@MPIGNY- Fall 2013 - (Page 22)

#feature GOLF + MEETINGS = GREAT BUSINESS BY AMY DREW THOMPSON ‘C an we have work outside today?’ It’s not something you often hear (with any seriousness, anyway) around the office, but sometimes, the best way to get a group to concentrate is to remove them from the every day and plunk them down into something special, a place where the objective – even if it’s just a game – becomes an experience that builds camaraderie and teamwork. “There’s no other sport where you get to spend one-on-one time driving around with another player,” notes Mark Goodwin, director of group sales for the Sea Pines Resort (www.seapines.com) in Hilton Head, S.C. “Golf gives you an opportunity to get away from the business talk, to learn more about your customers or colleagues on a personalized basis.” Planners, he believes, should take note. Business & Golf: A Natural Twosome The golf course is a perfect setting to develop business relationships says David Stivers, executive vice president, brand management, for the Pebble Beach Company (www.pebblebeach. com). “Hours shared during a round mark the beginning of countless friendships, collaborations, referrals,” he notes. “Successful executives contend that some of their most effective sales calls and best deals happened not in the boardroom, but on the golf course.” At the La Costa Resort & Spa (www. lacosta.com) in Carlsbad, Calif., “Fresh Air Meets Fresh Thinking” is a key philosophy, says James Hochrine, 22 @MPIGNY FALL 2013 assistant director of golf. “We encourage planners to take advantage of the San Diego climate.” As in grammar school, injecting a bit of “recess” into the mix affords attendees not only face-time with contacts, but a break from the boardroom. Time spent outside, many believe, makes it easier to stay focused inside. Indeed, lush fairways are an alluring carrot, but, Goodwin adds, even groups that don’t play can benefit. Many of Sea Pines’ clients don’t do golf events at all. “[Some planners] select us because although golf no longer fits into their budget … they find [our location] helps drive meeting attendance. It really helps from an attrition standpoint.” cocktail party. I’ve never met someone who can’t hit the ball with a putter; it brings non-golfers into play and gets attendees out of the meeting room and into the fresh air for some hors d’oevres.” Little things, too, says Scott Selvaggi, director of sales and marketing for the Renaissance World Golf Village Resort and Convention Center (www.worldgolfrenaissance.com) in St. Augustine, Fla., can make all the difference in making groups feel welcome. “Cold, fresh apples on the first and 10th holes for the golfers are a nice touch offered at both our courses.” Planning for Golf? Golf for All Traditional golf notwithstanding, coursebased meetings need not intimidate novices. Many properties are equipped to handle a cross-section of players with creative games that even things out. At the Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort (www.sandestin.com) in Destin, Fla., conference professionals are happy to tailor customize team-building ideas to fit any group. “Variety and options are key,” says Penny Jackson, Sandestin’s director of group sales. “With corporate meetings, many attendees are experienced golfers while others have never played. Planners should look for properties that cater to every level.” Among Sandestin’s popular activities is Night Golf, where twoperson teams navigate the course with a glow-in-the-dark ball. At Sea Pines, they might use the driving range for a private event. “Or we can shut down the putting green, put a windmill out there and make a miniputt-putt course in conjunction with a If so, says Hochrine, “Consider course size, availability and recognition, playability for all levels and amenities like practice facilities, space usage, location and carts.” And of course, look beyond the obvious. “What’s available for your attendees besides golf?” asks Sandestin’s Jackson. Above all, remember that every attendee, not just the serious golfers, can be made to feel a part of the event. At Sea Pines, Goodwin says they like to mix things up. “Instead of doing a longest drive contest, we’ll paint a line down the middle of the fairway and do straightest drive. Whichever ball is closest to the line, regardless of distance, wins.” Of course, in business and in golf, a sense of humor never hurts, either. “We’ll always have a prize for the lastplace team,” Goodwin jokes. “We might give away a tennis racquet and a sleeve of balls…. You know, maybe golf’s not your thing. It creates a good chuckle in the room and brings everyone back into the spirit of the event – together.” @ http://www.worldgolfrenaissance.com http://www.seapines.com http://www.sandestin.com http://www.pebblebeach.com http://www.lacosta.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of @MPIGNY- Fall 2013

ASK THE BOARD
HAPPENINGS
PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE
T HE RISE OF HOSTED-BUYER PROGRAMS
CRISIS MANAGEMENT FOR MEETINGS
A PITCH, A PUTT AND A PERFECT DAY
MPIGNY @ WEC
MEMBER SPOTLIGHT
MOBILE SOCIAL NETWORKING IMPROVING THE ATTENDEE EXPERIENCE
ACROSS THE POND – AN MPI UK AND IRELAND CHAPTER MEMBER VISITS MPIGNY
NOTES FROM THE FIELD
GOLF + MEETINGS = GREAT BUSINESS
DESTINATION: THE CATSKILLS
NEW MEMBERS
ADVERTISER’S INDEX

@MPIGNY- Fall 2013

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