Matchmaker, Matchmaker …
THE WORKING WORLD was evolving pre-pandemic, but COVID surely helped lock the idea of hybrid meetings in place, for economics as much as ease of mind. Despite the logistics involved, planners stand to benefit from the data such events make easy to capture – and the audience. It’s far easier to lure your busiest and farthest-flung members to their laptops than your cross-state or -country location.
One barrier that distance creates is that of networking. When the session ends, those physically at the event can mix and mingle over coffee or drinks, but what of those back home? Planners can offer a central location for remote attendees to “meet” online during transition times – and even include services that connect them to one another with AI-driven tech that matches people by a wide range of factors with outlines that help facilitate discussion before or after meetings or during the break.
Why should those at home miss out on mixers?
IT’S CLICHÉ BUT will remain true in perpetuity in all likelihood: now, more than ever those looking to implement cyberattacks, steal data or sneak into systems via unwitting staffers or members, are out there, stalking.
This means security awareness training should be an ongoing priority for everyone involved in your organization’s tech mix. If you don’t have staff whose sole purpose is keeping an eye on the network, data and apps you and your members use, the establishment of an team within the organization is a solid idea. And their education should be ongoing, to ensure your security evolves along with the methodology of hackers and their malware.
FUNKY VENUES WITH outdoor space where attendees can breathe, literally and figuratively.
On the Roof in Amarillo. You can’t please everyone, or can you? Six Car Pub & Brewery, the downtown area’s first, has a pretty vast menu – pub food, full bar and craft beer. They’ve also got a view, courtesy of the roof deck, which affords some city views and open space in this, the era of perpetual cooties. These days, that is a huge win for planners looking to please. sixcarpub.com
Lakeside in Lubbock. The menu at The Gas Light features a range of passable, shareable bites along with burgers and other fare. But the crowning jewel of this intimate cocktail bar – aside from live entertainment – is the deck out back and its sublime lake view. There’s also a private room available for events. thegaslight.net
Get blue in Midland. Welcome to The Blue Door. It’s sexy, arty, hip, intimate. Staffers craft cocktails by hand – the classics, sure, but here they’re given license on a menu that’s all their own, from spicy ghost pepper-infused offerings to Japanese gin and ginger sips. In a word: creative. There’s outdoor space, too – or you can book the whole joint and make it a private affair. thebluedoormidland.com
Outside in Odessa. Inside, Barrel & Derrick is sleek and warm with soaring ceilings and beautiful lighting, well-appointed in the way you’d expect at a Marriott property (in this case, the Odessa Marriott Hotel & Conference Center). Outside, in a beyond-airy, beautifully green courtyard, your group can mix, mingle and feel comfortable while doing so. barrelandderrick.com
A Pearl in El Paso. Seventeen stories above El Paso, the breezes are sweet, and the vistas are sweeter – city and mountain. Available for private receptions of up to 80, La Perla – a jewel atop The Plaza Hotel – has space in spades and charm that like the view, goes for miles. plazahotelelpaso.com/la-perla