They’re no longer typical hotel meeting rooms. The New York Times reported that a group of hotel chains have taken steps to change the look of their meeting rooms into spaces that actually resemble lounges.
The reason for this is the Internet — whereas attendees previously went to meetings to get information that they couldn’t get otherwise, they can now access material online. In turn, meetings take on a new role for on-site networking and social gatherings, the Times said. Examples include recently renovated meeting rooms at the Westin New York at Times Square, which feature bookshelves, conversational seating areas and a permanent bar and food area. A new meeting room at the Grand Hyatt New York has wood and stone floors, leather furniture and counter spaces conducive to conversation.
But the trend is also taking hold outside New York. For instance, the soon-to-open conference center at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess in Arizona will have areas with walls that open up directly to the outside for an open-air feel. Even the FG Royal Hotel in Riga, Latvia has a corporate meeting space with leather sofas and a fireplace inside. [NYT]