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Meetings that Capture a Destination’s True Vibe

October 6, 2015

How do you create a truly impressive meeting, one that touches all the senses, invites participation and speaks to the soul of attendees? That’s been an ongoing quest for many meeting planners over the years. The answer may not be in designing over the top events but rather in the ability to incorporate the local flair of a destination delivering the essence that leads to memorable experiences. There are several ways in which a meeting planner can capture a destination’s true vibe. To get the inspiration flowing, we’ve outlined six tips that are sure to infuse your next meeting with the best of your chosen destination:

1) Activities
A meeting comes to life and creates lasting memories when attendees are able to experience all that a destination has to offer. Off site activities and cultural excursions can enhance attendee experience. Meeting planners often strive to incorporate activities that touch all five senses in order to truly embrace the beauty and flavor a destination has to offer. Each destination usually has something that is unique to the area. In Newport Beach, CA for example, attendees have numerous options that showcase the upscale, healthy lifestyle of the area. Venues such as John Wayne’s former yacht, Wild Goose, epitomize the areas ties to Hollywood and it’s celebrity status, while morning yoga onboard paddleboards emphasize the destination’s interest in health and well-being.

2) Art & Culture
Destinations are often identified through their community culture, history and lifestyle. Attendees looking to connect with a community can truly attain an understanding of the destination through local history and interests. Museums, art exhibits, and historical landmarks within the area reveal the destination’s culture. Incorporating these elements into a meeting or event can bring the culture to life ultimately enhances the overall meeting experience.

3) Food & Beverage
Destinations vary not only in their ambiance but also in the food and flavor they present. Tasting the unique food and drink that is indigenous to each destination is a great way to enhance the destination experience. In their own way, each destination is exceptional when it comes to food and drink. A meeting in New Orleans may serve Cajun fare inspired by it’s French heritage, while a meeting in Southern California might celebrate coastal fare with a Spanish influence. The American Culinary Traveler Study states that more than 60% of respondents prefer a trip that incorporates the inherent flavors of a destination. You know a destination understands the desire for local sensations when it has a variety of restaurants serving fare either indigenous to the area or that honors local traditions.

4) Agricultural Tourism or Agritourism
Agritourism or the touring of a destination’s agricultural is quickly becoming a popular trend. Partially driven by the need to support a destination along with the desire to hold eco-friendly and sustainable meetings, many planners have turned to the community’s agriculture in order to portray the uniqueness of a destination. Whether it is through local farms, vineyards, or gardens, excursions to these areas seem to be on the rise as they are a reflection of a destination’s innate beauty. If your destination doesn’t have a nearby farm or vineyard, ask about local Farmer’s Markets, which are a great way to support the local economy. In fact in many areas hotels and restaurants are adding locally grown, farmer’s market fresh ingredients to the menu. This practice has become widely popular in Newport Beach, CA, an area synonymous with healthy living, where a number of hotels and restaurants rely on either their own organic gardens or buy from local organic farms.

5) Local Music
Music can capture the very vibe of a destination. One of the easiest ways to set the stage for your meeting is to highlight the true essence of an area through its sounds. All destinations have music that represents their soul. It’s hard to think of New York without hearing the immortal sounds of New York, New York, or virtually any place in the Caribbean without thinking steel drums or even Reggae. Southern California is usually identified with ‘surf’ music and most definitely with Beach Boys. Utilizing local musicians is a great way to capture the heart of a destination and truly appreciate its culture.

6) Local Speakers
Providing attendees with the opportunity to listen to motivational speakers is a great way to boost their experience. Oftentimes the cost associated with bringing a speaker to your meeting can seem to outweigh the benefits, particularly if the meeting is a relatively quick one. However, some destinations have a higher concentration of speakers local to the area, which means lower costs associated with travel expenses. Knowing the speakers who reside in the area can actual drive the direction or theme of a meeting. Before you decide either against hiring a keynote or, which keynote speaker to book, check to see which speakers are local to the area.

In order to make each experience memorable for attendees, planners are constantly searching for destinations that can leave a lasting impression. Destinations that have diverse offerings, can appeal to a variety of personalities and can touch all five senses are top of the list. So where can you find your ideal destination and get up-to-date insider knowledge on an area? The local DMO or CVB can be a meeting planner’s best friend. With strong relationships, combined destination knowledge and local resources, they can help determine the best fit for your group. Visit Newport Beach is the local DMO for Newport Beach, CA. This comfortably chic resort town located along the Pacific coast hits the mark in all six categories making it easy to capture the true sprit of the destination.

Written by Visit Newport Beach Meetings

As a not-for-profit Destination Marketing Organization (DMO), Visit Newport Beach provides destination expertise, customized site visits, strong partnerships and resources tailored specifically to the needs of meeting planners and their clients.

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