Exclusive Venues on Martha's Vineyard to Wow Your Clients

Martha's Vineyard is truly the Jewel of New England. If you've never had an opportunity to visit this quaint island town, you don't know what you're missing! Better yet, why not host your next 1 or 2 day retreat or intensive workshop here. There is no doubt that Martha's Vineyard is a popular destination for vacation and business, why wouldn't it be? With a rich history, thriving culture and miles of endless beaches, it's truly a paradise where you and your clients can relax and recharge during off-time. 

If you're looking for wonderful locations to host your next retreat, look no further than these three gorgeous resorts! 

1. Harbor View Hotel & Resort

I don’t know how much more relaxing it can get when you’re sitting seaside with amazing hospitality in a beautiful location! What a unique experience you can offer your clients. When you are able to offer a productive, yet casual and relaxed retreat destination, your events are going to fill up quicker than you think!

Want to offer things that your attendees would expect from Martha’s Vineyard? Harbor View Hotel and Resort will exceed your expectations. Not only do they offer amazing meeting locations, but they also have outdoor facilities that you can utilize for special meals or functions you may include with your retreat. They even offer a true New England Clambake! 

They will also help you coordinate different activities you may want to plan for your clients, ranging from island transportation, golf, deep-sea fishing, horseback riding, biking to everything your attendees could want! The venue also offers yoga and morning fitness walks for those clients (and yourself!) who want to make sure they get the blood flowing, even if they are away from home for a couple of days.  

I can’t think of a more beautiful location to appreciate the fall colors, as well. You or your clients can take fitful and gorgeous walks along the harbor and relish in the special location that they are staying at! And having a retreat in rooms that offer spectacular ocean scenery isn’t too shabby, either!

2. ShoreWay Acres Inn

Imagine offering your clients the opportunity to have a Seafood and Raw Bar that is served in a rowboat! Or throwing them a “tailgate party” that includes a cookout, relay races and lawn games. For the wine lovers in the group, maybe a “wine cellar” tapas and wine tasting would be more up your alley? Shoreway Acres Inn offers all of these wonderful customized event options, plus more!

Think of how much fun it will be to have a “Taste of Cape Cod” station for dinner?! Everything you are looking to experience on Martha’s Vineyard, you’ll find at this wonderful venue. ShoreWay Acres also offers a wonderful variety of indoor and outdoor meeting venues for your event. If making sure your clients experience a relaxed atmosphere is high on your priority list, this venue is definitely a winner!

I don’t know about you, but offering your clients something truly unique that will make them remember this trip as not only a business trip, but also one of the more fun events that they have had the pleasure of attending is really something I strive for. Including fun activities for them to do, wine bars and whale watching cruises, depending on the season, are great ways to not only introduce your clients to the local flavor of the island, but to really connect with them on a one-on-one basis. What a great opportunity for some stellar networking!

Accommodations at ShoreWay Acres is also top-notch and your attendees won’t soon forget how they felt like a million bucks on your next retreat!

3. The Hob Knob Inn

The Hob Knob Inn is one of those special places that if you have the opportunity to visit, you do. They cater to exclusive, private experiences and with being only a 17-room hotel, exclusivity is guaranteed. 

The Hob Knob provides a private chef for all events upon request, and work hard to make sure that your next meeting will be unique and memorable. This venue was truly good enough for a president, as JFK stayed here in the mid 1900’s. Wow! Luxury amenities will be waiting for all of your clients and after some inspiring daily sessions, retreating to their exclusive rooms will be a welcomed treat.

Looking for more pampering for your clients? They also offer the Rejuvenation Spa, where guests can indulge in body treatments and messages, along with a therapeutic steam shower and sauna. What a better way to wind down after a day at the beach! 

Offer your clients a fun sunset sampling of wine and cheese from local businesses on Martha’s Vineyard, as well, to mix in some local fun for your event. This place is fit for a queen and your clients won’t soon forget the luxury accommodations you provided for their event!

Who wouldn’t want to attend a retreat or intensive workshop in Martha’s Vineyard?! It has everything you, as a host, could expect and offers unique, yet practical areas for you to hold your meetings. 

Planning One Or Two Day Intensive Events

Planning 1 and 2 day intensives and events can go beyond just thinking about the typical itineraries and schedules. What is your best course of action to make sure that your clients gain everything that they need in such a short time? Intensive one on one or small group meetings tend to get… you guessed it, intense! They are a way to move clients in a specific direction quickly and clearly. Your clients are going to come to your event to seek the clarity they are looking for and are going to want you to steer them in the right direction. How do you plan for such a daunting task?

