When you're entertaining clients in your city, it's easy to suggest the best museums to go visit, the most relaxing bars to have a drink at, and what meal at your favorite restaurant is a must-have. However, when you're on a business trip and you have to host a meeting and entertain your client, it's a lot harder to know what's the best place to go, especially if you've never been to that particular city.
This used to be a major problem for me, trying to find an appropriate place to work while still being in a professional environment. However, with the growth of remote careers, hosting a last minute business meeting in Colchester, England isn't much different from hosting one when in San Francisco. Here are the types of places you can go to host a business meeting with your client.
This is probably the most obvious choice on the list for a reason. It's an inexpensive option that offers flexibility in regards to their business hours, especially if its a chain. There is not a lot of pressure that comes with meeting in a coffee shop either.
While having business meetings in coffee shops are becoming commonplace, it does lack privacy. It's also not a guarantee that the coffee shop will be quiet enough for you to conduct a successful meeting. Additionally, you may be cramped into a corner or fighting for an available space.
Having a meeting at a restaurant is good if you're trying to ease into talking business when both of you are fed and relaxed. Before you pick a restaurant to have dinner at, make sure you know what your client's likes and dislikes are.
I normally only have a business meeting over dinner when I'm comfortable with my client and vice versa. If this is your first time meeting up with your client, consider going somewhere more formal. Not everyone thinks discussing business over dinner is relaxing, so it's best to gauge your client's temperament before considering this option.
Some museums have meeting rooms that you can rent for a day or a few hours, depending on your needs, along with free WiFi. Even if this is your first time meeting up with your client, everyone can appreciate art. Plus, it's also a good icebreaker and conversation starter.
Some museums, including botanical gardens, have cafes that can be used as a meeting point. If there is a free museum that isn't overcrowded and I know my meeting can be somewhat informal, I like to meet there. It's a nice break from work and most clients really enjoy the change of scenery.
Hotels are starting to adapt to the remote worker lifestyle, making it easier to conduct business. You don't necessarily have to be a guest at the hotel either. Many are coming with plenty on the ground floor, along with a coffee shop and sometimes even a restaurant that is open to the public.
If you need a hotel conference room, you may be able to rent one out for a few hours. These vary so my best advice is to call around and check to see what is available to guests and non-guests alike. You may be offered a special rate, just for inquiring.
Libraries are great resources in many ways. Whether they are located at a university or are simply community libraries, there are usually plenty to find in convenient locations. Granted, you will have to conduct business with consideration of others but if you can call ahead and rent out a meeting room, you may find the library to be the perfect environment for boosting confidence.
An alternative to a library that you may want to consider is a bookshop.
An alternative to hotel conference rooms, co-working spaces has risen in popularity over the last few years. You can rent a co-working space meeting room for a couple of hours to a week. You can even use whatever office supplies they have while you're there.
The best part is that you don't always need a membership to get access to these savvy spaces and free WiFi. You and your client might even get a chance to network with different people from a wide variety of industries while you're there. Cities mostly have the same types of places that you can go to meet with your client when you're hosting the meeting.
Overall, the best place to meet depends on what you are presenting and who you are presenting to. I've had meetings in bars, on the back of boats, and even in an airport lounge in between flights. I've found that each place offers something, as long as you make it work. While they may be unconventional, they can definitely be memorable.