Where can I find a meeting room?

Sign saying "Quiet please, meeting in progress" by Ed YourdonWith so many entrepreneurs and start-ups going gung-ho developing Apps for this, that and the other. And with gazillions of bits of web content created every hour or is it now every minute. You’d think I’d be able to find an up-to-date and useful list of meeting venues in Wellington.

It seems every single time I begin thinking where to hold an event I start from scratch. Not only have I attended a few events in my time, I’ve printed out details and scored the odd promotional folder.

I can never remember the details, and I’ve lost all my notes and pieces of paper. So, I start from scratch. Enter into the Google search box: “Meeting venue”. Hit “Enter”.

Sigh! Up come the familiar list of websites: Venue Hire, Corporate Events Guide, Wellington City Council community directory, Hire it Now.

None of the lists are complete. Some are extremely dated and need to be refreshed, replaced or nuked (are you listening WCC?). Interspersed amongst places suitable for humble gatherings, are many catering for weddings and cocktail parties, and for those with bulging budgets.

It’s not only time a consuming process to find suitable options, but generally the lists shine little light on venues suitable for the modest budgets of those working in civil society or in third sector organisations.

After narrowing down potential options, then begins the laborious process of finding one that is free and affordable. I won’t mention who wanted $695 for a short after-work session. This is one I politely declined using, even though it was available.

So, I wonder, is there a better way.

Can the crowd perhaps step forward? Is there enough in this idea for people to help co-create a public list? A list that has useful categories or keywords for event types. Perhaps ratings as well as facts. How about a dash of panache – I can’t think if there is any reason for all these lists to be so damn drab.

The idea of listing things on the web is a path well trod. The subject matter may be different, but the notion of collectively creating lists has been around since the early days of the Internet.

Nobody I know would ever want to take responsibility for such a burden as keeping a list up-to-date, myself included.

Yet, I wonder if updating tasks are small and discrete. And the values of accumulated data high. Perhaps, just perhaps, this could take-off. It’d be easier enough to start with a wiki editable by anyone. There could be a template for each venue (one per page), keywords, and an index.

Before I do anymore thinking, I’ll wonder out loud: do others experience the same sort of hassles finding rooms for events? Or is everyone is super organised and keeps really good records themselves?

While I ponder on whether this is a problem unique to me and whether some budding entrepreneur may like to tackle this challenge, I’ve got some preparation to do for the Wellington NGO webmaster event I’m hosting tomorrow night. It’s time to do some baking.

Photo credit: Ed Yourdon