Best place in the US to hold a one-day business meeting?
June 3, 2014 12:20 PM   Subscribe

I need to organize a one-day business meeting for 17 academics who would be flying in from all over the US. We need a conference room and a decent hotel. Where is the best place to hold such a meeting?

We need a place that is easy and inexpensive to fly into (so maybe Chicago? Houston? others?) and has a decent and not too expensive place to stay and hold the meeting. The alternative is to fly everyone to NYC, house them here for a night, and have our meeting here, but there HAS to be a better (read: cheaper) way.

Any recommendations for places (or places to avoid) much appreciated.
posted by agent99 to Work & Money (34 answers total)
What time of year?
posted by mercredi at 12:26 PM on June 3, 2014

A lot of things like this seem to happen in the Chicago suburbs near O'Hare. Rosemont in particular has a lot of hotels set up for just this sort of meeting.
posted by Fiery Jack at 12:34 PM on June 3, 2014 [3 favorites]

Does 'decent hotel' mean, like, airport Ramada, or does it mean, like, Four Seasons?

Is it important that your destination city has nice weather, good restaurants, appealing nightlife, lots of museums, any of that kind of stuff?
posted by box at 12:36 PM on June 3, 2014

Chicago and Atlanta are major airport hubs.
Denver is another alternative (United hub).
posted by elmay at 12:36 PM on June 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Atlanta is decently centrally located, and there are tons of mid-level hotels around Hartsfield that should be able to handle 17 people quite handily. Even a lower level hotel like a Homewood Suites or a Hampton Inn could accomodate. If it's near the airport, most hotels will have a free shuttle, which can be a money saver.

I can personally recommend the Westin Buckhead, which can be reached by getting off MARTA at the Lenox Mall stop. We did a very large meeting there (300 people) and they did a splendid job!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:37 PM on June 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

You are going to have to put people up no matter what. You can't get people from the West Coast to even the Midwest day-of. Like a 7 AM flight won't get you to ORD/IAH/DFW until early afternoon.

If you wanted to be horrible you could do this on the west coast, fly people out of the east coast very early in the AM and have them land at SFO or LAX around 9-9:30AM and then red eye them home that night. But unless there was something in it for me I'd say nope to that meeting for sure.
posted by JPD at 12:40 PM on June 3, 2014 [7 favorites]

Lots of companies choose Las Vegas because of the abundance of flights, hotel rooms and meeting rooms. There's also a lower instance of the kinds of weather that delays flights, at least on the Vegas end.
posted by BlahLaLa at 12:47 PM on June 3, 2014 [7 favorites]

Orlando. There are more hotels in Orlando than any other city.
There are decent airfare prices to Orlando MCO airport from all over the country.
posted by Flood at 12:48 PM on June 3, 2014

I've been to many of these meetings in Dallas. Easy to get to and about equidistant for everyone.
posted by cecic at 12:49 PM on June 3, 2014

Thanks everyone, a few clarifications:

Yes, we are expecting to put people up for a night.
Nicer than Ramada less nice than Four Seasons is what we need (in the Hyatt/Mariott/Sheraton range).
Any time of year.
Nightlife, museums, etc. not important--nice to have, I guess, but not a requirement.
posted by agent99 at 12:51 PM on June 3, 2014

Chicago or Dallas is about the most in the middle you can get with a major hub, and most flights should be 2-4 hours. Both cities have hotels in the class you desire with good meeting facilities on or immediately adjacent to the airport property.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:53 PM on June 3, 2014

Blahlala has convinced me. I'm thinking Las Vegas, now.

Hotels are very inexpensive compared to other cities.

The airport is about 2 miles to the hotels on the south part of the strip.

Abundant meeting rooms no matter where you choose to stay.

Good options for meals without a whole lot of fuss.

MGM is pretty good for meetings. We just used them for a big user conference and they were great.

Flights to Vegas are universally cheap. No one can complain that there's nothing to do there.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:55 PM on June 3, 2014 [5 favorites]

My first thought was Las Vegas, as well. This is pretty much a big part of what Vegas is set up for.
posted by trip and a half at 1:06 PM on June 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Denver is a hub but I can't recommend it; the airport is a long ways from downtown, and though there are some hotels clustered around the airport, they aren't near anything else.

Seconding Vegas or, failing that, Chicago.
posted by craven_morhead at 1:18 PM on June 3, 2014

Chicago, Vegas, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta.

Definitely not NYC.
posted by dfriedman at 1:19 PM on June 3, 2014

I'm starting to like this Vegas idea. Anyone have experience with a particular hotel for a meeting this size?
posted by agent99 at 1:28 PM on June 3, 2014

17 people total? Any hotel can handle it easily, but I can recommend the MGM Grand specifically. Bonus, it's the furthest south on the strip so very easy to get to from the airport. It's also connected to other properties by the Monorail.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:33 PM on June 3, 2014

Here's the page, they have special packages for small groups.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:35 PM on June 3, 2014

I do this twice a year at the Embassy Suites in Rosemount (near the Chicago O'Hare airport) and it works fine. The Hilton (at the airport) saves a shuttle bus ride, but is more expensive.
posted by JMOZ at 1:41 PM on June 3, 2014

I've held meetings at the Four Seasons in Las Vegas. It's on the strip, but no casino. Excellent business services which are competitively priced relative to other luxury hotels. Since there are so many hotels in Vegas, I think this one prices out meeting space a bit lower than other 4S locations. The catering for meetings is also quite good.

