Formula for Meeting Success: Team-Building Through Hotel and Destination Offerings

By Laura d'Elsa Regional Director USA / Canada, German Convention Bureau | September 13, 2015

Increasingly, team building activities are being incorporated into meetings and events of all sizes. Hotels are rising to the challenge to deliver quality onsite and offsite activities that leverage hotel and local expertise, and provide meeting attendees something unique and challenging that helps them bond and build trust with one another. As trends in the meetings industry evolve, so, too, do trends in the team-building arena. Smart meeting planners work as early as possible with their hotel partners to ensure that their goals, objectives and budget for the perfect team-building activities are met.

Leveraging onsite hotel and offsite local expertise has become norm for truly successful meetings over the past few years. Today, combining real-world learning with powerful team building exercises is becoming a priority for every meeting planner. After a conference, nothing translates better back at the home office (and bodes well for planning future meetings) than energized employees who have had both practical and inspirational learning experiences while attending a meeting nearby or around the world.

It's about time. It's time because the economy is moving past the challenges of the last several years. Meeting budgets remain intact but meeting planners are tasked to create more interesting meetings. According to Bill McDermott, Global CEO of SAP, the world's largest business software company and author of the book Winners Dream, the meetings industry "is at the forefront of driving growth in the global economy."

It's time because hotels are always looking to bring the freshest elements to their meeting services. Gone are the days of structured meeting rooms, standard catering menus and limited service offerings. Meeting planners want a variety of options, including ways to integrate learning and team-building modules of all sizes and lengths into their programs. Hotels now tout flexibility, innovation and high quality customized service to respond to that challenge.

It's time because meetings have long outgrown their occasional image as beach holidays, no serious business allowed. Today they are packed with lots of ROI -- meaty information, disruptive conversations and developments, and significant opportunities for networking and partnership. Increasingly, they are seen as hot new ways to education and build business, especially with team-building exercises and recreational activities that can have immediate, positive effects on individuals, teams and their performance. In short, meetings with team-building components are game-changers.

Meeting Trends That Affect Team-Building

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Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.