1. Keep it Limited To Smaller Focus Groups

In order to get through all of the information that intensive programs generally make their way through, it will be imperative to make sure your groups remain small. You may even come across times where you should focus on one-to-one sessions, depending what your topics are about. Many of your attendees are going to be ready for a challenge and may even be expecting it, since they are signing up for something that they know is going to be intensive. Don’t short change them by opening up your intensives to more clients than you can realistically can handle! 

2. Have a Specific Schedule Targeted On the Topic With Things You’ll Be Covering

Intensive events tend to have very little fluff. You are moving on a tight schedule in order to get through the items you need to cover in such a short amount of time. It’s full days spent doing accelerated training. Choose the areas of focus you’ll be working through carefully and make sure you have exact time frames in mind for each “Unit” you’ll be moving through. A good idea to consider is to move your intensive training through a series of “Steps” or “Units” that you have named and have a goal associated with. 

Also make sure there are clear goals that everyone will be walking out of the intensive with. Are they going to be making business models? Developing specific action plans? Finding ways to make their company more profitable? Become more cost-effective? Identifying new ways of bringing in income? Whatever the goal, make sure it’s laid out clearly and concisely so people know what to expect. 

3. Provide Support and Guidance, But Make Attendees Accountable

Many may be looking for a specific intensive event to gain clarity on ideas they may already have. Depending on what your specific intensive is about, make sure you provide the support and guidance that your clients will be looking for. They may have a plan of action for where they need to go, but they are stuck on how to implement it. They are done trying to figure things out on their own and are looking to you to guide them in the right direction! 

That being said, this isn’t about you doing the work for them. Make sure you set them up for success, but make them accountable. 

4. Provide Pre-Meeting Worksheets or Recordings

Help your attendees prepare so you can dive right in that first minute of your event. You’ll be able to start conversations knowing that your attendees have a clear understanding of what the outcomes are expected to be. 

You may even want to provide items you generally charge money for, to make it more appealing to potential clients to sign up. Depending on the nature of your intensive event, you may even want to consider offering a 30 minute prep time session with each of your clients. 

5. Provide Lunch and Refreshments Throughout the Day

Everyone needs to keep their energy up! While this may not be the luxurious and decadent nature of some events you work on, make sure that basics are covered and food and drinks are provided. Ask your clients beforehand if anyone has any special dietary restrictions you need to consider to make it as comfortable for them as possible. You’re going to be working hard for one or two days!

6. Make Sure Everyone Walks Away With a Summary of Key Learning Points and Next Steps

Are people aware of what they are going to get at the end of your time together? Make sure it’s clear what they will be able to gain by attending your intensive meeting. 

Also consider things you may offer after the meeting. Perhaps e-mail support for a specific number of weeks? Will you provide a detailed summary of everything you covered, so they have all of the resources and ideas at their fingertips when they leave? More than likely, different clients will be looking for different goals, so providing more customized feedback may help them move forward. 

Intensive and focused events are a great way to quickly move people from Point A to Point B. But it’s going to be up to you to keep things high-energy for your attendees so they can make it through such a focused and structured day. Hopefully with these tips, you can create your own intensive schedules and determine what the right plan of action will be for you!

How to Attract People To Your Event

So you’ve spent a lot of time and money to create the perfect event. You know people are going to have a great time. There are going to be ample opportunities for them to network, along with great information they are going to be supplied with. The venue is exquisite, meals are to-die-for, and you have some events lined up for everyone that they are going to have a great time at. You’re so excited! Now… how are you going to get people to sign up for it? What are you going to do to attract people to this great event you’ve worked so hard building?

1. Market to the Right Audience

When one thinks of hosting a smaller meeting, many still inevitably assume they’ll look into big chain hotels that wiFirst, you’re going to need to make sure that you are marketing to your target audience. Figuring out what types of people you want at your event may seem easy enough, but it should never be taken lightly. You don’t want to attract the wrong kind of crowd that you won’t be able to further your own brand and business. So always make sure you ask yourself… what do I want to accomplish with this event? What would you consider a success? Your answer will help you to figure out who should be targeted!

