Hotels and other conference facilities provide room dimensions and the maximum number of people who can fit into a meeting room space. The first step in selecting meeting room space is to understand the most popular meeting space floor plans. To be sure, keep in mind that "maximum" number of individuals are usually noted for that space, and the calculations do not consider other room setup requirements, such as banquet stations, staging or A/V, which take away from the overall space.
1. Classroom Floor Plan
Courtesy of The Fairmont Olympic, Seattle, Washington, USA
Classroom layout includes rows of tables and chairs. Six foot tables can comfortably hold two people per table, and eight foot tables can comfortably hold three people per table. The tables are typically arranged in rows joining two tables in length, and then incorporates an aisle for people to access the seats.
Tip: ask your facility's conference services manager to clarify the total number of poeple they calculate or place at each table; facilities often calculate their maximum based on an additional person per table. Unfortunately, attendees at the end of each table end up bumping their knees against table legs.
2. Theater Floor Plan
Courtesy of The Meritage Hotel at Napa, California, USA (Preferred Hotels & Resorts)
Theater floor plans typically line up rows of chairs and space aisles depending on the width of the room and the total seating needed. Some facilities have actual auditoriums, which make great spaces for formal presentations. Theater floor plans allow for the maximum number of people to fit into a meeting room.
Tip: ask the conference services manager about the seat width of the chairs. Operations teams will often bump seats next to each other, and this can make for uncomfortable seating depending on the total attendees. If the chairs have a narrow width, request comfortable spacing for theater seating.
3. Banquet Floor Plan
Courtesy of Hotel Majestic, Barcelona, Spain (Preferred Hotels & Resorts)
Banquet seating is commonly calculated based on round tables that hold 10 people using 6' round tables. Some facilities also use 5' round tables. Banquet style allows for small group interaction at each table. Banquet seating is often used for dinner events or as separate space for breakfast and lunch breaks.
Tip: Request a room layout for tables of 8 rather than 10. This will allow event attendees to have extra space to place their notebooks and other materials. Confirm with the facility that they use 6' rounds rather than 5' rounds (a smaller table).
4. Reception Room Floor Plan
Courtesy of Swissotel The Howard, London, United Kingdom
Reception space typically includes numerous high boy tables throughout a room, as well as tables for banquet and bar services. Because it isn't necessary for dedicated seating space, this will reflect the largest number of individuals who can fit into the room.
Tip: discuss the total number of tables needed for the reception, and request that the facility mix the room with 5' rounds that include six seats for those who do not want to stand and mingle the whole time.
5. Boardroom Floor Plan
Courtesy of Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa, Maui, Hawaii, USA
A boardroom floor plan structures the room with all attendees sitting around a closed table environment. Boardroom set-up is structured for attendees to have close interaction.
Tip: most facilities offer a specific boardroom which is designed for executive meetings. The furniture reflects an executive environment, including leather chairs, built-in A/V equipment, and other amenities to impress attendees. These rooms are designed for about 15 people.
6. U-Shaped Floor Plan
Courtesy of Boston Harbor Hotel, Massachusetts, USA (Preferred Hotels & Resorts)
U-shaped floor plans layout tables and seating to form a "U" toward the front of the room where the speaker will lead a discussion. This allows A/V to sit in the center of the "U" and project to a screen next to the speaker.
Tip: rely on a U-shaped floor plan when planning interactive presentations for speakers to exchange ideas with the attendees. U-shaped floor plans are good for rectangle shaped rooms.
7. Hollow Square Floor Plan
The hollow square layout is similar to the u-shape floor plan but simply closes off the fourth side to form a closed square or rectangle. It also has an open space in the middle of the table. Hollow square layouts are better for mid-sized rooms to hold a reasonable number of people who may interact with each other throughout the meeting.
Tip: hollow square floor plans are best for brainstorm sessions and meetings that allow all participants to contribute to the discussion.