Business meetings that are held in-house are considered very convenient. Many experts believe that such meetings save on travelling time, hotel and transport costs, and time. However, a recent survey conducted on meeting planners and CEOs by Hilton Worldwide found that meetings held outside the office are far more productive.
Whatever you glean from the following discussion, remember that Hilton Worldwide owns hotel properties and it is possible that the findings are biased. Also note that Hilton’s definition of a business meeting was a professional gathering of 10-25 professionals at an off-site location.
Here is what this survey discovered:
66% of 607 meeting planners were of the opinion that off-site meeting locations were more productive than onsite (office) meetings. 80% of administrative assistants preferred off-site meetings. Could this be because the meeting planners wanted more business and administrative assistants wanted to get a break from office? It is certainly possible, but if off-site meetings face-to-face lead to higher productivity and help the organization in attaining its business goals, then why not?
A relaxing off-site meeting venue that is close to the office was the preferred choice of most respondents. Participants knew that they were in a position to reach the office within a few minutes and yet enjoy the cozy, free-of-cubicles ambience. The hotel setting would help them relax and focus on the meeting agenda. If the meeting venue was situated far away from the workplace, the employees would have been tense throughout the meeting because of the distances involved.
A Preference For Hotels and Conference Centers
70% of the respondents preferred to attend meetings in hotels while about 60% preferred to attend meetings inside conference centers that sported a relaxed ambience. A few respondents preferred restaurants, while most felt that restaurants were small places full of distractions and diversions that could throw a business meeting off-gear.
The Booking Factor
Almost all respondents found booking hotel rooms easier than booking meeting rooms. Actually, this is a no-brainer because there are more hotel rooms than conference rooms and therefore booking a meeting room should be tougher. Anyway, I mentioned it here because it was a question posted in the survey.
Small business meetings last for less than a day, and there is a lot of information that must be quickly shared. Rapid sharing of information cannot be done on paper and therefore most respondents (82%) felt that every meeting venue must be equipped with sophisticated audio visual equipment. 78% of the respondents wanted catering services, and 75% wanted access to a full-service restaurant. So, the lesson here is that if your venue does not have such facilities, start creating them.
Pricing and Timing
A majority of the respondents preferred per-hour pricing while 37% preferred per-person pricing. Most respondents agreed that per-hour pricing may not work out well because the length of any business meeting cannot be fixed in advance.
Most respondents preferred Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays as business meeting days.
These were the findings of the survey. Do these results apply to your company meetings? Well, there can be no one answer to that question because each meeting has its own unique goals, and every business must brainstorm and work per their needs rather than simply following any survey results.
Adam Keyser is a meeting planner from Los Angeles, CA who follows EmpowerMint’s Blog for great tips and advice for planners.