2. Consistently Market the Event on Social Media

There are a variety of ways to make sure that you are staying connected with everyone on social media. Create a LinkedIn and Facebook Event to start generating buzz for the upcoming event you are holding. Also create a Twitter #Hashtag for your event that can be used to mark keywords and topics that you want to be easily accessible! This will let people find out what’s being said easily about your event more easily. Make sure to promote that hashtag on other promotional materials you may send out for the event (email, newsletters, your website, direct mailers, other social media accounts, etc.) so it generates more buzz, as well! And don’t forget to use it yourself! Using the hashtag DURING the event can also be beneficial, as it will pique interest during the event that may garner additional inquiries about future events you may hold!

Also consider leveraging paid advertising options on social media, as well. Use targeted ads to reach out to those who may not otherwise see it, and make sure your registration information is clear and concise on all social media posts that may be going out. Using a direct link to your website where registration can be found is a great way to do this. 

Finally, when it comes to social media, make sure people can find you! Include your social media accounts on your websites, within your emails, and any mailings you may send out. Don’t forget to include links to your social media sites in any newsletters you may send out, as well!

3. Offer Discounts

Consider offering early bird pricing to those who may sign up before a specific date in advance of your event. More often than not, people will feel a sense of urgency to save money, which will encourage people to sgn up quicker. Make sure you market the two different prices so people see a quantifiable reason on why it would be beneficial to sign up sooner, rather than later. 

It’s also a good practice to offer discounts and rewards to attendees who have participated in one of your past events, as well. If your event is annual, open up registration to return attendees first. They know what you will be offering and will be familiar enough to know that what you offer is going to be a quality event. Show you appreciate past attendees by offering them a special discount for signing up early. 

4. Make Registration Easy

Don’t promote your event and get people to finally decide to pull the trigger, only to make registration a hassle and time-consuming. The process needs to make participants feel comfortable about attending, while being respectful of their time. Make registration available on your website, where they can use their credit card or PayPal account to make the process easy. Also set up an email to go out a few days before the event to remind them of what they need to do, along with directions and any other information they may need to attend. 

Make sure the call-to-actions are visible and apparent on your website, with links leading to registration easy-to-find. Including links on most of your website pages will make things easier for potential attendees, as well.

5. Promote the Location and the “extras”

Are you holding your event or conference at a big draw location? Are you providing special incentives and extras that everyone is going to be able to be a part of? Locations can be the deciding factor for people on the fence about attending your event. Promote other attractions that are close to where you are going to be that may interest people and see if there are discounted rates you can provide on outside activities. This will make your event even more of a draw for people to sign up!

Announce the headlining events for your event or conference that may drive sales, as well! Get people excited about what they can expect and that there will be more than just content for them to soak up. 

6. Invite Guests to Blog About The Event

Are you partnering up with specific guests who may be sponsoring different content or are going to be speaking at your event? Invite them to spread the word on their own social media accounts, or to blog about what attendees can expect. They will be more than happy to help you promote your event, as they will want it to be just as successful as you! Ask them to give a sneak peak on what they will be providing during their sessions

Provide specific copy that you would like to make sure is included in any promotions or blogs they may write to make it as easy as possible for them to promote the event on your behalf. Just think of the extended audience you’ll get when you reach outside of your own network!

By just following these tips, you’ll help to increase the attendance and sales of the large conference or event that you have had in the works for months. With all of the hard work you have put into this to make it a success, don’t let it fall by the wayside when it’s time to market it! 

 

4 Reasons Why Meetings Are A Powerful Business Weapon

Let’s face it, not everyone loves attending meetings. Or scheduling them for that matter! They take precious time out of everyone’s schedule, they may not seem effective to everyone involved, and if the right people aren’t attending the meeting, there is always inevitable follow-up that takes even more time away.  Are you one of these individuals? Do you dread planning that must-do meeting because of the stress it may cause?

But there are undeniable benefits that result for you and your customers when meetings are planned productively. Face-to-face contact can help to develop healthy working relationships that you may not get through emails or phone calls. Everything becomes more personal and real human interaction and face-to-face discussion brings the results you may have been missing previously. Here are four other reasons why meetings are a powerful business weapon:

New Ideas Occur That May Have Been Missed

There is no denying that communication done through phone calls, emails, newsletters, etc. has made life a lot easier and communication can happen quickly. It has created new opportunities and made many partnerships much more effective. But if not handled correctly, their effectiveness can be drastically diminished. 

But decisions may take longer if you’re waiting for an email chain to catch up to everyone involved. Problems generally don’t get the same amount of attention because they are easier to skim over. Ever here the phrase “phoning it in”? This is exactly what can happen when people aren’t giving the issue their 100% attention. Many people may miss certain details that are trying to be ironed out because they don’t get through an entire message and get distracted with the next thing on their plate instead. Unanimous decisions become difficult to agree on when not everyone is on the same page.

