When I was with a large firm, we always had lots of space for meetings. now that I am on my own, getting appropraite meeting space near my office or out of town can be a challenge. How do other consultants handle meetings space in or out of town?
The first option is always a client's space, unless they don't have it or when meeting in that space is inappropriate. This is certainly convenient for client staff. If this doesn't work, or if we are talking about a nonclient, then there are a number of options. You are hardly the first person to face this challenge. A whole industry has grown up around providing on-demand meeting space.
Considerations on choosing an approach include: one-time or multiple use? Include services or just a table and chairs? Budget? Need audiovisual technology? A few hours or several days? Secure space or not? Here is a basic list of options:
- Airport - join one or more airline clubs, which offer common or private space. Pick the airline with clubs in the cities you are most likely to do business, and the clubs with the greatest accessibility. Some clubs provide daily access or use of your premium credit card for access.
- Hotels - Sometimes staying in a multi-room suite is cheaper than renting a meeting room. Some hotels have public areas in which you can find a quiet corner for a small group meeting.
- Restaurants - Depending on your needs, you may be able to arrange with the restaurant for a private room or corner table.
- Business Clubs - Some have reciprocity with clubs you may belong to, others are member-only.
- Professional Meeting Space - All kinds of choices here from corporate rental to residential centers. Regus is one of many companies with facilities in hundreds of cities.
- Other options - libraries, museums, universities, government facilities, and other seemingly public places often have rooms for rent, or free usage.
Use your IMC connections to contact someone in the city to which you are travelling and ask for their recommendations.© 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA