Art of the Meeting: 7 Tips for the Perfect Vail, Colorado, Event

MEETING ROOM #2  1139From an industry trade show for hundreds to wildflower Vail weddings to a group of lawyers from across the country more interested in skiing than meeting, the Antlers at Vail gets all kinds of group requests in the course of a year. Because each group’s needs – from high-tech audiovisual capabilities to catered fine dining to convenient ski storage – are different, we pride ourselves on our personalized – and personal – service for one and all. Along the way, we’ve come up with a few tips for meeting planners to consider when booking a Vail event:

One on One: Want to make sure everything goes perfectly from the first planning stages to the final checkout? Choose a hotel where the person who books your meeting is the one who services it. We can handle up to 100 people comfortably, depending on the type of event, but because we are a smaller venue, the meeting planner has the benefit of one person who can see the group’s experience through from start to finish – they don’t have to track down a separate ‘day of contact’ person from the person who books them, for instance. And details don’t “slip through the cracks.”

Can You Hear Me Now: Make sure a venue’s audiovisual system can handle your technology and presentation needs. While Antlers has just installed an all-new A/V system for winter 2014, hotels with slightly older systems may not be able to sync easily with whatever a presenter might be bringing. And many hotels charge extra for audiovisual services, which are provided by an outside company. At Antlers, it’s all handled in-house without any fees. One additional tip, learned the hard way: When in doubt, put everything on a flash drive that can be easily moved from one computer to another in case of glitches.

Location, Location, Location: The number one rule of real estate applies to group events, too – from meetings and conferences to weddings and reunions. Your attendees or guests will be happiest if they have quick access to an area’s amenities – like the Antlers’ proximity to great restaurants, shops, your morning latte, a bike/hike path, the slopes (the Lionshead Gondola is just yards from our front door), and events from Vail Jazz Fest to the Lionshead Oktoberfest. And for everything else, the free Vail shuttle stops right outside our door.

RAWLINGS_0037Dine Al Fresco: An outdoor dining spot can bring a breath of fresh air to meetings – ask during planning stages if the venue includes the chance to step outside at meals. When you get your lunch at the Antlers (or even your continental breakfast), take it down the steps just outside the conference room and eat poolside, overlooking Gore Creek. Don’t miss the start of your meeting, though.

Fee or Free: Hotel “extras” can increase your bill significantly when each service comes with a price attached. Consider what services your conference-goers might need, including WiFi, parking, or even watching a movie, and ask about hidden charges. The Antlers at Vail prides itself on its many complimentary extras (including unlikely ones like bikes and snowshoes) – so much so that we wrote a separate blog post on the subject.

Community Props: A strong community marketing organization helps conference planners find your community and get the big picture on what the area has to offer. Vail is lucky to have the nonprofit Vail Valley Partnership – a 2012 and 2013 winner with Colorado Meetings + Events magazine for “best destination marketing” – representing the community to groups.

Know Your Audience: Tailoring a meeting for best results can be as easy as having a way to efficiently gather audience responses. Antlers meetings offer polling devices – used successfully with diverse groups including Vail Symposium – that project conveniently graphed results on the screen instantly.

Planning a Vail meeting, conference or group event? Come and check out the Antlers at Vail’s 2,600 square feet of group meeting space with four meeting room options and an executive boardroom. Some groups combine their meeting each day with popular Vail activities such as skiing, golf, or fly-fishing.  In fact, the Antlers has even promoted a scuba exploration course to our groups that was taught in our swimming pool right outside. Have an idea you’d like to try? Just ask. Looking for ideas? Check out our blog posts on past Antlers’ groups.

Full Circle; around the world from Vail and back again.

“Friends are the Family you choose.” That quote is attributed to a lot of people but who said it first I have no idea. When you work for, stay with or visit the Antlers at Vail you become a part of a family much larger than you might realize. Being a relatively new employee here – only 4 years this August- I had no idea what I was really getting myself into. I say only 4 years because our current head housekeeper Lora Montez has been here at least 38 years her sister Millie Barela was on the original construction clean-up crew in 1972 before becoming head housekeeper for 32 years. Rob LeVine our General Manager has been here 35 this year. A few have been here between 20-25 years! Like Randi Davis our Controller has 26 years under her belt and Gladys Villeda one of our housekeeping supervisors is going 25 years strong! I really could go on but that is a blog for another time!

Millie, Gladys and Martha 2000

Millie, Gladys and Martha 2000

The great thing is when people leave, especially former employees, they tend to come back and you get to meet a lot of “family” members. And everyone always has a story to share whether it be reminicing about their days at the the Antlers or what has transpired since. I had the chance to meet, very briefly, a member of the Antlers family yesterday Polly Letofsky. Polly worked at the Antlers in the late 90’s doing the very job I do now, conference services. She left the Antlers to embark on a journey to walk around the world. More importantly I was able to hear her speak this morning. Polly is in town giving a presentation for one of the many Colorado Municipal League Conference  sessions going on this week. She is very fun and has some great stories to tell about her adventure. I didn’t get to hear all of her presentation though because I was after all suppose to be working! (Shhh don’t tell anyone I played hooky for about 30 minutes).

“Polly left her home and headed west across 4 continents and over 14,000 miles – by foot – to become the first woman to walk around the world. As an awareness campaign for breast cancer, strangers welcomed her into their homes. But it was never an easy road; Polly struggled with earthquakes, muggings, languages, even religious riots”. This is one story worth hearing, knowing and sharing!

Polly at the Antlers Employee Party 1999

Polly at the Antlers Employee Party 1999

I guess I have some pretty big shoes to fill! I don’t have any currently plans to walk around the world but you never know, life can take you places you never saw coming. Listening to Polly talk about her adventure is inspirational to say the least, and very entertaining.
Katie Nelson,
Conference Services Manager – (Future achievements currently unknown but unlimited)