How to compare meeting venues
Is there a meeting venue rating system?
If you are looking for a one stop shop to compare meeting space using a meeting venue rating system you are going to be disappointed. There is no universally acknowledged system of rating meeting rooms. If it is a hotel meeting room, you can get an insight using the below suggestions. Even then it is an overview, rather than a focus on a venue’s aptitude for hosting a successful meeting.
Attempts to try and bring hotel ratings together for international recognition have largely failed. Systems widely recognised in the UK can mean little to those from the US and Asia and vice versa. The ranking detail can get very blurred and trivial. The India system demands a 5 star hotel has three bathroom hooks. Whilst Dubai has confused things further with a 7 star rating, that is more a marketing ploy than an inspector’s award.
Having accepted this lack of uniformity you need to take each location in isolation…
UK Hotel Ratings
In the UK there are independent tourist board’s ratings, but the most widely used hotel rating system is the AA grading system. The AA ratings separate accommodation by hotels, guest houses and self-catering accommodation. From a range of one to five stars, the AA awards are achieved through a points system, conducted by a trained inspector. It is based on the level of service, furnishings and facilities available.
The AA also awards a Merit % score, indicating the level of quality achieved within the star rating. This is useful for hotels which may not offer the same number of facilities as another. Such as a country house hotel that does not have 24 hour room service, so it has a lower star rating, but can score highly on certain aspects of its inspection e.g. quality of decor.
Further awards are given if they are outstanding, and if the food is of a particularly good level there is a Rosette award.
USA Hotel Ratings
The States favours the AAA and Forbes Travel Guides. Forbes ranks hotels internationally, not just within the US, though it is a bit patchy. They are renowned for being picky and hard to please. It only rates seven hotels in London with 5 stars, whereas the AA Hotel Guide rates around 20+ with 5 stars.
On Line User Ratings
The Big Daddy of the reviewers is TripAdvisor, which claims it has 150,000,000 reviews. Undoubtedly this is of value, with ratings based on averaging each individual’s opinion. You can pretty much see a pattern to sort out the pedantic from the genuine reviews. You can also spot if there is a trend for poor service or if the hotel was just having a bad day. What’s more, for corporate users, you can drill down with a “Business” category filter, which is the closet you will get to a meeting venue rating system. The biggest plus point is it has reviews of virtually every hotel you’re likely to visit, with in-depth comments and comparative ratings from 1 to 5.
Of course there are more review ratings on Expedia, Booking.com and the like, but what is lacking is a rating system for corporate events. Venue agencies can help, as we can pass on experience from clients that have used them, as well as having our ear to ground on industry news and gossip, which tends to flag up when there are alarm bells about a meeting venue. Whilst I haven’t got the solution, but there is certainly as case for having a meeting venue rating system, it is just needs a whizz kid to work out how it can be done and be universally recognised.