From 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.
Dine 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.