Boring Meetings – Boring Innovations

Sleeping in MeetingThere is something seriously wrong with the way we rent meeting space.

Does anyone else notice it?

Problem No. 1 – We don’t care where we meet.

Standard practice for an off-site meeting is to pick a city then ask the admin or specialist to ring up a few hotels to book rooms for the team and then book a meeting space. This is conveniently handled in one call, as most hotels have a conference rooms.

However, these spaces – some large with ballrooms, others smaller with themed names – all have something in common.

That they are common.

There’s nothing special about them. They’re designed to be generic, and tan, and multipurpose. A tan shell. To be filled this weekend with a wedding reception, tomorrow your meeting, and next week a Bat Mitzvah.

Why aren’t we asking the admin or specialist to first find the best place in the city / region / country for a meeting? Then find a hotel nearby where we can sleep?

Boring Meetings - Boring Innovations

Problem No. 2 – Book A Bed, or Buy Food – Get Meeting Space Free

This problem reinforced for me last week, while shopping for meeting space for an upcoming conference. As we toured different meeting venues – over and over – the same situation took place… Hotels had no interest in taking our money to book a meeting room. They were giving us the rooms if we

  1. Booked enough hotel guest rooms or
  2. Bought food

I know – duh! – hotels first sell beds, then they sell meals… the meeting space is nearly afterthought.

While the room is a give-away… Even the most basic, required equipment is offered at a premium. Flip charts are $60 each. Another $15 if you want an easel to put it on. An LCD projector is $800. If you want the projector to sit on something… the cart with extension cord is another $200.

Why are we happy to settle for bare bones space?

Of all the specialized tools we use, to give us an edge in business, why do we not consider the venue – where we need to create ideas and make million/billion-dollar plans – as a ‘tool’ in that process?


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Paul WilliamsPaul Williams is a professional problem solver at Idea Sandbox. He can help you create remarkable ideas to grow your business. You may read more at his website and find him Twittering as @IdeaSandbox.

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No Comments

  1. Jeffrey Cufaude on November 23, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    You wouldn’t have this problem quite so much if you selected the right properties to be looking at by learning of how they do their pricing and what their market mix is.

    Sounds like you’d be better off with a conference center or a designated meeting venue combined with sleeping space elsewhere. Look for interesting spaces like Catalyst Ranch in Chicago or SparkSpace in Columbus.

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