This is where meetings become powerful. Discussion and face-to-face interaction means that the brainstorming that you may need to solve a problem or come up with a new idea can be accomplished. If you’re waiting on decisions from multiple people, it’s so much easier and productive to get those people in the room so details and specifics can be ironed out. And ideas that otherwise would have been missed or wouldn’t have been paid attention to now have the ability to gain traction and be discussed. 

That’s just a win-win for everyone!

Things That Otherwise May Have Been Misrepresented Are Fully Understood

We’ve all seen how things can be taken out of context over an email. You don’t get the sense of what someone’s tone or body language is conveying when you’re reading a quick message. People get offended so much easier!

It’s been said that only 7% of communication is spoken. The other 93% is made up of tone and body language. And if you’re missing out on those cues through phone calls and emails, there is a good chance that somewhere along the line things are going to get skewed. People are able to better read each other face-to-face and something that might have offended someone over the phone or on email may not even cause a stir in a face-to-face meeting. We tend to move as fast as possible when we’re responding over email. We may not intend to cut things short and appear disinterested, but when we have 98 other emails that need attention, it’s happens. These kinds of problems become irrelevant and make meetings so important for actual discussions on an issue or handling negotiations. 

Structure and Action Is More Easily Obtainable

Without structure when trying to communication with customers or clients, action tends to take a backseat. Meetings are powerful in their ability to provide structure and a strong course of action that will result in what needs to be accomplished. Notes are generally taken that can be reflected back on and people are more likely to give their views and opinions when the structure is in place to do so. And because communication will be front and center at any meeting, things are going to be accomplished. 

It’s always essential to have a plan of action that is going to outline what the meeting is going to include, as well as what is going to be accomplished over the course of the meeting. Meetings will also help to provide ownership of different items that need to be discussed when everyone is in the same room. When trying to communicate over email or the phone, ownership can become a little difficult to pin down when not everyone is involved at the same time in a discussion. Engagement is higher when you and customers are involved in a meeting, which is always an important step in handling business!

Provides Networking That Otherwise Isn’t Available 

By holding business meetings, you create the opportunity to network with individuals and businesses that you normally wouldn’t have been able to. You increase your own network, as well as increase the network for your customers and clients. 

Meetings don’t necessarily need to be held in a business setting. Meetings with clients and customers can be done through lunch or dinner for a change of environment, as well as making things less formal. A greater sense of trust starts to develop and the personal relationships that may make a future business deal more easy are being established. 

Annual conferences and events are a great way to provide networking opportunities, as well. Providing the opportunity to learn additional skills through breakout sessions, along with pairing people together who may not have had the chance to work on the same projects in the past can create positive networking to further goals and careers. 

It’s also a great opportunity to provide the recognition for specific team members, customers, or clients that may have went above and beyond their job. Everyone wants to be recognized for a job well done and doing so in front of peers is a great networking and confidence booster!

Hopefully this gives you an idea on what a great return on investment meetings can really be. Whether it’s a quick meeting once a week or a more elaborate annual conference, all meetings play an important role in the life of business. This is exactly why thought should be given to planning, executing, and following-up with each meeting!

At the end of the day, this is what I do. I take the stress away from you and help you plan a meeting or event that is going to be a huge success for everyone involved! Contact me today for the help you need and I’d be happy to share tips and ideas to get you moving in a productive direction.

 

Small Boutique Hotels Are Your Hidden Gems

When one thinks of hosting a smaller meeting, many still inevitably assume they’ll look into big chain hotels that will provide everything they need without them having to do a lot of legwork. And it’s true, big chain hotels do take the guesswork out of much of the planning that needs to go into an event or meeting of any size. But have you ever considered looking into small, upscale “boutique” hotels that may offer the same things and you didn’t even know it? Better yet, they may offer even MORE. They are intimate, include impeccable, hands-on service and have that magical touch where your participants are going to know they matter as an individual. 

Picture it. You are hosting a smaller event or meeting where you really want to make a splash. You have a handful of people who are going to be participating and instead of holding your event in a cavernous hotel meeting room, you could have it at a location where all of the “little things” truly make a difference. If your guest needs things done, or if they want to find an activity to do for a day, they are going to have the full attention of the small boutique hotel’s staff who can set them up with whatever their heart desires. And in turn, you’ve now become a #1 member of their inner circle! 

