Multiday meetings can be daunting, not merely because attendees are busy juggling the programs in front of them with their responsibilities back at the office, but because fatigue is an all too real possibility.
What better to prevent burnout than creatively planned breaks?
Frequent bits of downtime – or meeting-related outings that get attendees off site – are always engaging, but may not be budget friendly, so try to pepper in smaller time periods wherein guests can restore their focus levels, give them room to move and perhaps even get some fresh air.
Scavenger hunts are old-school, but rebooting them with new spins, whether focused on the meeting’s theme, the day’s goals or even something rooted in your destination, are great ways to shake out the Etch-A-Sketch and leave attendees with a clean slate for the next round of sessions or events.
If your property is well-located, plan ahead with your on-site liaison for a hunt that will not only create fun networking opportunities for your guests, but get them moving through the property with clues, fun facts about your destination, the company, or even one another. For the latter, a short pre-conference survey can help you gather some fun information to include in the hints – ones that turn the crack hunting squads you’ll put together ahead of time into party guests who can share bits about themselves with new connections.
Eyes on the Horizon
If you’re in a cosmopolitan destination – or one with some reasonable landmarks one can spot from the property – get your attendees eyes off the screens and into the distance (studies show we’re all getting more nearsighted from overuse of our devices!). Plan a hunt that gets your attendees to higher ground – this could mean the top floor of the property and if you’re lucky, a terrace, balcony or rooftop bar – to discover the lay of the land. Once they ID the various mountains, buildings, towers, lakes or other landmarks available to incorporate, they can earn their coffee and crullers. And if you can tie the snack into the story of the hunt, even better!
In the City?
If your destination or venue allows, turn your attendees loose for a scavenger hunt that allows them to explore nearby, hitting up various
locations to gather items for an event back at the meeting while learning about the city or neighborhood in which they’re meeting. End the scramble at a cocktail or coffee mixer where the winners can claim prizes and bond over the afternoon’s adventure, sharing what they’ve learned with the group. Peppering in meeting-relevant education will aid in retention and help make the less active sessions easier to absorb, giving your group the focus they need for whatever else you have planned.
Your Budget: Key to Growth
You may already have your organization’s finances accounted for, but is it best positioned for a return on all that investment?
Once you know where the money’s going, gather your best brains and start storming the ROI castle. Questions to bat around include whether there’s more value to be had in your association’s benefits and whether you’re doing all you can to generate non-dues revenue.
Long-term strategies are important, but are there shorter- turnaround ways in which to generate funds? Get on it! Exciting new events or simply even new website offerings can make members feel like their effort and involvement are even more worth the time. Simple tech improvements to features such as job boards can yield a great deal in member satisfaction. And increased engagement is a surefire way to increase revenue, long and short-term.
Where to Stay and Meet
This coastal enclave has hustle and bustle, but there’s stately elegance in spades if you know where to look. And the folks at Texas Monthly have taken notice. Galveston Island’s historic Carr Mansion made the cut for this year’s list of the 10 Best New and Improved Texas Hotels following a detailed refurbishment. Its since rebooted itself as an island B&B, but still offers space for up to 50 for corporate events and other soirees where guests can marvel and mix amid the charm of its Greek Revival style. Third-party vendors welcome.
With so many events and pipeline-related business dealings headed to the burgeoning city, additional hotels will soon be opening for business in Beaumont – each are nearing completion. Come autumn the Days Inn and Avid and Home 2 Suites will bring roughly 240 more rooms to town (there are currently about 3,500).
Houston has continued to see its inventory rise as well, as the AC Hotel opened its doors at the end of July. The 10-story property – formerly the Houston Bar Center Building, boasts 195 rooms. Modernized on the exterior, the renovation hearkened back not to the property’s 105-year-old aesthetic, but the one developed for an earlier renovation in 1966, an example of the post-WWII modernization of older buildings. Its ‘60s Modernist look landed it on the National Register of Historic Place in 2017. Planners take note: the property has two event rooms with a total of 3,900 square feet of space, the largest of which has a capacity of 500.
In this Houston-area hotbed, construction’s already in progress for the Hyatt House Metropark Shenandoah/The Woodlands, an extended-stay property located in neighboring Shenandoah. The five-story property will offer 148 rooms; its planned opening is for November of 2020. Featuring
residentially inspired studios, one- and two-bedroom suites, it will look to serve business travelers with conveniences including a pool and dining options.