Many hard-working souls tasked with planning a corporate training event or meeting start off the process by suffering from a condition known as Paralysis From Site-Selection Over-Analysis. It is not a healthy condition for a busy event manager or planning pro.
But the paralysis-by-analysis problem is a common one, resulting typically from people having trouble figuring out which of the three most popular options—Hotels, Workspaces, Training/Meeting Centers—works best for their business event.
If this is—or has been—you, fret no more. We have crunched the numbers and analyzed each venue selection option to help you make the right decision for your training planning or meeting planning.
Hotels are popular venues for some business meetings or company events. Many corporate event planners will seek out hotels purely out of habit even when the size and scope of the event doesn't require a hotel venue.
The Strengths: Hotels tend to be attractive for events attended mainly by those traveling for training or meeting events. To many, the convenience of having a conference room, catering access and lodging all under one roof makes sense for them. Plus, many hotels offer large ballrooms that can host hundreds of participants.
The Weaknesses: The majority of weaknesses with hotels as training or business meeting venues stem from the prohibitive costs associated with them. While the initial quote may not appear too big, it’s important to remember that the added costs can quickly rise. For example:
- Service Facility Fees: It’s not uncommon for hotels to require you to use their technicians to plug in speakers; their employees to move boxes; or their chef to serve dinner. Each and every service is adding another line to the bill, which may not resemble that initial quote.
- Audio-Visual Costs: A/V is often listed as “available”, but often it’s being outsourced to another company or vendor you don't know. Any time an additional company is brought in, you’re adding another profit margin to your bill.
- Technical Support Costs: This is often hit or miss as well. Almost every event planner has a horror story of their technical elements not working like they did somewhere else—or even dropping out in the middle of an event with no nearby technical support to assist them. Hotels can have technical support staff, but they tend to be more order-fillers than active assistance. They might plug it in, but it doesn’t start, there’s no guarantee they’ll know how to fix it.
The Bottom Line: If a hotel is indeed the training or meeting venue that you need, experts suggest that you don’t go it alone. Consider working with a third-party company that has already negotiated rates for amenities and support. Hotel venues can be a convenient one, especially when you have a partner to guide your way through the planning and event management process, while also helping you keep costs down.
Temporary office/business meeting spaces are not hard to find. But they can be hard places to hold a professional training or meeting event. These spaces are often designed for companies to rent out as needed and are multi-purpose in layout and functionality.
The Strengths: Rented workspaces can be cost-efficient for the most stripped-down of events. You will likely find a competitive hourly rate for a suitable size that will fulfill your requirements. Weekends, evenings, or regular work hours—these facilities will tend to price exactly what you need and not a minute more.
The Weaknesses: You are likely getting the bare basics of a rental space—a certain square footage of meeting space for a particular length of time, nothing more. Here are some considerations:
- These rented office spaces give you empty space, which leaves a lot for you to fill. As a result, any AV requirements, snacks or catering, technical support, or printed materials are squarely on your shoulders to manage.
- Your room will have to be laid out appropriately for a “classroom” or “pods” layout, dependent on your needs, and most of these companies won’t do that for you.
- These temporary rental spaces are not designed for learning or meeting specifically.
The Bottom Line: To rent office meeting space is to purchase a blank space for a short period of time. This can work very well for temporary office spaces, but it’s really not conducive to professional training. If this is absolutely the place you need, bring in an extra pair of hands to ensure that everything needed for a successful training is present on-site.
Designated Training/Meeting Centers
These facilities are not re-purposed learning or meeting spaces, no are they add-ons to another service, but rather these are dedicated facilities whose primary service is offering training and meeting space, services and support.
The Strengths: By and large, training/meeting facilities can do many things you need them to do. They have space for training and meeting events, built-in audio-visual, experienced onsite technical support, and designated break areas. These centers have full-time onsite staff with expertise in executing training and meeting events.
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They house computer labs with tech support, snack bars that they stock, and training and meeting spaces that are modern. It’s difficult to find spaces that are more prepared for you than this. The whole facility is structured around the idea that all you have to do is show up and teach. There might be a extra charges for dedicated bandwidth or catering, but these facilities have excellent reputations for offering straightforward rates without hidden service fees you find at other types of venues.
The Weaknesses: While these dedicated training and meeting facilities may offer more advantages, but they’re not quite perfect for every event.
- Dedicated training/meeting centers may not be as large as hotel spaces. For the most part, these facilities cap off potential attendance at under a hundred attendees.
- If your event is multi-city and will occur simultaneously across geography, make sure the center has virtual technology to accommodate remote attendees or has a network of affiliated sites nationwide to accommodate them in a physical space.
The Bottom Line: Training facilities are designed to be easy and accessible—the ultimate show-up-and-teach or meet venues. They have a proven model of training, which may limit class sizes or focus your catering options, but they provide a simplified option that works well for many training events.
When searching for a place to host your training or corporate meeting, the sheer number of options and the weight of the different features can be a little overwhelming.
Fortunately, you don’t have to decide alone. As a training and meetings solution provider, MicroTek has access to all the above venues—and those that don’t fit into this list. Give us a call and let us talk you through which venue would be best for your business event.
For more information on the pros and cons of hotels vs. other types of venues, download our free infographic now!