Many of these smaller boutique hotels even offer complete Property Takeovers, where you and your guests will be the only ones that the staff will be catering to for the length of your stay. These hidden gems are located everywhere across the country from the hills of New York State to the Florida Keys. Take a look at what some of these boutique hotels have to offer and think about this option the next time you are planning a small meeting or event.

Jedidiah Hawkins Inn, North Fork, New York

This amazing location in wine country in upper New York is the perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Surrounded by 22 acres of gardens and farmland, your guests will find the perfect spot to relax during downtime and hospitality is top-notch. Check out all of the amazing information about this Inn HERE.

Little Palm Island Resort and Spa, Florida Keys

If you are looking for the ULTIMATE boutique resort that screams luxury, look into this resort where renting out the entire island is customary. With the wonderful amenities that the property offers and being located in the beautiful Florida Keys, you are sure to wow your guests.

Wentworth Mansion, Charleston, South Carolina

The leader in southern charm, The Wentworth Mansion will leave no stone unturned for your next event. With gracious hospitality, a luxury spa and a gorgeous seasonally-inspired restaurant, you will have everything you need under one small roof.

Auburge du Soleil, Napa Valley, California

Napa Valley is an extremely popular destination for corporate retreats, meetings and events. If you're looking for an intimate experience for your guests, look no further than Auburge du Soleil! Exclusive wine events can be prepared, along with spa appointments for your guests. No detail will be missed and your events will be remembered for years to come!

The Rusty Parrot Lodge, Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Set in the picturesque Jackson Hole, The Rusty Parrot Lodge is the perfect place to hold your next executive event. The amazing staff will guide you to the perfect restaurants, cultural events, scenic tours, and anything else your heart desires to provide to your guests. World-class service and amenities await at this piece of western luxury.

Dunton Hot Springs, Colorado

Just across the mountain from Telluride, Dunton Hot Springs Resort is a ghost town, set in an extraordinary alpine valley. This boutique resort offers a variety of packages and the entire town and ranch can be rented exclusively for corporate retreats.

Blantyre, Lenox, Massachusetts

This luxury country house hotel has a castle feel with an inquisitively private experience awaiting your event guests. Imagine taking over this property for the course of your meeting! Hold wine tastings right on-site and your guests will want for nothing with the help and guidance from the on-site coordinators.

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Twin Farms, Barnard, Vermont

Imagine your guests strolling down the covered bridge leading to the farm with the autumn leaves blowing in the wind around them. Trade in the boardroom for a luxury farmhouse to hold your next event! Twin Farms is an out-of-this-world location that has an events team to help you make sure everything goes off without a hitch.

When looking for a true unique experience when planning your next event, down downplay what a small, upscale boutique hotel can offer in terms of extra-luxurious touches! This can only be done when the hotel staff caters to a small number of guests and with your small event and meeting being their priority, you'll be sure to find exactly the attention you're looking for. Even better? Many small boutique hotels are marketing hard to gain your business, so learn more about the the great places listed here or search another one out for your next event or meeting.

Don't hesitate to contact me today if you're looking for more ideas and help in planning your next event or meeting, big or small!

High-End Meeting Destination? Yacht Cruise!

Have you ever imagined having a high-end client meeting somewhere beyond their wildest dreams? Does it seem completely out of reach? You’ve MADE IT and now you want to show your clients all about the lifestyle they could have while learning more about you and what you have to offer. It’s all about luxury while providing essential information and data to your group while you are away!

Believe it or not, this may not be as out of reach as you think. And where might you host an event that will be all about celebration and indulgence? A Yacht cruise! Just imagine the thrill your guests are going to experience when they get the invitation to accompany you on a cruise, whether it’s for a day, or for a few days.

What does this mean for your guests? It’s all about the experience. It isn’t just about meeting at the same old hotel and having them listen to the same old presentations. This is about your guests being pampered from the start!

Imagine clients stepping off of a plane and being met by a limo. They are efficiently whisked away to the dock where they are met with champagne, their bags are taken and unpacked for them. They don’t have a care in the world and there is no need for them to worry about logistics! Their cabin is stocked with their favorite products and a fabulous swag bag is filled with goodies selected especially for them. That is luxury! Next, they are met with cocktails on the deck and an opening night meal with fabulous food on the deck by the on-board chef. This is the epitome of wowing clients and the captain and crew are going to help you pull out all of the stops!

