Sure, a true focus group facility offers some luxuries. These likely include a one-way mirror for clients to watch the focus group moderator and participants live. Other amenities include AV room hook-ups which make it easy to video and audio record the focus groups. These focus group facilities also include multiple whiteboards and easels, access to HDTV feeds to show creative, tiered seating in the client viewing room, and easy participant access to the room with a waiting room.
With all of these add-on bonuses of a focus group facility, it's often worth the cost to hold full-out and official market research. But that is often the hook: cost. To rent a focus group facility in Syracuse NY or any other city in the U.S. expect to pay a premium.
All of those additional amenities warrant the additional fees and costs for the operator.
On a tight budget for your qualitative market research?
Here are 4 less expensive and outside-of-the-box options.
Here are 4 alternative options to host a focus group.
Alternative 1: Library
In some rural areas of the country, finding a business, hotel, or conference center can prove challenging. The good news is most counties or communities have a local library. Among those, most have some type of conference or community room for meetings or classes. These are excellent settings for a focus group and are typically a large room.
Tables and chairs can often be rearranged as needed in case your group size is 6 or 12. In situations where you or your client needs to watch the focus groups, these can be recorded through a videographer or in many cases there is enough room around the outside of the room for you to sit-in live. A good moderator immerses the group in discussion immediately which means the participants forget about other viewers quickly even if they are in the room.
The other major benefit of renting a library room is the cost. Most libraries have a very nominal fee ($50 or $100) to rent the room for a few hours or an evening. Some simply do not charge and ask for a donation. If you can pull this off, this is your least expensive option.
Alternative 2: Business Conference Room
In many cases a local business or organization has a conference room available for use. They may be open to renting out the room for daytime or evening focus groups. This could also mean adjacent parking and access to some other amenities that a library may not have (AV, HDTV, etc.) These businesses or office buildings are often secure access or a security guard on-site if groups are being hosted after hours.
The rate for this is likely negotiated and really depends on the building that is offering up the conference room. If you're in a bind and can't afford a focus group facility, this could be an option for you to explore. Some businesses may be more open to this idea than others.
Alternative 3: Hotel Conference Room
Another excellent option to host focus groups in a region without a focus group facility is a hotel conference room. This is one of the most widely used alternative options with qualitative market research. These rooms are easy to rent out for a day or evening and can often be divided into smaller areas if needed. Most hotels are designed to host conferences and events and thus can accommodate your focus group needs.
Costs here range depending on your needs. However, most rental rates for an evening will range from $300 to $500. Many will charge you by the hour.
Alternative 4: Shared Office Space
Finally, here is a fourth option to host your focus groups. Shared office space has become a growing commodity in urban cities. In these settings, office space is either shared among multiple tenants or shared by a few businesses. With this design, it almost always includes a shared conference room or two for these tenants to utilize as needed. Because costs are spread over multiple tenants it wouldn't make sense to build a conference room for each tenant but rather one for every so many.
Just like the conference room can be rented by tenants, many spaces also allow non-tenants to rent out the conference room. This brings in additional streams of revenue for the building. Here, rates are likely by the hour but will be much less expensive than a traditional focus group facility.
Drive Research is a qualitative market research company in Syracuse, NY. One of our qualitative services is focus groups. We can assist you with recruitment, moderating, hosting, analysis, and reporting on your focus groups.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 315-303-2040.