A positive or negative hotel experience will, for better or worse, impact how your event attendees view your company or organization. When planning an off-site meeting at a hotel there are many details to consider, starting with the site selection. It’s important to start the process by narrowing down your options and picking 2-4 hotel sites to inspect. Then consider three critical factors:
1. Overall Hotel Experience:
Make a point to go to the hotel prior to your site inspection time and sit in the lobby and watch the movement of the staff and guests. Below are a few things to pay attention to:
- Is the check-in/out process quick and streamlined?
- Was their bell staff at the door to take care of luggage?
- Was the valet present?
- How long does it take for elevators to arrive?
- Is the staff friendly and helpful?
- Is there free Wi-Fi available in the lobby areas?
- Does the hotel have a lobby bar/restaurant that is busy?
- Are there any additional outlets available (coffee shop, gift shop, boutique shops)?
2. Meeting Space:
Finding the right space for your meeting can be tricky as meeting space can vary in size and shape. Be mindful of:
- How many people will be attending, what type of room set up will you have (classroom, theater, boardroom)?
- Do you need seating for all attendees?
- If there will be a presentation, make sure the room does not have anything that would obstruct someone’s view of the podium or a screen.
- Will you need additional space for display tables?
- Is there a fee for the meeting space or a food and beverage minimum?
3. Guest Sleeping Rooms:
Guest sleeping rooms also come in many shapes and sizes. Always ask to see a few options that would be available. Many times the rooms do not look the same. Some are larger or smaller. A few things to look for when inspecting a guest room are:
- Is the room clean, does the carpet look old or worn away in places?Is there paint chipping or wallpaper coming off the wall?
- Be sure to inspect the bathrooms for cleanliness and acceptable size.
- Do the linens look clean, worn or torn? What type of pillows do they offer (thinking of those with allergies)?
- Does the room come with a refrigerator or in-room safe?