Friday, May 25, 2012

Happy and Healthy

From hot yoga to organic food, our culture has taken a turn for the healthy.  The wellness trend of recent years has grown rapidly and hotels are starting to jump on the ‘wellness bandwagon.’ Spas have become more than just massages and manicures; they are becoming centers for healthy experiences and happiness.  Hotels are encouraging groups to take some time out of their busy schedules, relax, and focus on their well-being by offering unique packages and activities.

The La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, California, has perhaps the most unique wellness feature; the Deepak Chopra Center for Wellbeing.  As the official home of the famous holistic physician, this 28,000-square-foot spa includes a reflexology path and an herb garden along with a full service spa.  La Costa Resort also offers group activities such as yoga classes and exercise and stretch breaks during meetings as well as multiple private courtyard areas with fireplaces.        

In Park City, Utah, the Montage Deer Valley resort will customize your group’s meeting breaks with an excellent array of activities.  Montage Deer Valley offers everything from hiking and biking the trails surrounding the resort to dog sledding, archery, and inner-tubing on the mountains.  The resort also offers a unique exercise in which meeting attendees are taken outside to have a breathing break which can boost creativity, concentration, and stress management.

Whether it is a custom massage package or just a minute to go outside and breathe, more groups are focusing on their attendees’ wellbeing and healthy experiences.  Hotels across the country are now offering a range of wellness activities that allow attendees’ to relieve stress, reenergize, and relax while still attending a successful and productive meeting.  When you are planning your next meeting, be sure to include a breathing break – your attendees will come back feeling refreshed and excited for the next activity!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Risk Management for Successful Meetings

Say you've planned a fun-filled team building event for your company; you know the event inside and out, every second of the day has been accounted for, all details are outlined to a tee, you know the event inside and out and you have a weather backup in the very unlikely event of rain. 

But what would you do if one of your colleagues and guests suddenly collapses? It shouldn't take a catastrophe before we realize the importance of having a risk management plan. 

Barbara Dunn, attorney at law of Howe and Hutton, Ltd has plenty of experience dealing with liability and emergencies. “We've heard it a million times: hope for the best, but plan for the worst”. Dunn recommends going over any risks that many occur at your event upfront. For example, if it’s an older group, the planner should take in account whether or not they are healthy enough to head to a remote location. If the event occurs in extreme heat or altitude, consider the possible issues with serving alcohol. Meeting planners should refer to this checklist to prepare for possible event emergencies: 

1) Identify all potential problems that may occur

2) Assemble a crisis-management team

3) Identify corresponding contingency plans for each risk

4) Check insurance coverage

5) Consult with security personnel at the facility

6) Collect emergency-contact information from attendees

When faced with an emergency it is important to keep everyone calm and act quickly to get the proper authorities involved. If someone is ill or injured, do not hesitate to call for a paramedic. When planning in a hotel or other large facility alert the staff immediately as they can best direct a resume team, law enforcement or fire fighters to the exact location quickly. 

Remember, as a meeting planner it is your responsibility to discuss risk management. At the risk of sounding cliché, it’s better to be safe than sorry. When you are prepared for an unexpected event, it will allow your attendees to keep calm and be at ease knowing that you have everything under control.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Sweet Meetings

Chocolate.  Just the word itself brings to mind happiness and satisfaction. Now, add meetings into the mix – chocolate meetings.  Who wouldn’t want to attend one of those? In Hershey, Pennsylvania, chocolate is king.  Driving into town, you start to smell the chocolate in the air and the scent grows stronger as you near the Hershey Chocolate Factory.  However, there are more than factories and bars (of chocolate, of course!) in this town; there are enticing accommodations and sweet meeting space!

The Hotel Hershey is a four-star, four-diamond property with 276 deluxe guest rooms, three unique restaurants, and boutique shopping.  Guests can also relax in The Spa at Hotel Hershey which specializes in chocolate treatments, like the decadent chocolate facial.  Hotel Hershey offers 25,000 square feet of meeting space with 21 function rooms as well as a meetings cottage, Mountain Laurel, which is removed from all the hustle and bustle of the main hotel.  Mountain Laurel is praised for its central, but private, location, staff attentiveness, and full-service meeting amenities. 

At Hershey Lodge, also located in downtown Hershey, larger groups can enjoy the 665 appealing guest rooms and over 100,000 square feet of meeting space.  Great American Hall is the largest of 35 function rooms and has over 32,000 square feet of space.  For smaller groups, the Cocoa Boardroom can hold 22 people and features state of the art amenities, individual pop up monitors, and a 65-inch plasma touch-screen display. 
There are delights everywhere in Hershey! The town is home to Hershey Park, a family amusement park with multiple rollercoasters, a variety of rides, and entertainment shows.  The park is also home to a zoo, ZOOAMERICA, and a waterpark, The Boardwalk at Hershey Park.  Visitors can also experience the Hershey Chocolate factory, where tours wind through the process of creating delicious treats.   At the end of your factory tour, you may find yourself with a sugary surprise.

For chocolate lovers, there is no better place than Hershey.  Guests wake up to the smell of chocolate with treats in each room at Hotel Hershey. Both hotels offer unique chocolate themed activities, like making s’mores by a fire.  For those who don’t have such a sweet tooth, the beautiful accommodations, amenities and friendly area will still bring a smile to their faces.  Hershey will be sure to bring a unique and sweet spin to your next meeting.

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Friday, May 4, 2012

A Unique Tuscan Village in the Heart of Reno

Where can you find 5 towers with a total of 1,630 rooms (785 suites), 9 unique restaurants, 16 themed bars and lounges, one of the hottest night clubs, convenient shuttle to an international airport, a state of the art fitness center, a Vegas-style casino that includes plenty on non-smoking gaming areas, a 33,000 sq. ft. luxurious spa with the nation’s only caldarium that includes an indoor pool, sundeck and secret garden, four diamond service AND over 106,000 sq. ft. of meeting space all in one place? Only at the Peppermill Resort and Spa in Reno, Nevada. 

Great for large associations, training conferences, sales meetings and incentive travel, The Peppermill was uniquely designed as a conference hotel first and foremost. Attendees can move between meeting rooms, sleeping rooms, recreational activities, restaurants, and bars without ever setting foot in the casino. And with endless entertainment and dining options, there’s no reason for them to ever have to leave the hotel. 

Best of all, the Peppermill is a meeting planner’s dream. There’s always a friendly and knowledgeable staff member ready to help where needed. The expansive and flexible meeting rooms feature state of the art built-in audio visual equipment and the hotel has its own in-house AV department. Free Wi-Fi covers every inch of the property. 

One of the most interesting features is the absolutely luxurious and cutting-edge executive boardroom. Imagine your executive team walking into a 17th-floor reception area with breathtaking views of downtown Reno and the surrounding mountainscapes. Up the glass spiral staircase they will find a 24-seat boardroom table with plenty of outlets, individual controls for pin spot lighting and beautiful leather ergonomic chairs. Floor to ceiling windows provide spectacular views while black out curtains ensure good visibility for the floor to ceiling screen at the front of the room. The room includes two video conferencing systems, each with three large, mounted flat screens and the session chair receives an iPad to control the room’s lighting, temperature and equipment. 

Like the fabulous executive boardroom, nothing on property is short of impressive. And to think it all started with a tiny coffee shop owned by two lifelong friends in 1971. In 1979, they expanded to include gaming and in 1980 they opened some motor lodge units. From there, it has not stopped growing.