- Attendees want to discover destinations
- Connect with CVBs
- Unique venues, dining, and more
According to Lynda Clator, Vice President, Meet Chicago Northwest, Level 257 in Schaumburg, IL, is a really unique meeting and event venue. While the massive 42,000 sq. ft. playground was inspired by PAC-MAN, the experience is playfully sophisticated.
“I started using Meet Chicago Northwest about a year ago from a colleague reference,” said Allison Bianchini, Event Planner, Mar- keting, Medline Industries, Inc. “When it came to my event in June, I immediately reached out to Bren at the CVB.”
Bianchini continued, “As I do not live in the Schaumburg area, I am not always in the know on new venues opening up. Bren reached out to several great choices but ultimately put me in touch with a new venue called Level 257. Their sophisticated and unique take on bowling and an arcade was just the right fit for my corporate group that used their group event night to encourage networking and relaxing. My group truly enjoyed the stylish menu that ranged from classics like wings and pizza to more upscale selections like sushi and steak. The event went off seamlessly, and I plan to use them again for both business and personal events.”
Not only did the Lake Geneva Area CVB (LGCVB) in Wisconsin help a planner in need, they helped out another CVB as well. Nicki Bowling, Marketing Manager - Americas, Vacon, Inc., shared her experience planning a meeting as her company was going through a merger with another company, Danfoss.
“The time came to bring the two great organizations together to start collaborating,” said Bowling. “I was tasked with the coordina- tion and implementation of the Kick-Off Meeting, which included the sales, marketing, and service groups and time was critical.” Lake Geneva was chosen as the host city as it was in the middle of the two North America headquarter locations. Bowling said, “Lake Lawn Resort was chosen as the venue, and I was struggling with finding an exciting teambuilding and memorable dinner event venue for the group.”
Bowling solicited the assistance of her peer and friend, Frost Williams of Visit Milwaukee, who introduced her to Susan Smo- larek and Julie Baron with the LGCVB. “I explained the situa- tion, and they were able to suggest some great restaurants in the area (Popeye’s, The Shore Club), reliable transportation (Jones Motor Coach), entertainment (Todd Donnelly, The Mr. Mey- ers Band), and an awesome teambuilding venue (Lake Geneva Canopy Tours),” said Bowling. “The entire week was truly a great way to bring the teams together and an opportunity to share in new experiences while getting to know one another better. The support of the CVB was key to executing a successful event!”
Bowling continued, “A great event for me can really come down to how great your local CVB is. I rely on their expertise of the area, support of local businesses, and providing me that special lo- cal, native flavor of why their city is so wonderful. One of the best things about traveling is to learn and ‘take in’ the flavor of the local communities. Sharing that with your attendees provides additional excitement during your meeting and leaves lasting memories as it is something they maybe would not have done on their own or have never experienced before.”
According to Liron BenDor, former Vice President of Marketing with the Overland Park CVB, Topgolf Overland Park just opened this summer, and it’s quickly becoming a planner favorite. “The 3-story entertainment venue is a golf driving range... on steroids,” said BenDor. “Think upscale F&B, 102 hitting bay lounges, private banquet space... all within minutes of the Overland Park Conven- tion Center and hotels.” BenDor continued, “The venue is a great alternative to the traditional golf tournament because you don’t have to worry about inclement weather or what to do with attendees who aren’t highly skilled. It’s also a great spot for planners who are seeking a unique and festive space for opening and closing receptions.” Meeting in Ohio? Butler County has a Topgolf as well!
According to Co-founder Greg Tehven, Emerging Prairie is all about creating world-class experiences that honor the unique sense of place in Fargo. Emerging Priarie likes to mix and match venues for their events, taking unique assets, stories, products, and people, and integrating that into the experience.
Tehvan looks at downtown Fargo as a campus. “We use under- utilized spaces, mixing art galleries with coffee shops and music venues,” said Tehvan. “By using multiple venues for the same con- ference, we create mobility for the attendees which leads to more memories for them.”
While Tehvan noted that this approach does take more time and energy, it doesn’t have to cost more. The Misfit Conference
was held in Fargo the last two years and used a variety of venues: a school (Woodrow Wilson School), an art and yoga studio (ecce), a variety store (Zanmbroz), the Plains Art Museum, and the alleys of downtown Fargo. The experience created during that conference led to some attendees extending their stay for a week to take in more of what Fargo had to offer.
The Decision to Attend study conducted earlier this year by IAEE, PCMA, and The Experience Institute®, revealed that, more and more, attendees consider extending their stay or turning their trip into a vacation. Additionally, three-quarters of respondents report they’ll get “out and about” while they’re there (Millennial respondents were even higher at 85%). Throughout the Midwest, cities are becoming destinations and CVBs are ready and waiting to connect you and your attendees to experiences worth coming back for.