Fare Thee Well

Meet Me In St. Louis

Homebased entrepreneurs rarely have the luxury of a satellite office to hold those important meetings on the road. Setting up a meeting out of town can be a relatively easy task, however, if you know where to look.

Start by establishing a relationship with a travel agent. Word-of-mouth recommendations are your best bet when it comes to this invaluable resource--a good agent will know the ins and outs of meeting places in your destination city. Also, don't forget about chambers of commerce, which have a wealth of resources on the facilities available in their cities.

To find a great place to hold your meeting, you need look no further than your hotel. For instance, Hilton recently introduced Hilton Garden Inns, its "four-star lodging at a three-star price" (about $70 to $90 a night for the room). The hotel not only features business-oriented amenities inside each room but also a free, 24-hour Business Center and two to four meeting rooms that can be reserved in advance to accommodate small to medium-sized groups. The charge for these extras is usually about $100.

Summerfield Suites Hotel, another mid-priced hotel chain, provides guests with a wide range of rooms and amenities. Meeting rooms can be reserved for as little as $75 a day, and audiovisual equipment is available for a nominal charge.

Successfully arranging all the details of your out-of-town meetings puts you in the driver's seat, impresses clients . . . and just may help you seal the deal.

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