Sensational Destination Meeting Experiences
Sensational, over-the-top, out-of-the-box programs have been an ongoing quest for meeting planners for years. Even if the selected location is absolutely hands down fantastic, planners often struggle with delivering a sensational experience for the attendees. A sea of been-there-done-that, seen it, heard it, can quickly wash out a program particularly if you have a savvy group of travelers.
So how does a meeting planner deliver an exceptional program that ‘wows’ attendees? The answer may be right at your fingertips. Relying on the destination itself to create a one-of-a-kind experience can be the answer to this ongoing quest. Capturing the essence of an area and immersing attendees in its culture can be much easier than one may think. We’ve listed five tips that will help meeting planners deliver a sensational destination meeting experience:
What’s the single most important thing that helps you to enjoy a certain destination? Well according to Successful Meetings Magazine, it’s the process of familiarization. Sharing information about a destination’s culture, history, lifestyle and activities before the program takes place is a great way to set the stage for a program and create that energetic buzz of anticipation.
The intrinsic feature of any destination is its culture. Incorporating a bit of a destination’s culture into your program helps create those treasured memories every group desires. Adding some type of local flavor, whether it is holding your event outside in the natural environment, hiring resident artists or entertainers, adding locally produced wines or farm fresh food can certainly tie in the vibe of an area. But, taking it a step further by involving attendees in the actual experience itself will lead to a cultural connection that boosts the overall destination experience. A visit to a local winery for a wine blending and pairing with locally sourced fare can help boost this connection. Likewise, a beachside event with local watercolor artists inviting guests to add their creative touch to a painting will also build a cultural bond.
Participating in an activity favored by locals or arriving at an event via transportation either unique or preferred by the destination can help immerse a group in the destination’s culture. For example, in Newport Beach, CA guests often take comfortably quiet electric Duffy boats to group friendly restaurants lining the harbor. Groups have been seen riding electric Pedego bikes from the hotel to the event space much like the locals do. In an area that’s surrounded by natural beauty, activities that celebrate the environment and an active outdoors lifestyle can easily grasp the very essence of the destination.
Cuisine and culture seem to go hand-in-hand. According to American Culinary Traveler, more than 60% of travelers prefer a trip that incorporates the inherent flavors of a destination. Look for restaurants that understand the desire for culturally rich cuisine by serving locally grown fare or celebrating local traditions.
All destinations have music that represents their soul. It’s hard to think of Chicago without thinking the blues or Nashville without thinking country. Southern California is identified with ‘surf’ music and most definitely with the Beach Boys. In destinations where resident bands perform regularly at area restaurants, groups may choose to end their evening joining the fun at a locals’ hangout. Utilizing local musicians is a great way to capture the vibe of a destination.
Pulling from the destination itself can prove to be the most effective way to deliver a sensational meeting experience. Where can you find your ideal destination and get up-to-date insider knowledge on an area? Turn to the local DMO, a meeting planner’s best friend. In Newport Beach, CA that local DMO is Visit Newport Beach. With strong relationships, and destination knowledge, Visit Newport Beach can help determine the best fit for your group, simplify the planning process and offer resources to help extend the meeting budget.