Another benefit of this type of high-end meeting idea is that everyone will be able to enjoy daily activities that are tailored to every desire, such as snorkeling or kayaking. Or, schedule massages and simply relax in the sun on the deck! Whatever your guests’ needs, they are going to be met!

Yachting means customized itineraries and endless combinations of travel options all built to suit your itinerary. Sitting through specific presentations and working on projects with your clients will be a walk in the park with the atmosphere of a yacht surrounding you!

The sky is the limit on where you can take your guests and what your plans will be. The performance of your business depends on the productivity and happiness of clients and employees. Why not treat them to the best to let them know what an important part of your business they really are! What an amazing way to show your gratitude. 

Let's Do Dallas

I love The Adolphus for it's perfect blend of elegance and luxury. It presents a unique experience to everyone who enters. The Adolphus also boasts the French Room named by the Zagat Survey as the #1 hotel restaurant in America. The Adolphus is perfectly located at Commerce and Field, in the heart of the financial district and is just minutes from entertainment centers, and historical sites.

The Adolphus is approximately 18 miles from Dallas / Ft. Worth International Airport, and only 7 miles from Dallas Love Field Airport.

To find out all this amazing hotel has to offer you for your next meeting go to: www.hoteladolphus.com 

The Ritz-Carlton, is a true luxury experience! From the lobby to the guest rooms, the hotel’s walls are adorned in stunning contemporary artworks that mimic the dual modernity and tradition of the area. Plush furnishings invite you to lounge for a moment before heading out to enjoy the vibrant Uptown scene with world-class shopping, fine dining and spirited night life. With it's Uptown neighborhood location on historic McKinney Avenue it is the perfect place to hold your next meeting, event or retreat.

The Ritz Carlton is also home to Fearing’s Restaurant, where Chef Dean Fearing offers an innovative menu showcasing the bold flavors of the Southwest.

To find out all this amazing hotel has to offer you for your next meeting go to: http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/Dallas/Default.htm

Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek is truly a unique venue.  The tradition of elegance and hospitality that first began in this historic home is still in place today at the Mansion. The Mansion has been meticulously restored.With its hand-carved fireplaces, marble floors and stained-glass windows preserving the estate's original magnificence. The Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek offers a lavish historic location  in the heart of downtown Dallas.

To find out all this amazing hotel has to offer you for your next meeting go to: http://www.rosewoodhotels.com/en/mansion-on-turtle-creek-dallas

Ice Breakers

One of the biggest challenges of a meeting is getting your guests to feel comfortable engaging with each other.  Let's face it not all of us are comfortable meeting new people. A perfect solution to this problem is having an ice breaker that is fun and gets everyone relaxed and involved. This can be as simple as a 15 min game or a longer team activity.  You'll see how effective a group ice breaker can be with your guests. Depending on the time available, some groups enjoy competition. Others enjoy building or making something.  Below are some great games and activities that you can use at your next meeting or event.

Scavenger Hunt - One of my favorite team ice breakers is a scavenger hunt!  It is easy to put together, cost effective and a lot of fun.  The key to this is have at least one item that is not easy to find.  Try to stay away from items that can be interpreted differently. One year I had a group that had "swizzle stick" on their list.  You wouldn't believe what people brought back for that one!  It did create a bit of controversy as to what exactly a swizzle stick was but that in itself was a lot of fun. 

Minute to Win it Games - So many to choose from for your group!  These games are fun-filled, and use easily available supplies.  I have listed a few of the more popular games.

Face the Cookie - - The contestant, using only their face, must move cookies individually from their forehead to their mouth.

Hanky Panky - Use only one hand to pull tissues out of a tissue box one-at-a-time until box is empty.

Stack It Up - Players must stack 25 pennies in under a minute using only one hand. This game works well with 3 players competing in each round of play.

Outlandish Introductions- Each person introduces the person to his/her right. People are encouraged to fill the introduction with exaggerated claims not meant to be taken literally. The only thing that needs to be the truth is the person’s name. “To my right it David. He once fought a dragon and won. He moved on from a life of dragon-slaying to begin a career in PR for dragons, recognizing that not all dragons are bad, some are just misunderstood….”

Fact or Fiction- For this classic icebreaker, each person must come up with 3 'facts' about themselves. Two are true and one is a lie. The other person, or the rest of the group has to decide which ones are true and which is not. This gives a little understanding into the person, while providing everyone else with a bit of a fun guessing game.

Another great ice breaker activity is to combine fun with a way to give back to the community your are meeting in.

