Every meeting planner strives to find that unique culinary or interactive experience that will have attendees buzzing. The type of social outing that pushes the envelope, forces people out of their comfort zone (in a good way), and encourages networking.
So, to help you create a buzz-worthy social outing at your next corporate meeting, let’s look beyond the ballroom and create the type of event that will leave attendees talking.
Breathtaking panoramic views can be found at The Sun Dial Restaurant that sits on top of the Westin Peachtree Plaza in downtown Atlanta. The upscale restaurant makes a 360-degree rotation each hour. Diners frequent The Sun Dial to keep tabs on the progress of the new Falcons stadium. Or, you can take things up a notch with Dinner in the Sky. Diners are safely secured in their seats as a crane begins to lift the dining platform 160-feet in the air for a feeling of serene flotation. The masterminds behind this extreme dining experience say it best, “’Floating’ above the ordinary brings a whole new perspective to product launches, consumer promotions, sponsorship activation, corporate engagement, and entertainment in the sky.”
If heights aren’t your thing, perhaps a dining experience hosted 20-feet below sea level is more your style. Subsix, a restaurant located near the PER AQUUM Niyama Resort in Maldives, offers dazzling underwater views of the crystal-clear Indian Ocean. Guests enjoy a glamorous underwater playground dining experience while watching parrotfish, Moorish idols, moray eels, giant groupers, butterflyfish, damselfish, and hawksbill turtles swim by.
When it comes to finding a unique venue, the key is to look for locations guests wouldn’t usually go to on their own. Consider dinner on an exclusive rooftop, rent out a famous landmark like The Varsity, or dine like our ancestors in a private castle.
Venues with the entertainment factor already built in are a great way to generate excitement and foster networking. Places like Top Golf, Comedy Clubs, Concert Venues, or Escape Rooms are all examples of settings where the entertainment is done for you.
Just last year I had the pleasure of being invited to the Garth Brooks concert at Philips Arena by one of our resort partners. Everything from VIP parking to a hospitality suite to food and beverage was taken care of. And with an impeccable view of the stage, I felt like I was at my own private Garth Brooks concert. It was spectacular experience and one I would have never had if I bought tickets on my own.
So, the next time you are planning a social outing for your corporate event, consider what artists are touring through the area and look into booking a VIP experience.
PROGRESSIVE DINNERS AND DINE-AROUNDS
Progressive dinners are an excellent way to get people moving around and intermingling rather than having them sit and talk with the same people all night. There are a few different options on how you can structure the event. One way is to find a location with multiple rooms or levels to host different parts of the evening. Each room or area should host a course with its own unique theme.
Take City Winery Atlanta for example. The group begins with a prohibition themed cocktail hour in The Barrel Room. Next, you’ll make your way back up to The Restaurant for the main course in an urban winery setting followed by dessert and coffee served in the Concert Venue with a private show for the close of the evening.
Alternatively, the more traditional way to do a progressive dinner is by utilizing multiple restaurants in the same area, preferably walking distance from each other. Have marching bands, historians, or comedians join your group on their walk from restaurant to restaurant as a way to build excitement.
Encourage networking and interactions amongst a diverse group of people by using creative ways to break up the cliques. For example, we organized a dine-around one evening in Panama for an incentive program. The night began with a private cocktail reception held at a local rooftop bar overlooking the old city of Casco Viejo. A local Panamanian woman wearing a traditional handmade blouse, known as a mola, walked around the rooftop with a basket full of colorful exotic flowers cradled in her arm. As she approached the different groups of people, she asked the gentleman to pick a flower for their date. When the cocktail hour came to an end, we announced that the flower they chose represented the group they would be dining with that evening.
By making the process of breaking up the cliques interactive and fun, we were able to get the buy-in of our group, which ultimately contributed to a much more successful evening than if we had simply assigned people to various groups.
And there you have it. We hope our examples got your creative juices flowing.
Until next time!