Every time an out of office meeting is required, I usually turn to my tried and tested hotel and conference directory. These are venues that I have personally visited and most importantly, have been approved by my boss. We do this because we trust what we know. Although a lot of things in life function better with routine, wouldn’t it be nice to have the ability to step away from the norm and offer something fresh and new to try? That feeling when you recommend a movie to your friend and they love it too! Before we go throwing what we know out of the window, why not look at what we have and figure out how to expand this? Or shall we try something new…

Anyone serious about developing their professional image will agree, we want to be able to offer new ideas to be a creative asset to the company, have a valued opinion. Finding new meeting spaces for away from the office meetings is one of the many ways that will not only make the working day more enjoyable, but you’ll be extending your knowledge in general and keeping up with what’s on offer out there.

For a lot of companies, setting both internal and external meetings, offsite is an excellent way to inspire creativity in the workplace. It gives a fresh environment to encourage a fresh perspective. However, finding a new meeting space is like ordering food on behalf of someone else. You can’t be 100%. It can be a tad nerve racking. What if the attendees don’t like it? Have I wasted the organisation’s money, etc. I’ve noted a few tips that I think will help decrease the possibility of sending them to their idea of meeting hell.

Firstly, establish what they like about the places visited regularly

  • Is it the Interior design?
  • The convenience of the location?
  • Do they want a private or buzzing surrounding? Cornered off? Shut off? Out in the open?
  • Does the venue need accommodation?
  • Is it the only venue that caters to gluten-free? And so on.

Finding out the manager’s preference will be essential in continuing this theme elsewhere.

Secondly, establish what their dislikes are

  • Uncomfortable chairs
  • No movement on the lunch menu
  • No natural daylight

Thirdly, consider the length of time they’ll be in this space as well as the number of people

  • All day meetings need functional space and a dynamic interior to keep your attendees visually stimulated while they work. However, remember comfort is key here and although you want to dazzle with your taste, don’t forget they need to be comfortable, they’ll most likely be sitting down most of the day after all.
  • A venue which has break out spaces are a great little addition too.
  • Half a day or just a few hours can vary from; a purpose-built meeting space to a simple restaurant or cornered off bar area. Think of convenience here, best to avoid paying for a room if you can reserve a quiet area in a public venue.

All of the above need to be considered, as well as being cost effective. It’s no good suggesting a meeting space that is practically perfect in every way; only the hire rate is through the roof. Compare and contrast to your tried and tested, and if the new venue is more costly, make sure you can justify this with the benefits.

Lastly, I always ensure I arrange a viewing before I make solid arrangements, showcasing these findings to my boss, so I know he is happy to give it a try. Sample the food if you can, look at all the space to offer and discuss with the venue representative all services included in the price. Speak with the staff, reassure yourself your boss is in good hands.

Here are some of the venue’s I like to book with.

For quirky interior layouts and great central locations in London:

  • The Arch
  • The Mayfair
  • (My personal favourite) The Hoxton

 For those getaways and possible team building meetings:

  • Tynley Hall Hotel
  • Centre Parcs

For your simple sales meetings with motorway access and various branches:

  • Marriott
  • Hilton
  • Holiday Inn

Written by Roxanne Smith 

Roxanne Smith: I am 2 years into the PA industry, looking forward to the years ahead and doing my best to grow along the way. I am an avid food lover with a strong appreciation for the city.