NOV 2017

ConventionSouth magazine is the leading resource for meeting planners who book all types of events, conventions, conferences and group travel in the south.

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⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 7 w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 24 GOLF, RECREATION & RELATIONSHIPS "Utilizing the outdoors provides an unbiased surrounding with no walls or enclosed areas, allowing for our guests to have an open-minded approach to the activity, as well as connecting with team members in a new environment outside of the office," said Doug Camp, director of sales and marketing for Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg, Va. This alternative to traditional work and meet- ing spaces encourages discussion and lends itself to better relationship building "because people are unglued from their day-to-day work, com- puters and iPhones, and actually spending time conversing with one another," said Tony Fitzjohn, director of group sales at Ponte Vedra Inn & Club in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Recalling a recent event hosted by Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance for the company's top performers, Fitzjohn said that the program was built around outdoor activities, including an eve- ning reception and dinner which took place on the lawn area overlooking the golf course. "The group had Jenga ® and corn-hole contests along with Shoot for the Pin [golf challenges]," he said. "The meeting planner was thrilled with the way the guests were so comfortable with each other which led to incredible interaction with each other." Recognizing the contributions outdoor spaces can bring to meetings and guest experiences, Mike Williams, managing director of Flori- da-based Innisbrook Golf Resort, noted that the owners built the resort with a twist toward the outdoors in 1970. "We have outdoor venues just about everywhere you look. Every restaurant, every meeting facility has outdoor patios, outdoor balconies, outdoor decks," he said, explaining that it is all designed to get people out of their rooms. "As we en- gage our guests, our convention attendees and members in outdoor activities, it builds networking; it builds team building; it inspires confidence in their co-workers or their associates. They get a shared experi- ence that just doesn't take place when you are inside." Savvy meeting planners have long leveraged the power of outdoor expe- riences to elevate meeting experiences. Here are some new takes on traditional approaches, and cre- ative trends and ideas for incorporating the power of nature into your next event. Traditional Approaches & New Twists Golf and relationship building are synonymous in the business world, and golf resorts and other properties with access to championship courses are often go-to options for meeting planners look- ing for compatible outdoor recreation. Missouri's Big Cedar Lodge is expanding on the concept of golf-based relationship building and its commitment to promoting outdoor ac- tivity. Already home to world-class golf and a full array of outdoor recreation options, in 2019 the 4,600-acre lakeside retreat will introduce the first completed, fully public-access course in the world designed by Tiger Woods' design firm, TGR Design. Part of a collaboration with Bass Pro Shops' founder Johnny Morris, the Payne's Valley Golf Course will honor the late Payne Stewart and is built on a desire to help families – especially youth – spend time enjoying nature and the great outdoors. "Our entire philosophy as a company and my personal passion is about connecting people to nature through fishing, hunting, boating, golf and other outdoor recreational activities," said Morris. "We need to do everything we can to get kids out- doors at an early age so they can discover the lifelong gift that nature provides us – plus they'll have a whole lot of fun!" The new course will complement the resort's Hole #2 of Island Course at Innisbrook, a Salamander Resort, in Palm Harbor, Fla. Coffee break at The Ponte Vedra Inn & Club, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

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