You’re just about to wrap up your day when your boss sends you a message on Slack, requesting you to research and reserve a conference room for the next quarterly department meeting.
Prior to COVID, this was a fairly easy task because everyone worked on site and all you had to do was look at the shared conference room calendar and find a time when everyone is free.
But times have changed.
Lucky for you, we’ve put together these 15 handy questions to ask when looking for a conference room.
1. Is the Conference Room Fully Furnished?
This question goes beyond the basic needs of tables and chairs. You will want to make sure the conference room you are interested in has all the tools that you need to run a successful meeting. For example, does the conference room include at least one large monitor (more on that later), a whiteboard for brainstorming and a flip chart/notepad? All of these elements are key to running a productive meeting.
2. What is the Speed of the Internet Connection?
Remember the old dial-up noise when trying to get on AOL? The last thing that you want to deal with when making a presentation to your colleagues or prospective clients is a slow internet connection. This is especially crucial if you plan on hosting a video meeting.
You want to make sure to ask about the speed of the internet connection before you make a reservation. OfficePlace offers 500 MBPS for a speedy and reliable connection.
3. Does the Conference Room Have Large Monitors?
Most company meetings involve some sort of pre-produced presentation that requires you to share your PowerPoint or Google Slides file with the rest of the room. Check to see if the conference room you are considering has at least one large monitor hanging on the wall. This not only makes it easy for you to share your presentation, but also for your attendees to see the screen.
4. Is the Conference Room Seating Arrangement Configurable?
Some conference rooms will lack flexibility with the layout of tables and chairs due to size, while other meeting rooms offer a variety of arrangements. How you decide to arrange the seating for your room can have a direct impact on the success and productivity of your meeting, conference or training session.
For example, if you are holding a quarterly company brainstorm, try a U shaped arrangement. This will position all of your employees and guests so they are looking at each other, aiding in the communication flow and exchange of ideas.
If you are holding a training seminar, you might want to set up the conference room in a classroom style with rows of tables and chairs. This will help direct the focus of your attendees to the front of the room.
5. Is Catering Available?
A crucial question for meetings that will run all day and for those around lunchtime. Since your guests will be traveling to this meeting room location and may not be familiar with the area, you will want to ask if catering is available. The option to add catering to your meeting room reservation adds an element of convenience to you and your conference room guests. This also helps save some time since your guests don’t need to get in their cars and drive to get breakfast or lunch. Having breakfast and lunch already setup will help keep your meetings running smoothly and will keep your guests fed and happy!
6. Do you have a Kitchen or Coffee Station?
This is a key question for meetings that are going to run a few hours. Eventually, you are going to take a quick break from your meeting and it is a good idea to give your guests a chance to grab a fresh cup of coffee, tea or water. If you have an all-day meeting or a meeting that goes through lunch time, a conference room center with a kitchen allows your guests to store their lunches in a refrigerator. This also gives them a place to eat and take a break from the meeting.
7. Is There an Extra Charge for Printing Documents?
Most conference room centers offer printing services, but this could come at an additional cost. Just be aware when looking for potential conference rooms that you might need to print documents before, during or after the meeting and that it’s always good to know what the costs are.
8. How Much Advance Notice for Booking a Conference Room?
It’s probably safe to say that most of your meetings are booked at least a week or two in advance, but sometimes those last minute Slack requests come in. When that happens, it’s good to have a list of meeting room locations that can accommodate last minute bookings. Make sure you are clear on the process for booking a conference room or meeting room at the last minute.
9. What is the Cancellation Policy?
Because you just never know when plans change. Check with the staff about the cancellation policy and the actions that you are required to take if you need to cancel.
10. Are Staff Members Onsite to Assist with Technical Questions?
On the day of your meeting or training session, you are going to be focused on making sure everything is prepared and running smoothly. While you might have some level of technical expertise when it comes to screen sharing and running video meetings, it is always helpful to have a staff member onsite who is available to help with any questions you may have. As much as you may try to prepare for every scenario, there are times when technical glitches happen and you want that peace of mind that a staff member is right there to answer any of your questions.
11. Do you have Free Parking?
This is a key question for any locations, especially those in an urban setting. If your meeting guests are driving into a city to attend your meeting, they will want to know if parking is free, will it be validated or do they have to pay. Parking for a few hours in any city can be expensive.
We all were a little spoiled during the height of the pandemic when Zoom waived their time restrictions. Nothing is worse than being in the middle of a productive meeting when the 40 minute time limit pop up appears. That can crush the momentum of the meeting and isn’t a good look for the host, especially if you are working with clients from an outside company or potential clients.
If you don’t have your own Pro Zoom account, ask if the meeting room rental company has one. OfficePlace offers all of our meeting room clients the use of our Pro Zoom account.
13. Are There Flexible Conference Room Rental Terms?
Make sure you are not paying for time you don’t need. Ask the meeting room rental company if they have flexible rental terms. The answer to this question will give you a good indication as to whether or not the conference room rental company is a good partner to work with. If they value your business and want to treat you right, they will offer flexible terms such as hourly, half day and full day rentals. Be very weary of any company that only offers a full day rental term even if you only need the room for a couple of hours.
14. Do you have Directional Signage?
You want to make sure the experience of your guests is as smooth as possible. If the conference room facility you are considering is a large building with multiple floors, make sure there is directional signage for your guests so they know where to go. Even though you probably will send detailed directions in the email, it is always good practice to provide your guests with a clear path to the meeting room. This is especially important if there are other meeting rooms next to you that are occupied. You don’t want your guests accidentally walking into the wrong room!
Not all businesses follow the traditional 9-5 hours, especially if you are a small business or a startup. You want to make sure the conference room facility you are looking at offers you the meeting time flexibility that you need. If you plan on having a couple of marathon sessions during the afternoon, you want to make sure that you can stay in the room as long as needed and not have to worry about wrapping the meeting up at 5pm since the doors are closing.
Extended hours also afford you the ability to meet in the evening if that is better for your group. Also, check the days that the facility is open. Can you book a meeting room or conference room on a Saturday or Sunday if needed?
We hope you find these 15 questions to ask when searching for a conference room, helpful.
If you need any assistance booking your next conference room, please give Kate a call at 860-419-5900 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.