Peter Sangster, Venue Director at De Vere Wokefield Estate UK, says high-end meetings and weddings have more in common than you think.
Many people overlook the impact the choice of a setting can have on the outcome of a meeting. If your aim is to impress, then the location, facilities and support will play a part in winning over your guests, as well as contributing to a successful meeting.
It can be argued that to conduct a high-end meeting, event organisers should approach its planning as they would a wedding. A standout location, excellent service and a smooth-running order are essential.
Location, location, location
With 73% of meetings only consisting of two to four people, according to The Wall Street Journal, and more than half of office meeting rooms built for seven people or more, it’s well worth booking a smaller room out of the office on neutral ground for an important meeting or when looking to make an impression.
The smaller, more intimate space, away from day-to-day working environment will allow for greater concentration, closer interaction and less distractions and means that you can take advantage of a hotel’s wider offering – whether it be lunch or dinner in the restaurant, or taking a breath of fresh air in the grounds.
First impressions are often lasting impressions, so choose a venue that will wow your guests from the offset. Mansion House hotels work perfectly for this, with their impressive exteriors, and characterful interiors. Alternatively, if it suits your guests and the nature of the meeting, consider a quirky venue that will spark their interest on arrival.
Intimate meeting spaces don’t have to resemble cupboards, or gloomy box rooms with little natural light. Take your time to research your options to see what is available locally. It’s also worth at this point considering the tone, mood and content of your meeting and look to match the atmosphere you’d like to create with the room décor. For example, De Vere Wokefield Estate’s Mansion House is home to elegant, wood-panelled meeting rooms that draw on quintessential British designs and natural hues, lending themselves well to high-end, formal arrangements.
For a more creative session, you may want to consider an outdoor setting – just make sure there’s free, superfast Wi-Fi available – or a room with a particularly inspiring view.
Setting the stage
According to research by 3M, the brand behind Post-it Notes, visuals are processed 60,000 times faster by our brains than text. This leads to an interesting consideration as to how to present the meeting and the points you’d like to make. Whatever you decide, ensure that the venue can support your creativity with the latest AV technology, fast, secure networks and reliable screens.
High-end meetings need impeccable staff support and service to ensure that they run smoothly. Check the venue you’re interested in can provide a dedicated meetings planner and a meeting host on the day–having tech-savvy support on hand to help with any technical woes is always a bonus in high-pressure situations.
Food and performance
Delight your guests by winning over their stomachs (and boost energy levels).
There is a wealth of interesting statistics and research on the effect food can have on performance. For example, as Harvard Business Review explains, foods like pasta and bread, release glucose quickly, leading to a peak in energy followed by a slump, while meals that are high in fat provide more sustained energy, but require harder work from our bodies, reducing oxygen levels in the brain and making us groggy.
Invest in a venue that has already done the research for you and therefore can provide a nutritionally balanced menu. As part of its innovative Smart Space concept, designed for meetings, De Vere’s Group Nutritionist, Wendy Martinson OBE, has created hearty, nutritionally balanced menus, which include vegan, vegetarian and free-from options, which are specifically crafted with productivity, concentration and wellbeing in mind.
To really impress attendees, why not conclude a high-end meeting with a private dining experience in a characterful room providing a sense of grandeur, elegance and exclusivity.
Reap the rewards
Be warned, once you have a taste for the high-life it’s hard to revert to the basement office meeting rooms. To keep your expenses in check, investigate whether the venue offers incentives for repeat business or a reward scheme. This can be a good way to gain some additional perks via your business meeting bookings, in the way of free drinks, discounts or even cinema tickets.
A high-end meeting, like a wedding, can be daunting to organise, with the pressure to make it a success, but by following these simple steps you can ensure that your attendees are engaged and perform at their best.