Finding and Hiring a Facility

Introduction  |  Location  |  Costs  |  Technology  |  Check List


Finding and hiring a market research facility can be a difficult task. There are so many things to consider; location, capacity, client comfort, levels of service, technology, atmosphere, etc... Before making the decision one has to be clear that the basic requirements of the research project can be met. It is always a good idea to examine what different facilities can offer before deciding on a venue to conduct research.

Location, Location, Location

One of the main considerations in finding a facility is to ensure that it is convenient for repondents to travel to. There is no point hiring a facility in the centre of London if your target audience is working mothers in surburbia. The facility should also be convenient for clients to travel to and if conducting international research the facility should be located near to an airport, preferably in a major city centre.

The decision to hire a facility needs to be based on: "Is this the best facility for the research?". Careful consideration is needed in choosing a facility, and we hope that the following guide helps in that decision.


The costs of hiring a focus facility relate broadly to geographical location and the services that the facility provides. As a rough guide, a single two-hour evening session, in a UK regional facility would cost around the £400 mark, outer London facilities are in the high £400's and Central London facilities hover around the mid-to-high £500's.

Once the buying decision has been made, the final choice really comes down to a limited number of factors which include the quality of the facility, the service it provides, and the atmosphere or friendliness of the staff. Most often, though, the decision will most likely be determined by the location that the client has chosen for the research to be conducted in and the type of research project that is being conducted.


A growing number of facilities have invested in the latest technologies. We have compiled a quick overview of some of the key technologies that are being implemented.

Web Streaming

Web streaming allows clients to watch a group discussion in realtime from anywhere in the world, at any time. With the increase in global research projects web streaming has become an important service and ActiveGroup has setup a global standard in web streaming for the focus group facility market.

Digital Recording

The growth of digital recording on to hard drive and DVD provides a number of benefits over analogue (VHS) recording. The benefits of recording on to DVD include being able to play the recording on a laptop, rerunning a particular part of the discussion with ease, increase in audio and picture quality, and the ability to be able to edit the group discussion at a later date for presentations.

Flat Screen TVs

The quality and clarity of flat screens enhances the group experience for researchers, respondents, and clients enabling researchers to link up a laptop or play DVD's during a session.

Wireless Internet

Wireless internet access has become an essential service for clients who wish to access their back office systems from a laptop or mobile device. It also enables Researchers to display web content via a laptop during group discussions.

Check List

Not Sure Which Facility To Hire?

In order to help researchers choose the most suitable facility, we have compiled a list of basic questions that should be asked before booking a facility.


  • Where would the client like the groups to be held?
  • Do clients wish to view the groups?
  • Is there going to be more than one group in this area?
  • How easy will it be for target respondents to get to the location?
  • How easy will it be for the clients to get to the location?


  • Will Internet access be needed for respondents or clients?
  • Will you be undertaking any kind of web usability research?
  • Does the client have any special requirements, e.g. web streaming, use of a TV, DVD, etc..?
  • Do you require a DVD recording of the group?
  • How comfortable will your respondents be with a high tech environment?

Client Facilities

  • How many clients will be attending?
  • Would the clients like to have use of the facility before or after the focus group(s)?
  • Will clients require office facilities?
  • Will the clients require food and drink. If so, are there any special requirements (e.g. vegetarian, etc..)?
  • Will any senior clients be attending?

Facility Style

  • Who are the respondents? Early adopters, opinion leaders? Children? Full time mothers? Professionals?
  • Can the facility adapt for different research scenarios?
  • Have your clients expressed satisfaction previously with a specific kind of facility?
  • Are any specialist set ups required such as baby friendly facilities, etc..?

Other Questions

  • How big is the focus group?
  • Will you be running more than one group at the same time?
  • What level of service do you require?
  • When will the facility be available?
  • What is your budget?
  • Can you work out a deal with the facility?


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