Have you heard people say they’re a right-brain or left-brain thinker? Right-brainers tend to be creative and instinctual, left-brainers more analytical and logical. That’s how “Beauty and the Brain” was born. James Rota’s creativity meshes with Christy Lamagna’s strategic thinking to bring a well-rounded approach to events. These columns are designed to highlight both sides of the planning process.
From the Brain: Oftentimes, the goal of a conference is to bring content to an audience. Many times, although well-intentioned, we over schedule general sessions and leave attendees less informed than had we shortened sessions and built in free time.
While we want to bring the audience the most information possible, it’s critical to remember this: The amount of time people spend in one room listening to content doesn’t translate to how much they learn. Figures vary, but it’s generally believed that adults are able to sustain attention on one thing for no more than 40 minutes at a time.
Understanding not just the goal, but the most effective way to reach it, should bring you closer to meaningful, memorable meetings.
From the Beauty: This is how the equation looks from a design perspective.
Sometimes a client requests a venue you know will not fill their needs. Your efforts to guild them elsewhere are met with: “You have moved mountains for us before, make this property work!”
Meeting planners wear many hats, but renovating properties to increase space seems beyond our professional grasp. Or is it? Venues are eager to sign contracts. They need to be just as eager to loosen their rules and be open to using their space differently if it means getting a signed contract.
I faced this challenge not too long ago, so I went into reinvention mode and found a solution with a fresh perspective on how to use a hotel’s footprint to optimize space. I suggested using air-conditioned/heated rental structures on the outdoor spaces around the hotel and that awe partner on the cost. We discussed turning the parking garage into a unique space for social functions. With a good pressure cleaning, creative lighting and dramatic props, it could become an unexpected space.
In fact,one of the hottest venues in Miami, 1111 Lincoln Road, is just that, a parking garage. If your hotel has a covered porte-cochère, ask about hanging fabric panels around the perimeter to create an airy environment. Walk around the hotel and look for public spaces that might be creatively enclosed to fit your needs. If the hotel has a restaurant that’s open only for dinner, ask that it open for your group’s breakfast and lunches, making sure hese meals hit your contracted F&B minimums. This will leave the ballrooms free for breakouts and other gatherings.
If you partner with the right team, mountains can be moved and transformed into wonderful opportunities. By the way, the hotel that challenged me is now selling its space with some of the options we used to make it a perfect fit for my group.