Make a Meal - Every community has a program to help feed people.  I was involved in one where we all put together a meal in a bag.  We all were in teams and each of us were responsible for 1 step in the process.  In just over an hour we were able to put together enough meals to feed 300 people.

Build a Bike - We were tasked with putting bikes together for selected underprivilaged boys and girls in the area.  It was a lot of fun and we helped complete 10 bikes!

These are just a few ideas to help your guests get to know one another and have some fun in the process.  

 

New Orleans

I love New Orleans for it's abundance of music, food, culture and history. There is so much more to do here than Bourbon Street. 

I think these 3 hotels combine the best of what makes New Orleans one of the best places to meet.

Hotel Monteleone

Hotel Monteleone is an historic landmark in its own right and, like the Cathedral, the Cabildo and other French Quarter landmarks, it has a character all its own. We are just steps away from the Mississippi River, Harrah's Casino, the Aquarium of the Americas, the Superdome and numerous award-winning restaurants.

Take a close look at Hotel Monteleone. You'll see a hotel that combines a legendary history of hospitality with a vibrant contemporary flair and a location that puts you at the very heart of all that is the French Quarter in New Orleans.

International House

New Orleans’ only locally owned, International House is a 4-star full service boutique hotel. We are only 2 blocks from the French Quarter and within walking distance to all of New Orleans’ Downtown and Riverfront attractions as well as world class shopping, dining and museums. Our 113 guest rooms and 4 suites offer remarkably pleasant, soothing spaces in which to relax, sleep, and work. 

Each deluxe room is outfitted with spa-like bathrooms, Aveda bath amenities, and abundant natural light, ceiling fans, complimentary wireless internet access and free local calls.  Our restaurant, Rambla, serves modern-day celebrations of the Spanish and French influences that continue to shape New Orleans culture. 

Locals and visitors alike have conspired to make Loa, our award-winning lobby bar one of those special places that connect and reconnect them to what New Orleans is all about. Every year thousands of tiny rituals are conducted here to the tune of candlelight, rich textures and colors, and fine libations. In this setting, the cup is truly replete with "spirits" possessed of the power to sharpen the tongue and dull the sword.

JW Marriott 

Sophisticated elegance harmonizing with old-world charm will welcome you to JW Marriott New Orleans. Delight in an abundance of amenities including a rooftop pool, fitness center and wireless internet access in meeting rooms and all public spaces.

Share the energy that New Orleans is known for with your attendees. Create ease and flow before, after, or even between meetings with the use of our Pre-function Space. Perfect for registration, breakouts,meet-and-greets and cocktail hour. Our flexible meeting spaces can be combined or partitioned to accommodate large or small events. Take pleasure in the fact that you and your attendees are just steps from New Orleans’ most sought after attractions.

Food & Beverage Trends For Your Next Meeting, Event or Retreat

Are you looking for something new and different for your next event?

Throw out those banquet menu's you get from your hotel! Meet with your chef and try out some of these great ideas for your next meeting, event or retreat.

Local is Everything

You picked your event location for a reason, right? Make sure you're bringing your guests the very best of what the area has to offer. Create menus that flow with the local trends and even ask your chef if he can use locally grown ingredients for the menu.

Small plates are in! 

Bite sized desserts & appetizers are perfect for guests to enjoy while they're trying to mingle. Some of my favorites are single shrimp on a white spoon, bruschetta, a scallop wrapped in bacon (who doesn't love bacon!) and lemon grass shrimp skewers served in a shot glass. For dessert, try warm house made donuts, chocolate truffles, French macaroons, mini cupcakes and house made cookies.

Don't forget: presentation is as important as food.  

 

Cook with somebody

An interactive lunch or dinner is always fun.  It's a great way for your guests to network and get to know each other.  Work with your chef to create a fun menu that utilizes stations for everyone to rotate to so they can be a part of every step. A flatbread pizza bar is always a sure bet. It is easily adaptable for any of your guests that have special food requests such as vegetarian or gluten free. Be sure to supply a great glass of wine or a cocktail while they prepare their feast.

Contrasting Environments

Get them outside! Using outside spaces to create a change in scenery and a casual dining experience will invigorate your guests especially during multi-day meetings and events.

Go Micro for Max Effect

With the explosion in local microbreweries offering brews that appeal to all tastes; ask your venue if they can make pre-dinner and dinner drinks a local affair. Don't forget about local whiskey, tequila distilleries and small wineries. 

Infused Tea Cocktails

Looking for a different kind of cocktail?

One of the latest trends right now is infused tea cocktails. Think mint, gooseberry, lavender. 

