Are you planning a corporate incentive trip, retreat, or meeting and need to add a "wow" factor? If you answered yes, below are some unique ways to leverage relationships with your stakeholders, members or sponsors to add more value and to create an unforgettable event!
Create a task force or committee
If you are a member-based organization or have a board of directors, ask them to sit on a committee to provide input on content, location and venues. If you have an executive board or committee, they may have connections that you don’t and will be able to leverage those relationships to not only offer unique venues, but perhaps offer free or discounted space.
For example, if you are hosting an opening reception for a small corporate retreat, maybe someone may want to host the group at their home. This makes for a much more intimate event and allows for more networking than a traditional ballroom or restaurant. You could offer a heavy reception to allow for optimal networking. If you can’t find someone to host, maybe someone you know has connections to a local restaurant for private dining or unique venue. If you are stuck, you may find something really cool on AirBnB.
Leverage your sponsors
Sponsors are more than just companies who give money for logo placement. If you are using sponsorship as part of your event, you should always be looking for partners who offer value to your clients and companies and people you want to be in front of your group. Your sponsors may have venue space or have international offices that can assist in your planning if you are going to a foreign destination. Don’t underestimate the value of in-kind sponsorship – they will probably be eager to help or host your group.
Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) or local Destination Management Company (DMC)
If you don’t have a committee or sponsors or anyone that is willing to assist, than you should be looking to locals on the ground to help amplify your event. CVBs are are quasi-governmental bodies that are funded by local tourism levies and are there to promote their destination for domestic and international meetings and events. Not only are they feet on the ground, they have resources and connections with all the local attractions, venues, hotels and everything you will need. They will also assist in putting together an RFP for your meeting for hotels and other venues to bid on. Destination Management Organizations (DMOs) serve this same purpose.
Not to be confused with a DMO, local destination management companies (DMCs) also have great resources and connections and may have better ideas and resources for creating unique events in great spaces, but keep in mind that DMCs will charge you a fee for their service.
Remember that when you are planning a corporate meeting or event, you are not alone. Get people involved early in the planning stages so they have a vested interested in ensuring the event succeeds. They will be able to help with speaker selection, workshop content and won’t hesitate to utilize their relationships to create an unforgettable event — just don’t forget to recognize them!