Guide to Planning a Corporate Meeting on Long Island

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Business meetings can cover almost any topic and can be as quick as a few minutes or as lengthy as several days. It can be as fancy as a business retreat where you book a location further from home, or as straightforward as a conference room at a hotel. Whatever the reason behind your business meeting, we want to help you find a good location where you and your colleagues will feel comfortable so that your thoughts can flow:

  • Is there a specific geographic area you would like to restrict your search to?
  • Knowing what region you do or don't want your meeting to be located in can easily help rule out several hundred catering halls. Of course the more specific your desired geographic area, the fewer options you have to work with. This fact may be very welcome to some overwhelmed party planners, but may seem frustrating to others who look forward to being given a variety of catering hall options. A good compromise is to first limit your geographic area to a very specific area. If you are not pleased with the choices of catering halls in that region, then slowly expand your search to the surrounding areas until you are happy with the number of choices being offered, as well as with the distance. Perhaps your decision has already been made for you if you would like to keep the corporate meeting in the same neighborhood as your company's headquarters. Be sure to survey the organization members to see how they will be traveling to the meeting. If some/most members will be depending on public transportation, then you should focus on catering halls located near public transportation. Or, depending on the nature of the meeting, you may want to schedule a business retreat meeting where you book a location at a visually appealing spot (think the Hamptons?!) so that you and your colleagues can focus on brainstorming and not so much about the boring conference table.

  • Is there a specific type of catering hall (i.e. hotel, vineyard, restaurant, etc.) you would like to restrict your search to?
  • Limiting your catering hall search to the type of catering hall is another way to quickly narrow down your top choices. Knowing exactly the type of catering hall you would like to use can help organize your event quickly and efficiently. However, being flexible with the type of catering hall you choose can often result in a unique event that impresses all of your guests, including yourself! Of course the type of hall you end up choosing will rely largely in part to how formal or informal you would like your meeting to be and the overall corporate climate of your workplace. For example, if you are looking for a space for a two-day brainstorming session, then perhaps a comfortable room overlooking the ocean could really help ideas start to flow. On the other hand, if you are looking for a straightforward area that you can hold a routine meeting at, perhaps a hotel conference room would better suit your needs.

  • What is the date of your corporate meeting?
  • This may be an obvious "to do", but it is nevertheless an important factor in selecting the perfect catering hall for your meeting function. Just like selecting airline tickets, the more flexible you are the more likely it is to get better rates, options and availability. Since this meeting is business-oriented, your job as the planner is to ensure that the maximum number - if not all - of the involved staff are able to attend the meeting. Planning well in advance in order to set your meeting date in stone is of utmost importance. Of course, it also needs to be at a time that does not conflict with other major work events/meetings.

  • How formal an affair do you want your meeting to be?
  • As mentioned before, the level of formality of your meeting can help you to select an appropriate type of hall if given the choice. It doesn't necessarily equate to the level of pricing of the catering hall. If you were hoping for a more laid back affair, then perhaps a formal hotel ballroom isn't the perfect catering hall for you, despite the large number of people it can hold. An outdoor location may be ideal for your meeting function, depending on the weather.

  • Is there a specific theme you would like to portray?
  • Although it sounds rather odd for a business meeting, selecting a theme could really enhance the overall morale of your staff. For example, perhaps you are arranging a meeting regarding a local university's involvement with a business affair. Then it might make a nice statement to host the meeting at the said university.

  • How many people will you be hosting at the meeting?
  • The number of anticipated guests will undoubtedly help limit your catering hall choices, especially if it's a large number. This is true in terms amount of space and the pricing per plate of food (if applicable). Depending on your budget, this could be the determining factor of where your event should be located at.

  • Will you be requiring onsite food catering?
  • Most of the catering halls we showcase on our website include food catering. However, some do not and will require additional cost and planning in order to provide quality food for your guests. Additionally, if the catering hall of your wishes allows onsite food catering, but not the type of food that you wish to feature, then you may be able to work out a deal with the catering hall's management in order to bring in the type of food you would like to feature, such as boxed lunches so that you could have a "working lunch".

  • How much do you expect to spend per plate?
  • As mentioned earlier, where your meeting is located will largely - if not completely - depend upon how much you are able and/or willing to spend per plate. If you are especially interested in a specific catering hall, but the cost per plate is higher than you were expecting, you may need to rethink that catering hall, especially since you won't be able to cut down on the number of people you need to invite to the meeting. Another option may be to simply offer drinks and appetizers rather than a sit down meal, or even no food at all depending on the length of the meeting as well as the nature of it.

  • Will you be requiring a Kosher, Vegetarian or Vegan menus?
  • Many catering halls do offer Kosher, Vegetarian or Vegan menus. Be sure to survey the members of your organization beforehand to see if anyone has any dietary restrictions. If there are, make sure your catering hall choice has this option.

  • Will you be requiring any special equipment (a/v, dry-erase board, overhead projector, etc.) for your meeting?
  • Most catering halls (especially those with designated "conference" rooms) do supply special equipment upon request. However, in order to ensure that your meeting runs smoothly, be sure to inquire about this. Some of the catering halls featured on this site do offer special equipment, but for an additional cost. Be sure to include this in your budget if this is the case for you.

  • Would you prefer a location with attached or nearby accommodations for out of town guests?
  • If your answer to this question is yes, then you should highly consider hotels as your choice of catering hall. However, pay special attention to non hotel catering halls that are in close proximity to other hotel accommodations. Most halls should have this information ready at hand. Another option to consider is to provide transportation services for your out of town colleagues who need a ride to the meeting site.

  • Will you be requiring a party planner?
  • If you book your organizational/association meeting at a catering hall, chances are you will be provided with an in-house party planner that can help ensure that your event goes smoothly. If you are not provided with one, but you are still interested in having a party planner, keep in mind that Long Island party planners have a wide range of rates, involvement and expertise. The catering hall of your choice could also assist you in finding a party planner who has been involved with past events at that location. There are also meeting moderators for hire in the Long Island area.

  • Would simultaneous events at your location be acceptable?
  • This is an important, yet often overlooked, factor to keep in mind when booking your corporate meeting. This holds especially true for business-oriented meetings that are held on weekend evenings. Neighboring events could distract from a calm and civil meeting. On the other hand, catering halls that offer simultaneous events could help keep your costs low. In any case, as the party planner, you should be aware as to what types of events may be going on simultaneously to ensure that your meeting guests are comfortable.

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