Planning a Successful Quarterly Business Meeting
As a foremost event destination, the Hampshire House specializes in making every gathering, whether for a private celebration or corporate meeting, a seamlessly run and pleasurable occasion. Although the process of off-site business meeting planning — especially finding a suitable venue — can feel overwhelming, it becomes simpler if you keep in mind what we call the Three A’s of meeting preparation:
- Affordability: The first consideration when searching for an off-site business meeting venue is your company’s budget for the event. Adhering to a budget will assist in narrowing down venue options and allow you to realistically explore what is available. Look for locations that will provide the best value for your firm’s money. Ask plenty of questions — things like audiovisual fees, taxes and surcharges, and food or drink minimums will affect your bottom line.
Event sites that offer all-inclusive pricing will make the comparison of meeting venues much easier, but you should always find out what all-inclusive actually includes beforehand.
- Accommodations: Within this broadest category of event planning, you should consider the following key issues of guest servicing:
- Accessibility — Is the venue conveniently centrally located for most attendees? For local company gatherings, a meeting place close to the office demonstrates a business’s consideration of its employees. Is sufficient parking available? Are suitable overnight accommodations available nearby for out-of-town guests?
- Space — Can the venue accommodate the number of employees attending? Aside from a large banquet or conference room, are there smaller rooms for break-out discussion groups? Is the space itself suitable for the type of meeting or activity that will be taking place? Remember to not overlook the importance of proper acoustics in keeping attendees attentive and receptive.
- Special Amenities — Does the business meeting venue have the capability to meet any special needs your company may require for its meeting, such as audiovisual equipment, WiFi, notepads/pens, microphones and screens, or projectors?
- Food & Beverages — What are the site’s options for providing food and drink? If your meeting will include a meal, does the venue offer a sufficient variety of high-quality dining choices? Is water, coffee, and/or snacks provided? Can the location accommodate special dietary restrictions? Does the venue provide alcohol?
- Staffing — Will there be sufficient, well-trained staff on-hand to promptly assist guests? Do members of the staff dress neatly and appropriately, and address all guests with friendliness and deference? Can the staff facilitate guest registration check-in, and seating? Ideally, a site’s staff should anticipate any and all needs of the parties being hosted.
- Ambience: The overall atmosphere of a venue should never be underestimated. Ambiance extends beyond the meeting rooms, and includes the maintenance and appearance of the site’s grounds, the safety and attractiveness of the surrounding area or neighborhood, and the aesthetic of the interior décor. Truly premier meeting venues like the Hampshire House have earned their outstanding reputations based on longevity, tradition of quality event hosting, and unique cultural or historical associations.
As the success of any off-site business meeting is largely dependent on attendees feeling comfortable, relaxed, and well-accommodated, choosing the right business meeting venue is critical. At the Hampshire House, we understand the importance of a smoothly run business meeting, and we consider it our privilege to provide a superior and unforgettable experience to every single one of our corporate patrons.
How to Plan Your Dream Engagement Party
The love of your life has just proposed, and you’re on cloud nine as you gaze at the brilliant ring on your finger. This amazing feeling is one you want to share with everyone. Once you can focus again, it’s time to begin planning an engagement party so that the most important people in your life and in your partner’s can meet and get to know each other.
Pick a Party Location: Location is critical when it comes to an engagement party, as it can set the tone for the coming reception and ceremony. Moreover, it is the place that many people in you and your partner’s lives will be meeting for the first time. Envision a location that will be both intimate and upscale, welcoming and sophisticated. Be sure to ask the appropriate questions at prospective venues to ensure that your party will be well-serviced by a helpful host or hostess and a sufficient number of waitstaff. Things to consider include the centrality of the location for your guests, parking availability, the popularity of the location at certain times (to avoid overcrowding), etc.
Invite Your Guests: Depending on your style and the tone you wish to set for the event, you can spread the word with paper invitations or even send e-vites. To avoid the awkwardness and potential hurt feelings of excluding anyone, come up with your wedding guest list (or at least an initial approximation) and use it to select your engagement party attendees. Of course, make sure the venue has room for everyone.
Plan the Menu: With your guest list in hand, it’s time to choose the menu for your engagement party. The menu can be based on the number of guests, the time of day, or your personal preferences. Some couples offer cocktails and appetizers only, while others prefer a full-course meal. Keep in mind that you don’t want to upstage your wedding reception. The primary aim of an engagement party is to provide a relaxing, welcoming atmosphere to allow the people you and your partner care about to meet and get acquainted.
Whether serving only hors d’oeuvres or a full meal, make sure to have enough to satisfy everyone. This is especially important if you plan to include alcohol. Also carefully consider the diversity of your menu and the dietary needs of your guests. Whether for personal, health, or religious reasons, you want to ensure that all of your guests can dine with ease.
Decorate: To help personalize this special gathering, you might decorate the tables with something that you and your partner like, such as lovely floral arrangements, personalized candies (e.g. M&M’s with your initials or even photos), a tasteful runner, etc. And, of course, candles add beauty and romance to any table. If the venue you’ve selected is already gorgeous, you may just want to keep your embellishments to a minimum and enjoy the location’s existing ambiance.
Plan Some Entertainment: Since many of the guests at your engagement party will be meeting for the first time, it helps to plan some games to break the ice. There are a number of fun activities with engagement themes. Here are a few clever ones:
- Play the engagement version of the old TV show, The Newlywed Game, by having the couple stand back-to-back and asking them the same questions. How closely will their answers match?
- Gather up some photos of you and your fiancée and cut them in half so that either the bride- or groom-to-be is in each piece. Have guests pick one photo snippet and challenge them to find the guest who has the other half of that picture.
- Hide a bunch of plastic wedding rings around the room. Whoever finds the most rings by the end to the party is the winner.
The great thing is that even if you don’t know how to plan an engagement party, going ahead with it will give you the confidence and experience to start preparing for a possibly larger and even more involved event — your wedding reception.