People forget about the Four Seasons, but it's a nice property and an oasis of sanity in the middle of Las Vegas.
posted by 26.2 at 2:01 PM on June 3, 2014 [6 favorites]

IIRC Four Seasons in Vegas is a few floors in the Mandalay Bay building, so you'd have the casino there along with a monorail connection to Luxor and Excalibur.

From past meeting planning experience you should see if you can arrange a block of rooms for the participants. you might be able to get a discounted rate, it makes reservations easier, and you may even be able to get the meeting room comped (esp. if you include lunch).
posted by InfidelZombie at 2:28 PM on June 3, 2014

Atlanta is decently centrally located

Hm. Flights into Atlanta can be completely screwed at shortish notice if a thunderstorm moves in, which it does oftentimes in the summer, and since it's such a busy hub, the knock-on is also pretty awful.

This is more or less what Vegas is for: cheapish flights, cheapish hotels. Alternatives: Dallas, Chicago. I would have said Denver for geographical location, but craven_morhead's right about the airport being out on a limb.
posted by holgate at 4:07 PM on June 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Chicago and Atlanta are a bit far for west coasters, and Vegas is a bit far for east coasters, so I think Denver is a good choice geographically. The Marriott is near the airport.
posted by Dansaman at 4:22 PM on June 3, 2014

I think Las Vegas is fun, but I'll throw my hat for Houston, Houston - as the old Dean Martin song goes, because it will be right in the middle of the country. We threw a three day family celebration here a year ago, and I can pass along the tourist stuff I made for extended family, friends, if you want it - just memail me (that goes for anyone else who needs help pulling something like this together in Houston). We had people fly in with no problem from the East and West Coasts.

SpringHill Suites Houston Intercontinental Airport at 15840 John F Kennedy Boulevard Houston Texas 77032 is right next to Bush airport and very highly rated. You'll want to drive south or north to find a really awesome meal, though.

If everyone can get there using Southwest, you might consider Houston's Hobby Airport, which is smaller and nicer than IAH, and usually offers cheaper flights. The Days Inn near Hobby is pretty nice and had such good reviews I was willing to put my mother in law there for the night (and not just because the alternative was keeping her at my house). I don't know if they have a meeting room, but I am sure the Four Points Sheraton, Comfort Suites Hobby, or Drury Inn Hobby would be fine - they all have good reviews.

This area is much closer to NASA and the Clear Lake area (the JSC museum would be an easy outing; Galveston beach is less than an hour away), and many great group choices for food. You're also close to one of the coolest, most different museums in the nation: the 1940 Air Terminal Museum, a classic Art Deco air terminal made of marble. They still have the seat Bogie waited for his flight in. And yes they have a meeting space that's terrific: we used it.
posted by mitschlag at 4:37 PM on June 3, 2014

Denver's airport location does really shoot it out of the water for a one day meeting. If everyone was coming in on the same flight, then you could do a shuttle. As it stands, it's a $60 dollar car fare to downtown. You could also rent a car for two days, but with gas and parking it would be about the same. Plus, lots of flights to Denver are on United (ugh!). I like Denver, but I never have meetings there if I can avoid it.

Las Vegas or Dallas would be my choices.
posted by 26.2 at 4:45 PM on June 3, 2014

How soon is your meeting? DIA (Denver's airport) is currently building an on-site hotel as well as lightrail to the city, but they won't be done until next year (hotel) and the year after (rail).
posted by nat at 4:52 PM on June 3, 2014

Hotel near the Vegas airport.


Cheap flights, cheap hotels. Relatively central.
posted by ewiar at 5:16 PM on June 3, 2014

I would NOT do Las Vegas (or Houston or Atlanta for that matter) in the summer.
posted by megatherium at 6:35 PM on June 3, 2014 [3 favorites]

Weather's nice in the Pacific Northwest this time of year.
posted by oceanjesse at 6:58 PM on June 3, 2014

Chicago or Vegas.
posted by zug at 7:07 PM on June 3, 2014

Nashville - Opryland Hotel!
posted by dawkins_7 at 7:45 PM on June 3, 2014

I live in Denver. My girlfriend's company regularly flies folks in for one day meetings which they hold at the airport Embassy Suites. There certainly isn't any entertainment or anything out there but people don't have to come in to downtown. Denver has to be the largest most centrally located airport.
posted by fieldtrip at 8:29 PM on June 3, 2014

I would NOT do Las Vegas (or Houston or Atlanta for that matter) in the summer.

I would, because the hotels will be a LOT cheaper. For that matter, there are AMAZING deals on resorts in Arizona. Because it's 113 out there.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:19 AM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yep, cheap deals are available, not to mention plenty to do. It's hot when Dragon*Con happens in Atlanta, but you think that stops people from showing up?
posted by mitschlag at 10:33 AM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

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