THE PRO’S AND CONS OF UTILISING GUEST HOUSES vs HOTELS FOR CONFERENCES AND MEETINGS

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I am sure that readers will have some valuable input here … discussing the pro’s and cons of Guest Houses and B & B’s versus Hotels and Conference Centres for conferences, meetings and Bos Beraads … We invite you to join a discussion.

Depending on the nature of the conference … i.e. if it is designed to be light-hearted without strict boundaries or schedules, a Guest House or B & B is ideal because they might impart an energy of quiet, relaxation and peace without bounds … bearing in mind that usually Guest Houses or B & B’s do not have a dedicated conference venue (while there are those who do) and they utilise their dining area for this purpose. Therefore, the day’s business can only realistically commence after breakfast has been cleared, at around 9.30 or 10 a.m. However, you would have the rest of the day to yourselves in this space as this is generally the only meal these personal and private venues prepare.

Personal attention is definitely assured in a Guest House or B & B, yours being likely to be the only event taking place on the day, hence you will have exclusivity with no distractions … unless the venue has grown into a large Guest House as some have offering more than one venue … ideally they should be re-named Boutique Hotels or Lodges wouldn’t you say? You are also likely to have home-baked cookies for tea and a lovingly prepared home cooked lunch … and ‘the lady or lord of the manor’ will even attend to your laundry with prior arrangements in most.

Hotels and Conference Centres on the other hand, are specifically, purpose-built with conference in mind and have all the staff required to attend to all the tiny details. They will be well equipped with state-of-the-art conference equipment and teas and meals will be served in designated areas, or in their main restaurant, or they might offer you a finger lunch inside the venue as a working lunch, if time does not permit a lengthy break in the day. They can certainly be more flexible as they have the means to be so.

Hotels of course are most suitable where numbers are high and accommodation is required for all delegates, whereas a guest house or B & B in general is only ideal for the smaller events. Hotels will likely also have their own shuttle service for collections from the airport.

Room service will be an attraction in hotels as 4 and 5 star hotels usually offer 24 hour room service if delegates do not wish to dine in the restaurant on site or call for a snack or a drink late at night.

Hotel rooms are nearly always equipped with wall safes for your valuables; some offer self-catering facilities such as microwaves and fridges and are stocked with all required crockery. Many hotels will offer either self catering rates or Bed and Breakfast, or dinner, bed and breakfast while others do not offer self catering at all.

Depending on where you are, many hotels will offer business lounges with up-to-date internet facilities, and team building space, an additional venue for your gala event, private dinner or Break Away room and of course, the favourite meeting place at the end of the day ‘the Pub’.

There are those who prefer the home-from-home ambience of a Guest House or Bed and Breakfast which is certainly an attraction, while there are those who prefer the formal surroundings and the kind of service only a hotel can offer.

B & B rates are always more affordable while hotels, being in the position of being able to offer full service, will be more expensive.

I guess it depends entirely on the event … the schedule you are working to … the area you are in .. and most importantly, your own comfort and choice!!

Any comments?

Author : Rosalie Howard Venue Pages

The Venue Pages provides the largest single free database of conference venues in South Africa.,  Click here to access the full database.

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