At press time, things were simultaneously opening while COVID-19 cases, with the Delta variant spreading, were up, as well. Large events, for some organizations, are still likely some time away. Smaller groups, though – those with attendees who are already working together and fully vaccinated – may be doable. And if so, easier in many ways. With that, a few tips for spending time – a lot of it – with only a few people.
Identify Group Leaders
It matters everywhere, but with a smaller group, where there’s little room for mixing, having a captain or two to lead, energize and (possibly most important) successfully mobilize the mob is helpful. While tight, immoveable itineraries aren’t always doable or desirable, these folks can help get the ball rolling toward the next event or adventure.
Poll the People
Take the groups temperature on food, activities and other essentials that are a little open-ended ahead of time to see where they’d like to go. Do you have bourbon fans? Outdoorsy types? The same sort of tactics can be applied if there’s team building involved. The more attendees excited for the restaurant, activity, meeting topic, speaker, the better the energy and the takeaway.
Divide = Conquer
Meeting together doesn’t mean you’re joined at the hip, having spaces for options – whether that’s a nap or freeform sightseeing, shopping or grabbing a drink with a new business connection – leave it up to the adults and build in alone (or at least away-from-the-group) time. It’s good for you and your colleagues, too!
Leaders Communicate about Money
That’s a good policy for every facet of association management, not the least of which is financial. From staff to members and everyone in between, the impact of the pandemic on your industry and your organization is noteworthy – and should be discussed in the open – along with the strategies you’ve put in place moving forward.
Can you fit new expenses into a budget already compromised by the pandemic and its ongoing effects? Consider whether your organization’s new ideas generate revenue or directly support its objectives before moving forward. Will it generate new memberships? Can you perform now and pay later – and if not, is there a creative way to fund or staff it? Can it wait until 2022?
Contemplating and answering these questions honestly will keep the budget tight and the team (and membership) bonds strong.
The good news: No one is expecting anyone to have foreseen what happened in 2020. Moving forward, information about the association’s financial health should be direct and fact-based – as well as reassuring. And plans clear, concise and perhaps for a time – conservative.
New and Notable
Supreme Digs in San Antonio
Heading into the Alamo City, IHG’s InterContinental will be setting up shop in the former Wyndham San Antonio following a $50 million renovation, looking to open in early 2023 with an eye toward conference planning, Top Hotel News reported recently. With an enviable River Walk location, the 21-story property will offer guests a rooftop pool and sweeping views along with river taxi access as well as 40,000 square feet of meeting space.
Bring ’em to Boerne
The word’s been getting out: The city of Boerne is emerging as a prime Hill Country location. What awaits? The whole of Guadalupe River State Park, for one – and just about 40 minutes’ drive from San Antonio. It’s an ideal day trip, for natural pursuits as well as antiquing, spa or dining pursuits (perhaps a combination of all three since just choosing one may prove difficult?) where Southern fare and craft beer or cocktails are easy spoils with just a smattering of research.
Smoke, Suds & Stronger in Corpus Christi
Neuces Brewing Company’s been around since 2019 but it took a global pandemic to push them to putting smokers in the parking lot. It was a tactic many brewery- or bar-based businesses used to stay open, since restaurants were deemed essential, one that’s since paid off as locals have been enjoying quality Q since. Bring your guests to sample suds alongside smoked meats, a Texas tradition if ever there was – even if it’s not an old one at Neuces.
Photo credit: iStock.com/Yuri Arcurs