Choosing a Hotel to Have a Business Meeting
Your company is planning to have a business meeting in Buffalo, NY, and you need to find the right hotel. Where do you start?
- When considering a hotel, make sure to research the surrounding area.
- In addition to speaking directly to staff while researching, look at reviews to ensure service meets your standards.
- Don’t be afraid to ask if the hotel offers any special packages or perks, as many are happy to throw in discounts for large groups.
The best place is a list of your company’s needs. For example, will there be presentations that require internet access? Will there be breakout sessions, or will the conference take place in one room? Does your company plan to provide food, or are guests expected to feed themselves?
Once you’ve got all the details, you can search for the perfect location. As you review each option, consider the factors in this guide.
Location is one of the most important things to consider when choosing a hotel, as it will significantly impact guests’ experiences. First and foremost, make sure that the venue is in a safe part of town — having to file a police report while attending a hotel business conference doesn’t make for a great impression.
Next, you want to look for an area with lots of commercial enterprises, such as shops, breweries, and entertainment. This creates a fun atmosphere and is especially important if guests have a lot of downtime, as they’ll want to explore.
There should be restaurants, pubs, taverns, or other eateries near your chosen venue, especially if catering is limited. While a hotel restaurant is great, guests may get tired of the same offerings day after day. Having a variety of restaurants close gives them a chance to try new flavors and enjoy the local cuisine. For example, Buffalo, NY, is well-known for its Beef on Weck, a local dish that residents swear by.
Restaurants also give attendees opportunities to get to know each other. People who click during your hotel business meeting can go out afterward for drinks or a meal; these informal gatherings offer the chance to network, pursue leads, or relax.
If attendees are traveling from out of town, they may need transportation to and from the airport. Many hotels offer complimentary shuttles for this purpose, but it’s important to check and clarify if this service is, in fact, free. If you can secure this kind of transportation, it’ll relieve a lot of stress for guests and contribute to an overall good experience.
Convenient Amenities and Services
One of the best things about choosing a hotel as your meeting venue is the complimentary services. This can range from the traditional continental breakfast to something more luxurious, such as free smartphones for the duration of your stay. When looking for the right hotel, ask about the services available to event planners and hosts, as these can make the organizational process much easier.
If the hotel has a kitchen or restaurant, you may be able to arrange for catering during your event. This is convenient for both guests and hosts, as guests don’t have to worry about securing their own meals, and hosts don’t have to worry about attendees coming back late from lunch.
Should the hotel not have a kitchen on the premises, you can inquire if they work with a vendor that offers catering. Many hotels understand the need for catering during a large event and have working relationships with local restaurants or caterers for this purpose.
Technology and Audio-Visual Connections
If you’re hosting a conference, you’ll likely have guest speakers. You may even have videos lined up as part of presentations. As a result, you’ll need access to audio-visual technology and, ideally, staff who can help you set up.
You’ll be working closely with the venue staff before and through the event, so it’s important that the hotel team is friendly and helpful. Most hospitality workers go above and beyond to help their customers, but it’s best to check reviews before booking, just in case. If staff are unhelpful or rude to your guests, it can reflect poorly on your business.
Not every hotel has an event liaison on staff, but if the venue often hosts conferences, it may have someone to fill that role. Having one point of contact can make the planning process much easier, ensuring there are no conflicting instructions. Additionally, event liaisons have experience hosting in their hotels and may have helpful suggestions for a smooth conference experience.
While you want to impress attendees, you also don’t want to break the bank. Fortunately, there are many ways to get an affordable price for the space and services you need. One trick is to find an area with a lower cost of living, such as Buffalo, NY, which will save you money and help guests stretch their dollars. Additionally, many venues offer perks to entities planning conferences, so be sure to ask about them while researching potential locations.
Many hotels also offer group rates for guests attending an on-site conference. This is a great way to draw a larger crowd, as attendees may be more willing to travel if they’re offered a discount on accommodations.
The most important thing to keep in mind is whether or not the hotel offers the appropriate space for your needs. None of the other perks will make a difference if your guests are crammed together or unable to participate in breakout sessions due to rooms being unavailable.
You also want to ensure that your conference is physically separated from other parts of the hotel. This may mean closed doors or signs indicating the area is restricted to attendees. This keeps other hotel guests from wandering into an event intended for your business.