Focus Group suites – the place to hold the next off-site meeting, training session or seminar

Well, you'll have a training session all day, and you need a place to meet. So call the local hotel and explain that you need a room for the day.

In the morning, you want some Danish coffee and fruit. In the afternoon, you love sandwiches and cold drinks. Maybe some snacks in the middle of the afternoon.

You need an audio and video recording session. Perhaps it can be moved to a nearby room, where observers can see and hear the actions in real time.

Then there is the operating equipment needed to show your materials.

Finally, a host or hostess is available all day if there are any other needs.

Now for the over-swimming pool: how long will it take medics to revive the hotel salesperson from a dead faint? Because, as we all know, what I have just described has the potential to send hotel staff into an advanced stroke.

But don't despair. There is a place where the staff will not give up any of these requests; a place, instead of the promise to "return to you" after consulting half of the hotel staff, you will get a smile and the words "no problem". I'm talking about a focus group group: the next generation training room.

As most people know, focus groups are informal panel discussions that take place among a number of people (usually 8 to 10, but can range much higher). Typical focus group facilities can hold three to five such discussions simultaneously. But some are bigger. Most importantly, focus group facilities are ideal for training sessions. (Full disclosure time: I am the president and co-owner of the National Quality Centers (NQC), an eight-wing focus group facility in downtown Chicago.

Let's see why, by comparing the hotel's potential with the focus group's capabilities:

the room: The hotel's meeting room is a public space. This is because the hotel never knows what to use. Today, it's your training session, but tomorrow it will have a seafood buffet. The next day is a wedding. etc.

By contrast, our focus group suites are dedicated meeting rooms. Need 10 to 12 people sitting at a table? Or maybe a larger room for 50 to 60 people sitting in hall style? That's what you get. Not because it hurriedly can be grouped together somehow, but because that's what it is.

Food & Beverages: Ordering food at the hotel means that it is limited only to what the hotel serves. And, those prices!

But the focus group facility has no such restrictions. Whatever food you want, from wherever you prefer, it is always available at very low prices.

To research this article, I contacted the brand-name hotel within several blocks of our office and asked about the cost of catering for 15 people. The prices were amazing. A continental breakfast? $ 32 per head. Sandwiches and salads for lunch? $ 43 per head. Soft drinks? $ 6. Focus group facilities charge about half that amount, and the food will be at least good, usually better.

My favorite example is coffee. Hotels sell coffee in gallons. After checking out five different hotels in downtown Chicago, the average price for that gallon of coffee is around $ 70. That up to almost $ 1 an ounce. Isn't that unreasonable? Gas, at its highest, cost us a little more than $ 4 a gallon, but hotel coffee increases $ 95 + 22%: a total of $ 116!

Audio and Video: The reason that these services are expensive in a hotel is that the equipment is not permanently installed. The audio / video person must determine the number of microphones required, put a mixer and recorder, then put a few miles of cables covered with duct tape, if you're lucky, you won't be lucky. Journey in. In addition, if you are videotaped, the camera operator in the room will be with you as an additional distraction.

But in a focus group, the audio and video capabilities are similar, such as setting the room in place permanently. All we need is a reflection of the key. And equipment? Unlike bikes, they are not in the room at all. Not even the camera, which usually operates from a ceiling-mounted position in the adjacent bidirectional control room.

Two-way observation: If you are in a hotel and want your employees, customers or others to monitor the session, you have two options. You can put them in the same training room. Or you can rent an adjoining meeting room and set up a closed-circuit bus there, by renting an additional monitor that connects to the training room a few more miles of cable and duct tape. the cost? Just below the king's ransom.

But all of our focus group suites have an adjacent control room with a mirror and a two-way audio system. Observers sit comfortably, see and hear the procedures, while the participants in the course do not exist. No extra room rental, no extra charge.

Most importantly, each room provides Wi-Fi monitoring as part of the standard service. (The hotel I called wanted $ 500 to provide Wi-Fi for ten people.)

Video Conferencing: Try that you probably will almost never be able to find a hotel meeting room with this service. If he is in the hotel at all, it will be in the business center, not where you meet. It will cost arm, leg and other miscellaneous body parts. By contrast, NQC has the ability to trade live video in your meeting room at significantly lower prices.

Help Services: I mean printers, disc burning capabilities, etc. At the hotel, they are located in the business center, which may or may not be near where you conduct your session. In a concentrated group facility, you are close to you and easily accessible.

Hosting Services: No hotel will, of course, offer on-demand hosting services – anyone in the immediate vicinity can take care of any needs you have during the session. You can ask for one but expect to drive through the nose. Focus Group facilities provide hosting services throughout your session at no additional charge. In my facility, we offer continuous hosting services to all of our meeting rooms as part of our core service.

There is still a lot to say about the benefits of using a focus group on the hotel's meeting room, but I think I've covered the key areas. Next time you have any kind of meeting in downtown Chicago, I urge you to contact you won't regret it.

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