The focus is on Wine Country, but selecting the right hotel property for a small luxury corporate event applies to almost any company in the world. For this discussion, corporate events apply to off-site meetings such as: corporate planning meetings, board of director meetings, client entertaining, incentive/recognition programs, team building, and the list can go ad infinitum. However, the right location and hotel property is as critical as the content of the meeting. Just like a realtor tells everyone–it’s all about location; now I also add ambience.
The definition of a hotel can also be misleading. In planning a luxury corporate outing to Napa Valley, realize you have choices: Guest Houses (the upscale category of a B&B), 4 and 5 star Resorts, “In Town” Hotels, and private Estates that come with private chef’s and concierge’s. We will look at all of these in more detail. Just remember, resort’s and spa’s are in the general discussion of hotels in Napa Valley.
An Aldo Gucci quote I often use holds true in selecting any property for a corporate event: “The bitterness of poor quality AV Integrator rooms is remembered long after the sweetness of low price has faded from memory,” Aldo Gucci. So choose wisely relative to the objectives of the event because it pays dividends to expect and demand excellence.
In a moment we will look at some properties that can be used for luxury corporate gatherings (25 and fewer participants) where there is some level of ‘business’ will be conducted. But first go through a little bit of planning because that will drive the requirements of a facility/property. Never research properties or do a site visit, without a precise checklist of your requirements; take notes and log your impressions.
Here are some top-of-mind checklist items you will want to plan around regarding all aspects of hotel selections: (These will get your thought moving in the right direction.)
- Purpose of the meeting-is it a confidential planning meeting, is it vendor appreciation, etc.?
- How large will the attendee list be; will it include spouses/significant other? We only work with groups up to approximately 25 attendees, but when most are going to be couples then this makes a big difference.
- Focus on the desired tone of the anticipated meeting. For example, is it to be casual for its entirety? Are those invited and expected to attend used to formal elegance where a rustic environment would be frowned upon? (Obviously, there are 5 star properties that are a little rustic; based upon a countrified location for example.)
- Are there any security requirements that dictate confidentiality and smaller venues?
- Length of stay.
- Amenity requirements-24 hour room service, pool, exercise room, spa, gourmet restaurant(s).
- Access to appropriate activities for spouse/significant others.
- Assess the meeting facilities and equipment. Let me explain in more detail. Most mass production meeting rooms utilize narrow width tables or large round tables with some type of table covering and a very slightly padded chair. This is not acceptable for luxury corporate meeting. You will need caster/tilting and padded chairs; are these available? Meeting rooms are NOT a one size fits all.
- Accommodations need to be commensurate with socio-economic level of the attendees.