Ask your bartender what special drink they can come up with that works for your guests tastes but that also flows with the theme of your event.

 

You can incorporate just a few of these ideas or all of them at your next meeting, event or retreat.  Your guests will be talking about it long after the event is over and will be looking forward to your next one!

My Top 3 Savannah Hotels

Ahhh, Savannah

If you love southern hospitality then Savannah is the place for you!  I ADORE this city! It is everything you think about when you think "southern hospitality and charm! The riverfront with it's fabulous restaurants and antique shops, the squares or what us "westerners" call parks are charming and you can walk from the riverfront to the famous "Forrest Gump" bench in just a few minutes. This is a city that offers the perfect balance of business and pleasure.  From it's top notch hotel's to it's abundance of historic bed & breakfasts for a more intimate experience and a happening downtown district area, Savannah has everything.

Here are my top three picks for Savannah hotels:

1. Savannah Marriott Riverfront 

Conveniently located on the historic waterfront, the Marriott is connected to the world-famous River Street via the Riverwalk. After a day of meetings, take a stroll through the area to explore the unique downtown and enjoy beautiful squares, historic house museums, art galleries and quaint antique shops.

The Marriott's luxurious accommodations include plush bedding and premier amenities that rival the finest of Savannah hotels. Enjoy renowned service and classic Southern hospitality.

2. The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa

Perfect for creative planning, the Westin boasts an Executive Boardroom, private dining options, and meticulously manicured outdoor lawns.
Rated as one of the top 100 meeting resorts, the newly renovated Westin features completely updated amenities, plus sweeping views of Savannah's historic River Street and the award-winning PGA Championship golf course. When you’re not hard at work, you and your guests can relax in the world-renowned Heavenly Spa by Westin™ or board the free water ferry to explore downtown.  

3. Hyatt Regency Savannah

Share and stimulate ideas at the Hyatt Regency Savannah. Your meetings, conferences, conventions and corporate events come to life in 33,000 square feet of flexible space that can be divided into 13 breakouts and 1,900 square feet of pre-function space. 
I also love the hipper vibe of this resort. Stay and enjoy some drinks at the popular Vu Lounge, or walk down the street to some of the best restaurants and bars in Savannah. 

BONUS: All three of these amazing hotels are less than 10 miles from the airport which makes for a convenient, not to mention inexpensive, cab ride.

What would you do if...?

I'm assuming you've heard about the terrible floods in Texas and Oklahoma the last couple of weeks? Such a tragedy!

I would never want to make light of a situation like this, and my heart goes out to all of those that were affected, but because of what I do for a living, it's natural for my mind to go into meeting mode. What if people had planned meetings or events in that area during that time?

It's unfortunate of course, but these things happen, and it's important to me that if anything like that occurred for you, you were protected. Below are three clauses that I have used and ones that I highly suggest you make sure are included in your next contract: 
 
1. A Force Majeure clause that protects you not just the venue you have chosen.
 
Force Majeure Clause
The performance of this Agreement in whole or part by either party is subject to acts of God, war, civil disorder, terrorism, government regulations, disaster (including but not limited to; fire, flood, severe weather, and earthquake), strikes or work stoppages, curtailment of transportation facilities or any other situation making it inadvisable, commercially impracticable, illegal or impossible to provide the facilities or to hold the meeting, or if more than 25% of the attendees are unable to travel to the event by the second day.
Either party may terminate, suspend or partially perform its obligations under this Agreement without liability for one or more of the foregoing reasons by written notice including email to the other.

2. A Cancellation Clause that benefits both sides in case you are unable to hold the meeting. 

Cancellation Clause
Cancellation charges will be waived if (Company) rebooks a meeting of [an] equal or greater value [meeting] within twelve (12) months of cancellation."

3. A Property Clause that makes sure the property is in the same condition as when you contracted with the property.
 
Property Clause
Group is entitled to site inspection of the Facility one month prior to arrival date to ensure Facility remains of the same standard as at the time of agreement.  Should the Facility not remain at the same standard, Group has the right to cancel agreement with Facility at no cost or penalty.
The special terms provided in this agreement are based on the understanding that the Property will fully perform its obligations in this agreement based upon signature day condition of Property and services offered. If Property fails to perform adequately with respect to condition of Property or services offered theProperty will take reasonable steps in order to reassure Group that it will fulfill the Property’s obligation according to the terms and conditions of this contract. Inadequate performance includes dilapidation of building or reduction in services offered.