More and more in today’s world, attendees favor meetings and training sessions in fun, exotic locations – places that facilitate learning during the day and vacationing at night. But what if the budget isn’t big enough for a trip to someplace like Hawaii this year? How do you offer your participants a fun and exciting meeting experience that doesn’t cost the organization an arm and a leg? The answer is simple – chose a location that fits within your budget, then add some fun, local flair to the meeting details!
The selection of food and beverages is an excellent place to start. Promote popular types of cuisine available in the area. For example, if you’re meeting in a location with nearby vineyards, incorporate local wine in to the dining experience. If cupcakes are all the rage at your destination, offer them to attendees instead of your regular run-of-the-mill dessert. Also consider having a popular local bakery or café drop off savories for the seminar attendees to enjoy. Better yet, take your team out for a dinner on the town. Even though these suggestions seem quite simple, they can have a big impact on the way your participants perceive the meeting experience.
Think about showcasing your destination with fun team building events and activities, too. Pick an activity that is unique to the area and you’ll be good to go. This can be something as simple as biking through a nature park or something as complex as an all-day scavenger hunt. If you can’t afford a facilitated activity, don’t sweat it. Set up a simple event at a local park or venue and encourage your team to explore the area. If you show excitement, the participants will as well.
Need more ideas? Go through the meeting planning process and pull out the parts of the program that can be done locally. Favors from local vendors and partnerships with local sponsors are a few additional ways to really feature your venue. Not only will this introduce attendees to the local economy, but it will also give some exposure to local businesses.
When all is said and done, it’s the simple things that make a meeting unique and exciting. Build on the strengths of your meeting location instead of hiding the have-nots. You may not be offering a tropical paradise, but your attendees can still enjoy themselves, their team, and the local environment.
Put your suggestions and ideas for incorporating local flair in the comments below!