If you're hiring specialist, off-site facilities for your next important meeting or training session, you've got to make sure you get value for money. If you choose a suitable centre and room, which is equipped with everything you need, then it's much more likely you'll see the return on investment you hoped for and expected.
If you carry out a recce of training and meeting room facilities - whether in-person or online - you'll be able to eliminate some options straight away. It may be that they are too small, too dark, or simply ill-equipped to meet your organisations needs. If you're paying money to bring people off-site for training, or arranging an important meeting with clients and partners, you need to impress them with the venue, so it's no good settling for a second-rate option.
But once you've discounted the lower-quality options, you may still have a tough decision to make. If you're finding it hard to decide on your choice of location, because a number of different rooms seem to fit the bill, it could be the small details that count. Here are some of the potential differentiators which can help you make your mind up. Some of them you might not have thought of.
The qualify of the seating
Whether you're staging a meeting or a training session, people will be sat down for a period of time - potentially an hour or more. As such, you want to choose a room which has high-quality furniture. If the seats are poorly-designed and uncomfortable to sit on, this could become a distraction during the session you are planning. The last thing you want is for people to have back or neck complaints after sitting in their chair.
The clock on the wall
When you're weighing up the pros and cons of training and meeting rooms, you might not immediately consider whether there is a clock in the room. But when the learning instructor, or the meeting chair, takes charge on the day, this could be a handy aid. Using the clock, they can keep tabs on the time without the need to constantly check their watch - something which gives the wrong impression. If meeting and training participants feel the leader is watching the time, they may be inclined to switch off.
The location of power sockets
If training participants or meeting attendees are bringing their laptops or tablets along with them, they may wish to access a mains power supply. How easy will it be for them to charge up their PC or device during the meeting? Are there enough sockets available, in the right locations? And will you have access to extension leads if necessary? The last thing you want to happen is to have people fighting over the three or four sockets in the room, and the seats nearest to them.
Temperature controls and air-con
Until the day of the meeting or training session, you won't know what the weather is going to be like. If it's really hot, you'll want to take advantage of air conditioning and natural ventilation by opening the windows. If it's cold, you'll want the central heating to be on and the thermostat turned up. Before booking any specialist facility, it's worth checking that both these options are available to you, to ensure the optimum environmental conditions.
Access to the room
If you're hiring facilities, there should be easy access to the room for disabled people via either ramps or lifts. But you can't simply assume this is the case; it always makes sense to check before you book the room. Some sites - particular older premises - may comply with regulations regarding disability access, but this doesn't necessarily mean it will be an enjoyable experience for wheelchair users and other people with impairments. It's important to ensure the site is fit for purpose, for all users.
It's worth considering who operates next door to the facility you're considering booking. You don't necessarily want to stage a meeting or training session next to a building site or busy motorway, as the noise could potentially become a distraction if the windows are open. Similarly, the smell could be an issue if you're next to a refuse collection area or farm.