September 01, 2017

Current research shows that employees spend about a third of their time in meetings. With that in mind, meeting spaces are trending toward more attendee-friendly. Here are some trends in meeting space design and functionality on the boardroom level as well as for convention centers.

Let the sun shine in. Where possible, venues are incorporating natural elements into meeting and work spaces. Sunlight is key of course, but so are lots of windows and wood furniture rather than plastic. Lights play a large role in people's moods. Experts agree that warm white light from diffused LED bulbs and natural light from large windows are best for boosting mood and energy. Some venues make good use of potted plants as studies have found they relieve stress and improve attention spans!

Add color. Color not only affects mood, it can inspire colorful ideas and creativity. For example, a venue that's orange can help attendees feel energy and warmth. Red inspires strength and power. Meeting spaces are increasingly adding color, even if only highlights, to liven up areas. Venues are paying much more attention to décor that's original and unique - it's an economical way to set a positive tone for events.

Streamline the technology. Cable clutter is a thing of the past. Tables and furnishings now come with built-in power adapters, multi-media capabilities and wireless charging options. Venues are adding convenience and functionality to the space while removing the clutter. Streamlined, organized environments lead to streamlined, organized thinking.

Added flexibility. Less rigidity is on the rise. Meetings are taking on different characteristics (stand-ups, sit-downs, etc.) so the venue has to adapt. For example, tables that can be adjusted for height and width allow more (or fewer) folks to gather around it and allow the layout of a room to be changed throughout the day. One example of a hotel that's well aware of the need for flexibility and innovation is Gaylord National, in National Harbor, MD. "Gaylord National is constantly exploring and pushing the boundaries of what is possible in meetings and guest engagement," says Doug Ridge, general manager for the resort. 

Tech advances. Meeting room displays and the majority of the event communication are digital. This makes communication more efficient and has a positive effect on environmental impact, but it also boosts the overall productivity of the meeting. Often the displays employ the theme or design of the event.

Top photo:  Gaylord Hotel's Riverview Ballroom allows plenty of sunlight, much to the benefit of attendees.

For a glimpse at what next-level meetings look like at Gaylord National, click here.