We know that first impressions are everything. And with meetings, it’s important to create an unforgettable experience the moment your guests arrive, with fun and unique activities to break the ice and get the creative juices flowing. From welcome gifts filled with local products to curated music playlists, here are five ways to welcome guests with style.
Fun and Fuel
To get in the teamwork frame of mind before hitting the boardroom, start your meeting off with a yoga session. Or, tap into summer camp memories with an afternoon relay race or obstacle course. Afterward, forgo the coffee bar in favor of a pressed juice bar, smoothies or coconut water so guests stay hydrated and alert for brainstorm sessions, and pre-packaged snacks like nuts and crudité for an easy energy boost.
In order to keep energy levels up for a day of meetings, it’s important to skip beverages high in sugar and caffeine which will eventually lead to a crash. Welcome guests with easy to carry and healthy snacks like bottles of fresh honey lavender lemonade adorned with a hand-written note thanking them for attending.
The Hollywood Treatment
Celebrate customer service all-stars with a “Wall of Fame” that features customer reviews and praises of meeting attendees on a step and repeat. They can stroll the red carpet until they reach a section with their name on it, then read the warm words from their customers and take pictures in front of the monument in their honor. They’ll feel like rock stars!
Localize the Swag
Enough with the USBs and branded notebooks, it’s time to give your gift bags an upgrade. At Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt in music-loving Austin, Texas, meeting planners can welcome guests with Townes Van Zandt vinyl records to celebrate the inspiration of the hotel, or with advance notice attendees can get a vinyl from their favorite band or a band that represents their company brand. Other local gifts include bottles or half-bottles of wine from the Willamette Valley at the vino-themed Kimpton Hotel Vintage in Portland, Oregon, or jars of local maple syrup at the Kimpton Taconic Hotel in Manchester, Vermont.
We’ve even created our first-ever Director of Music because we believe every day deserves a soundtrack. The Director of Music not only oversees music programming across all of our hotels, but also helps groups spice up their welcome events with curated playlists that represent their company brand and meeting theme, or simply the favorite songs of meeting attendees. Meeting planners can even go outside the box and organize a welcome jam session with local songwriters and musicians, letting groups compose their own original material.
High Fashion Makeover
Traveling to a different city for days of meetings can be stressful in its own right, so why not make the trip a little easier on your attendees by helping them pack? Instead of having to plan outfits for both day and night, a group at Hotel Van Zandt hired Trunk Club to deliver wardrobe pieces hand-selected by a personal stylist for guests to wear during the meeting. Hand-selected pieces provide a fun, personal touch and are a great gift to surprise your guests with upon arrival. If you have something a little fancier planned, Rent the Runway provides designer gowns and accessories for rent for four to eight days at a time. Companies can provide credits to their meeting attendees before the event, then have their clothing delivered to the hotel, or visit one of the Rent the Runway stores in New York, Chicago, Washington DC and Las Vegas.