Fed up with boring, beige and bland? Try these venues from the Sharing Economy

We are witnessing on a daily basis how rapidly and comprehensively Airbnb and Uber are changing the meetings industry. For instance, at the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona this year, organisers estimate that as many as 30% of the 100,000 attendees stayed at Airbnb or similar non-hotel solutions.

But has the so called sharing or collaborative economy impacted yet on venues? Can you book meeting or event space outside of traditional locations such as hotels, convention centres, purpose-built event facilities or civic buildings?

And, of course, the answer is a resounding yes. There are already multiple online platforms such as Spacebase, MeetingsBooker and MeetingRooms that include non-traditional venues amongst their extensive inventory. And amongst this interesting inventory are exciting locations, spaces and rooms located in places not usually or generally associated with meetings and events. Here are some of the more unusual ones.

Fed up with boring, beige and bland?  Try these venues from the Sharing Economy

London Post-Production, UK

Located at the elite and elegant heart of Fitzrovia, London Post Production does post-production for video and film in a “relaxed, friendly and collaborative atmosphere”. So friendly, relaxed and collaborative, in fact, that they rent out their spanking new meeting room, complete with bar, to outside guests. So next time you want to impress a client or pose as a movie mogul why not give the guys at London Post Production a call? [Recommended by Meetingrooms.com]

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Tobacco Theater, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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Photo Credit: Tobacco Theater

Situated smack-bang in the city centre in Amsterdam, Tobacco is an old factory now re-imagined as a contemporary events and meetings venue. It’s a perfect hipster haven with exposed steel and bare walls and huge voluminous spaces, extending to 200 square metres. Contemporary lighting rigs have been installed to bring out the intrinsic raw beauty of the space. Great for disruptive meeting and events. [Recommended by Meetingsbooker.com]

Club Quarters, Chicago, USA

Club Quarters is a private members’ hotel chain located at 17 key business locations around the world. Each property also has meetings and events space and the Chicago property is offering its “excess” inventory for hire via the Meetingsbooker platform. Here you’re getting access to space normally reserved exclusively for members so when you’re meeting is “ultra-private” you might like to try this elite meeting haven, located right inside The Loop.

Flexible Workshop Space, Berlin, Germany

On the corner of Oranienburger Straße and Friedrichstrasse in Berlin you’ll find one of the many venue-spaces available to rent through sharing economy enthusiasts, Spacebase. Founded by a former corporate executive who could never find inspiring venues for his in-house meeting, this site’s stated mission is to “make your meetings better and change the way you meet”. All Spacebase spaces come with projector, flipchart, tables, chairs and coffee. With such unusual and genuinely inspiring spaces, what more could you want? [recommended by Spacebase.com]

“Secret Rooms”, Exchange Coffee Co, Blackburn, UK

For many home office workers, Starbucks is their unofficial board room or meeting venue. You can make that “official” at the Exchange Coffee Co in Blackburn by renting out the “secret room”. This antique befitted space can take up to 20 people with refreshments supplied easily and on demand from the coffee shop next door. Your only interruptions will come, apparently, from the grandfather clock that strikes faithfully every hour [recommended by MeetingRooms.com]

Bateaux Dubai, Dubai Creek, Dubai

By day a tourist activity and by night a dinner cruise, Bateaux Dubai is also available as a venue for meetings and events through the MeetingsBooker platform. It’s a stunning facility that can host a formal meeting of up to 100 theatre style or a casual get-together or party for 300. How cool would it be to hold your next sales meeting aboard one of the Bateaux Dubai fleet as you cruise along Dubai Creek surrounded by the forest of steel and glass that constitutes Dubai? [Recommended by MeetingBooker.com]

Corporate Playground, Vienna, Austria

Another truly inspiring venue from Spacebase, this space is enormous, extending to 220 square metres – the size of 5 studio apartments! Set out in different zones, there are areas for lectures and workshops and spaces for relaxing, chilling and eating with all zones easily re-configurable. There’s a definite creative vibe about this location with mismatched furniture and contemporary art on the wall but everything you’ll need for an effective meeting is here including interactive table, apple TV, projectors etc. [Recommended by SpaceBase.com]

The Rooms at Brown’s, Covent Garden, London, UK

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Photo Credit: Brown’s

Close to Covent Garden in London you’ll find Brown’s, once the Westminster County Court but now splendidly bedecked as a two floor event suite with capacities up to 150 delegates. The central location makes Brown’s a convenient choice for London based events but the period façade and interiors add a different type of value, bringing a palpable sense of history and drama to proceedings. [Recommended by MeetingBooker.com]

Banquet Hall (aka Tagansky Bunker), Moscow, Russia

Besides the hilarious spoof hires on the Spacebase site (the Bat Cave, Hogwarts etc), the most bizarre available venue has got to be the Banquet Hall in Moscow. What’s strange about a banquet hall, you ask? Built in the early years of the Cold War, this hall was actually a top-secret bunker, once designated as command central in the Soviet Union in the event of a nuclear war. It’s sumptuously decorated and can comfortably accommodate 200 for a banquet. It comes complete with stage, AV and lighting. [Recommended by SpaceBase.com]

1969 Airstream Land Yacht, Dublin, Ireland

Offered by the recently launched sharing economy site, Fillit, this is a massively cool facility around which you can create an amazing event. An American iconic classic, Airstream Caravans were built from the aluminium cut-offs from airplane manufacturing. This one has been tricked out magnificently to include a 5m cocktail bar and contemporary sound system. An inside plush seating area has VIP written all over it. This retro Airstream Land Yacht would make a great party centerpiece. [Recommended by Fillit.ie]

Blue Jean Studio, New York, USA

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Photo Credit: Blue Jean Studio

Finally, from Meetingsbooker, how about your own loft style venue in Manhattan? Marketed as the perfect location for a video or movie shoot, Blue Jean Studio offers versatility, flexibility and daylight in a central New York location. Photographers and movie makes will drool at the extent of the equipment available in-house and event organisers will love the cool vibe, the “empty white canvas” on which they can paint the perfect event. [Recommended by Meetingsbooker.com]

In Conclusion

Airbnb and Uber have created a seamless and secure conduit between the free time and space we have with our vehicles and homes and a corresponding marketplace demand for rides and accommodation. Now the same sharing economy principles are allowing platforms like Meetingsbooker and Spacebase connect free spaces in buildings, offices, gardens, boats and other random locations with a marketplace seeking new locations for meetings and events.

About The Author
Padraic Gilligan
Padraic Gilligan is Managing Partner at SoolNua Marketing, a boutique consultancy offering marketing, training and strategy for MICE for destinations, venues and hotels. He blogs weekly on destinations and matters of interest to the Meetings Industry at Padraicino
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Julius Solaris
Editor, Julius Solaris

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