake promotes collaboration and facilitates better negotiation outcomes. A study by MIT’s Human Dynamics Lab found that 35% of the variation in a team’s performance can be explained by the number of times team members spoke face to face.
Paul Axtell, a corporate trainer and author of Meetings Matter: 8 Powerful Strategies for Remarkable Conversations, explains why: “In-person meetings provide a sense of intimacy, connection, and empathy that is difficult to replicate via video. It’s much easier to ask for attentive listening and presence, which creates the psychological safety that people need to sense in order to engage and participate fully.”
For businesses with permanent office space, a meeting room in the office probably makes sense in most instances—though it is important to remember that the objectives and type of a meeting should be factored into consideration whenever scheduling a meeting. For example, for small business with a permanent office space that is not in a great location and with a meeting room that is subpar, organizing a meeting with the company’s board of directors in the office space may not be a great idea. The same is true for certain prospect and customer meetings.
6 Business Meeting Location Options
So, for businesses and professionals seeking to schedule an in-person meeting, what are the options in terms of where to meet?
Coffee shops are convenient and are great places to meet for “social” meetings. It is quite tempting to start a business meeting with a cappuccino, macchiato, or cortado, and coffee shops are well-known locations—their familiarity put colleagues, clients, and prospects at ease. But for businesses and professionals seeking privacy and collaboration, coffee shops are not the best choice. Coffee shops can fill up during certain times of the day; you can spend valuable time waiting in line to place an order and securing a table. Confidentiality is problematic as well; you never know who might be eavesdropping on your private conversations or looking over your shoulder to see what you’re displaying on your laptop screen. Plus, for a crowded coffee shop, the surrounding noise can be a distraction or even disrupt meetings.
For meetings that last very long, you likely find yourself getting up regularly to purchase drinks and food to justify the time spent occupying space in the coffee shop. And for those waiting for a table, you may find yourself the focus of irritated glares. In addition to the above, you don’t have any presentation or collaboration tools often needed to facilitate a productive meeting.
A restaurant is a good place for a meeting if the objective is to develop a personal or social rapport with those attending. You need to be comfortable with the attendees and normally have an established connection with them. You need to know enough about them to choose a restaurant with food and beverages that coincide with the diets and preferences of the attendees.
If you’re planning to cover business details, then a restaurant likely isn’t a good choice. Like coffee shops, restaurants can be noisy and lack privacy. Meeting attendees may not want to cover business while eating and if you stay past your welcome, servers and patrons waiting for a table to open will become frustrated and even angry.
[H3] Museum Meeting Rooms
Some museums have meeting rooms that you can rent for a few hours or for a day. They typically come with free Wi-Fi and presentation capabilities. The privacy issues that plaque a coffee shop or restaurant don’t exist for museum meeting rooms. They also offer attendees a relaxed environment and change of scenery.
Yet, museum meeting rooms have their disadvantages. They can be relatively expensive to rent. Presentation and collaboration tools can be lacking as well. Most museum meeting rooms simply aren’t designed with business facilitation in mind—projectors, white boards, flip charts, fax machine, photocopy machines, and other tools.
Library Meeting Rooms
Library meeting rooms are a great resource and often conveniently located. But they have many of the same issues as museum meeting rooms. Libraries also are quiet places, and participants must be wary of speaking too loudly and interacting when outside the meeting room. Asking a client or prospect to meet at a local library can also convey a lack of professionalism.
Hotel Conference Rooms
Hotel conference rooms often are a meeting location for option businesses and professionals. One upside for hotel conference rooms is that meeting participants from out of town can be a guest at the hotel at the same time. Hotel conference rooms, however, are typically expensive—upwards as 50% more than rented meeting rooms. You have less flexibility when booking hotel conference rooms, which normally require several hours or even a full day to reserve. Guests and service personnel can create a lot of surrounding noise that can distract meeting participants or even interrupt business meetings. Availability of fax machines, photocopiers, and other services don’t exist in some instances. Finally, free Wi-Fi may not be a seamless process in a hotel conference room; free Wi-Fi may be subpar and special hotel club access may be needed to get better Wi-Fi performance.
Rented Conference Rooms
Rented conference rooms are a great option for many business meetings. On average, they are half the cost of a hotel conference room. They are easy to book. For rented meeting rooms like those from Davinci Meeting Rooms, you can do so online—both from a standard web browser or mobile apps. You can check out photos of different rooms and evaluate based on room size, location, availability of presentation and collaboration tools, and administrative services. You can also reserve food and beverage catering services.
Rented meeting rooms are in locations that result in great first impressions. They also have lobby greeters who can answer questions from meeting participants about parking, local restaurants and hotels, restroom location, and more.
Get Started with a Rented Meeting Room Today
All the above options have a use case. The best option in many instances, however, is rented meeting rooms. There is a long list of use cases—some industry-specific and others that are industry-agnostic: client meetings, staff meetings, board meetings, partner meetings, project collaboration, legal dispositions, employee training, client training, happy hours, workshops, and more. Organizations can get started today with a rented meeting room by checking out rented meeting rooms.