Executive Office Suites
A Cost-Effective Venue for Small Business Conferences
MPI - Meeting Professionals International

As the population of telecommuters and home-based offices increase so does the demand for a more flexible meeting space for small business conferences.

Larger meeting spaces, such as hotels and convention halls, are becoming less accessible to the smaller business group. Meeting planners need to look outside traditional venues for this fast-growing market. One cost-effective solution is executive office suites, offering comfortable and attractive meeting rooms to create highly productive meetings, press conferences or seminars.

Executive office suites provide flexible officing to meet the demands of the times: from the entrepreneurial start-up to the corporation in need of professionally staffed and technically equipped office and meeting space both here and abroad. Many of the conference rooms are finely appointed and located in Class A buildings, with the availability of hi-tech public videoconferencing and teleconferencing services.

Conference rooms and services are also available on an hourly and daily basis to accommodate individual needs. Room rates range anywhere from $10 to $40 per hour, excluding videoconferencing costs, which vary in each city or country.

Recently, HQ Business Centers, the world's largest single provider of executive office suites, has expanded its client services with the presence of on-site meeting planners to provide full conference support, from catering to developing creative presentations with the use of the latest technology.

Bay Area CMP Loretta Lowe, who assisted in the meeting planning training of 80 HQ Center managers via videoconferencing, states, "Limited space has become a difficult problem in many companies, and most meeting planners have had hotels refusing meetings that offer no sleeping room revenue. Many of us have experienced shorter notification for meetings, along with limited time to plan and implement them. Here is where the executive suite becomes a viable alternative-flexible, accessible meeting space in most any part of the world."

She adds, "As corporations expand globally, meeting space availability on a company's site is becoming scarcer. Not only are companies running out of meeting space facilities, but executives are also getting burnt out traveling worldwide. I see a trend toward more and more usage of videoconferencing to cut down on travel costs and time."

Hi-tech conferencing (videoconferencing and teleconferencing) is at a 40% annual growth rate. Presently, HQ Business Centers provides its clients with HQ VideoAccess, a public videoconferencing network available in 60 HQ Centers worldwide: including such countries as England, China, Germany and France.

By 1999, HQ VideoAccess is expected to expand to 90 HQ locations to include Central and South America, Spain, Indonesia and the Philippines. In addition, HQ has joined forces with videoconferencing room brokers to offer connections to more than 300 cities around the world.

Businesses have been highly creative with the executive office suite's space and technology by establishing:

  • A virtual wine tasting with wine vendors in several cities
  • A virtual roundtable of prestigious speakers presented to corporate executives worldwide
  • A visit from Santa Claus in the North Pole to school children nationwide

Clients have also used these videoconferencing meeting rooms from Atlanta to Australia to discuss the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney and from Philadelphia to Israel to present training methods for the medical industry.

According to Lowe, "All sorts of technology is now being used to conduct meetings. We're seeing more and more virtual trade shows and distance learning programs. I've even heard of weddings being conducted this way, though the wedding night may be a bit difficult."

Technological advances, training trends and an explosive growth of global business continue to expand the need for small meetings and innovative ways to conduct these meetings. Next time you are planning a meeting and are pressed for time and confronted with the lack of availability of space, you now have another option. The executive office suite environment can be a timesaving and cost-saving solution-and a greater return on your investment.

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