Meetings

Take Your Meetings to the Lobby—Even If You’re Local

Need a useful off-premises workspace for your association—or perhaps a place for a small-scale meeting with members? Hotel lobbies are increasingly becoming a useful alternative for productivity on the go.

Just because you’re not staying at the hotel doesn’t mean the lobby is off-limits.

In a trend that mirrors the rise of coworking, hotel lobbies are becoming popular options for business types to meet and work together in an open atmosphere. It’s not a conference-room vibe, but that might be a good thing.

Is a lobby meeting space right for you? More details:

The benefits: Lobby spaces are often much more low-key than traditional offices and quieter than coffee shops. “It’s a more casual setting,” Julie Germany, vice president for digital strategy at the DCI Group, told The New York Times. “It’s a much more outgoing atmosphere. People are more open to talking.” For locals, getting out of the office can provide a productivity boost. And even when hotels offer the space for free, they benefit by selling food and drinks to the people using them.

The downsides: Because the spaces are informal, they may not be the best option when privacy’s a priority. Also, at hotels without booking facilities—much like a coffee shop—there’s no way to be sure that the couches and desks you need will be open, nor if there will be enough space to do what you set out to do.

Ways to book: While some hotels offer the space for free, some are beginning to charge for the honor. LiquidSpace, a startup that provides remote workspace rental, says roughly 10 percent of its inventory in 250 cities is hotel-based. Marriott, meanwhile, launched its own Workspace On Demand program, making its office space free or inexpensive. “The way people work is changing,” the company’s vice president for global operations, Peggy Roe, told The Times. “Work is more social and mobile.”

Have you ever tried holding a meeting in a lobby? How’d it go? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

(iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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