Tips for Planning a Corporate Event at a Hotel

Hotels with built-in conference centers are like a one-stop-shop for corporate events. Guest lodging and event activities can be conveniently held under one roof. Plus, these hotels offer a range of in-house restaurants and catering options to meet every need.

hotel ballroom event

While hotel conference centers aren’t the only option to house your corporate events, they are widely available and often flexible enough to fit any budget. But the key is in the details because attendees tend to dismiss these cookie-cutter offerings and lame, boring, and stuffy. So, what can you do to bolster engagement and make your corporate event at a hotel memorable?

Related: Top 5 Creative Catering Ideas for Your Event

Start with Your Audience

It’s marketing 101—and it applies here too. You can’t serve the needs of your audience if you don’t know what they are. When planning your corporate event, it is easy to assume that the goals of the company dictate the offerings at your event. And that is exactly why these types of events come off feeling frumpy and flat of expectations.

What level of employees will attend your event? Is this event for shareholders, management, sales, or a mix of all levels of employees? And what is the purpose of your event? Are you bringing remote teams together in person for networking and collaboration? Are you celebrating successes? Or are you trying to ramp enthusiasm and engagement for a big roll-out?

Whoever your audience is, make sure that you are planning for them. For example, your entry-level employees living on a $20 per hour wage are more likely to find high-end luxury off-putting. As the planner, you might think you are providing a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but the attendees only see a lavish waste of money that doesn’t appeal to their interests and priorities. A big disconnect like that can tank your event quickly and trickle disengagement back into the office. So, party planners should invest in planning events for their intended audiences.

Related: Why You Need Registration Management for Your Next Conference Event

Cover Your Bases (Skip the Extras)

Be prepared for your sit-down with the hotel conference center. Their agile sales staff will be willing and eager to upsell you on their latest money-makers ranging from high-end dining upgrades to boutique attractions. Not every event needs the full-service drinks, dining, and A/V package. Prepare a list of must-haves in advance and let the hotel know what your needs are. Politely decline features and upgrades that will not serve the goals of your event. Most events probably don’t need a techno light show, an ice sculpture, and a private art gallery experience to enrich their event. But if you do, the hotel conference center probably has options to accommodate you at the right price.

DUNAJ AGENCY provides a unique, one-stop solution to amazing corporate events and programs. Planning the details that make events memorable is our specialty. Contact us today to learn more about planning outstanding corporate events.

casino themed event

Choose the Right Hotel

There are probably at least a dozen options in any given area for hotel conference centers. You will spend a significant amount of time comparing apples to oranges in your quest for the venue. Start with your budget first. Hotels are notably classified into three categories: budget-friendly, mid-range, and upscale. Consider the image that you want to project for your event and the budget available and limit your search to options that meet those needs. When it comes down to the details, don’t overlook the availability of accommodations, parking, and proximity to restaurants.

Related: Tips for Hotel Sourcing for a Corporate Event

Reinvent the Experience

From dining to leisure activities, don’t feel boxed into the lack of creativity in the hotel’s sales staff. They are accustomed to selling one thing—space. That means they have pre-packaged options available for room blocks, event space, meeting space, and dining options that leave little room for the imagination.

Shake up the dining plan with small plates instead of seated dinners. Line up a rally of food trucks in the parking lot instead of transporting everyone out to a restaurant. Or offer grab-and-go bento boxes instead of the traditional breakfast buffet.

You’ll plan plenty of business activities between the hours of 8 and 5. But don’t forget that your guests will be here around the clock, and evening hours can be a great time to network on a more casual level. You let them sort it out in the hotel bar, or you can level up your event by providing optional recreational events after hours.

Talk to hotels about the use of outdoor space for breakout activities and casual gatherings. You could offer a fun culinary class or poolside mixology lesson to draw people out of their rooms and bring them together. As long as they gather in the same places, natural networking is bound to occur.

hotel concierge

See It in Person

Keep in mind that hotel sales departments have one goal in mind—to make sales. That means that photos, virtual tours, and other marketing materials are designed to case a venue in the best light possible. We recommend seeing the facilities in person, both during daylight and evening hours. And, if possible, make at least one impromptu visit on the weekend. You’ll get a real view of what you can expect in terms of service and security when you come unannounced. And definitely don’t forget to ask about other events in the hotel and in town during your visit. If there is a nearby campus, parents’ weekends can get pretty rowdy!

The Bottom Line on Planning Successful Corporate Events at a Hotel

Hotels are widely available and well-known for convenient, pre-packaged options that seem to take care of all of the details. The problem is that too many event planners rely on these cookie-cutter solutions and end up with stale corporate events that showcase the lack of ingenuity and creativity that went into it. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use this valuable and budget-friendly event space. It means that you should push back on standardization and look for ways to personalize the experience for your company.

DUNAJ AGENCY is a full-serve corporate event planning agency. We can take care of the details, so you don’t have to. Our team has experience delivering high-value, premium corporate events that exceed expectations every time. Contact us today to get started.

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