Shake-Up in the Boardroom

Just over one year ago, NY Times columnist Ben Stein wrote an article titled “Don’t Blame the Business Trip.”  The article followed on the heels of some disparaging remarks from President Obama about business travel.  Stein’s argument was that only the most productive employees of any company use hotels for business. 

Now, this Wall Street Journal article takes a slightly different perspective on business meetings, highlighting examples of companies that have cleverly opted to hold their more regular meetings in other local companies’ boardrooms, instead of their own dreary meeting rooms or nearby hotels’ more expensive spaces. 

The idea is novel, and it makes a lot of sense.  Being in a new space, away from the familiar distractions, often does spark both creativity and productivity.  The line of reasoning is really quite similar to the line of reasoning for using hotels for meetings; the difference, of course, is the cost. 

My first thought, when I read this article, was to wonder whether trading boardrooms will become a common practice that will impact hotel day meeting business, or whether it is merely anecdotal and not a threat at all.  My hunch is the latter, but it would not hurt hotels to be on guard and to perhaps even test out the practice for themselves.  After all, what better way to shake-up your monthly banquet meeting than to enjoy a neighboring hotel’s banquet space, then allow them to do the same at yours?  As the WSJ article pointed out, team members on both sides may walk away with a few fresh, innovative ideas.

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