Many hotels have executive lounges and large tradeshows usually provide suites for hosted buyers. Hospitality suites can also add tremendous value for private corporate events. Hospitality suites are often used as a place for attendees to gather and relax after the day is through but they can also be used as:
- a space for early arrivals to relax until their rooms are ready
- a venue to serve light snacks before the meeting or internal conference begins
- a private room for participants to make phone important calls while the meeting is in progress.
- an impromptu meeting and networking spot
- a place for participants with late departures to relax and freshen up before heading to the airport
How to Create a Great Hospitality Suite
Now that the benefits are clear, how can event and meeting planners create a great hospitality suite?
- Select a large hospitality suite with couches, chairs, and adjoining guest rooms.
If a couple of in-town guests have a need to stay overnight at the last minute you'll have 2 extra rooms even if the hotel is sold out. In a pinch, function rooms or boardrooms can be converted into hospitality suites with the right furniture.
- Book the hospitality suite from noon on Day 1 to dinner time on the final day.
- To give guests the freedom to enjoy themselves without disturbing other guests, book the rooms nearby and rooms on the floor and above the hospitality suite.
For a corporate event that my company organized for last weekend, the hospitality room was on the top floor and we booked all of the rooms on that floor and the floor below.
- Keep it clean, tidy and fresh.
Request extra waste baskets and recycling bins. Provide paper towels to keep on hand for spills. Arrange to have the room clean and refreshed first thing in the morning and while the group is at dinner. Put air freshener in the wardrooms of the suite and the adjoining guest rooms.
- Opt for jugs of ice water instead of bottled water to keep the room tidy and provide a more environmentally friendly option.
- Provide first aid, emergency and cold relief kits.
At my most recent event, an entertainer needed Aspirin and an ice pack for his foot and a guest required a Band-Aid.
- Ensure that there are enough outlets for laptops.
If there aren't, bring or request extension chords and tape them down so that guests can move around safely.
- Suites with kitchenettes, microwaves or toaster ovens make it possible to provide a broader range of snacks.
If they aren't available, engage a dedicated concierge to assist you in serving hot items.
- Provide a range of snacks to accommodate various tastes and preferences.
In addition to the usual chips, pretzels, consider popcorn, cappuccino, croissant and muffins in the morning, tea sandwiches, and scones for the mid-afternoon break on the first day, and s'mores for an evening snack.
- If dinner is going to be served late on the first night and there won't be a reception with hors d'oeuvres preceding it, serve hot hors d'oeuvres.
Moroccan cigars and Jamaican cocktail patties will give your guests some variety.
For example, President's Choice has a wide range of affordable appetizers with a quality that is so high that some caterers use them for their events. Mini beef Wellington, beef and chicken slider bar, Swedish meatballs, and sausage rolls are just a few of the selections available.
- Get the hotel to provide extra ice buckets and fridges.
- Use coolers and bins to fast chill beer, white wine, and soft drinks.
- A Smart Serve (in Ontario) or certified bartender will reduce the potential of liability w.r.t. alcohol service.
It may seem like an unnecessary added expense but it will prove to be a worthwhile investment if there are any issues.
Photo Credits: Living it Loving it Ltd