Getting back to business; tips for delighting attendees

After a couple of years of canceled plans and social distancing, companies are ready to get back to business – the business of networking, entertaining, and engaging, that is. Whether you want to host clients, celebrate a business milestone, or connect better with your team, certain elements are ‘must haves’ for a successful mix of business and pleasure.

Business forecasters estimated that 81% of business meetings in 2022 “have [had] an in-person element.” This trend is likely to continue despite economic hurdles, so it’s even more crucial to find ways to make your event pack a punch. According to an August 2022 article in Forbes, “Every decision—from the venue you choose and the agenda you compile to the technology you implement to execute the event—should flow from your event goals,” states Eran Ben-Shushan, co-founder and CEO of Bizzabo. “It’s tempting to rely on past plans and models, but remember that you’re welcoming attendees into a new world of in-person events with different expectations. Instead of looking backward, move forward with new ideas to delight and engage your attendees.”

When establishing your goals for in-person business events that will be successful – and memorable – consider these top-line planning essentials:
It’s essential to make guests feel comfortable, especially when attendees don’t know each other well. Most companies are opting for casual attire (save that suit and tie for something more formal), so a relaxed setting – particularly one with indoor/outdoor space and plenty of room for breakouts is a great option. Many business gatherings include one or more speakers, but just because there is a presentation of some kind doesn’t mean you need a proper lecture setup.

Food & Drink
Any business function will be successful if attendees are happy with the food and drink options. No need for a stuffy business dinner where guests only get to speak with others at their table; many organizations are opting for better networking options, complete with appetizer stations where guests move around. Bar options should be considered carefully depending on the level of celebration you anticipate. “A holiday celebration for your team might call for an open bar, where a new product launch or networking meeting may call for one or two drink tickets for each attendee,” offered Abby Russo, Brand Manager for Sips @ Piazza Messina.

Your best entertainment is just a great evening spent with colleagues, but the options are endless if you want to spice things up a bit. Interactions around food are popular – whether s’mores around a firepit or topping your pizza or tacos, it’s a ton of fun to play with food. Consider music during happy hour or a casual meal; as long as it doesn’t interfere with conversation, music is a terrific mood lifter that doesn’t come at a high cost.

Bringing in a motivational speaker, or even a comedian, can be a great ice breaker, but many businesses opt for less conventional ways to bring teams together. Consider a yoga session, scavenger hunt, or other physical activity to get the juices flowing, or challenge teams with various games from office trivia to playing “Shark Tank” to pitch new ideas.

Planners can pull all these elements together in one place; Piazza Messina is an ideal setting for any business event. “Our 14-acre property is extremely desirable for business functions of all types,” Abby notes. “A tremendous advantage we have over a hotel or restaurant is our patio and lawn space. Check out our huge lakeside lawn for tug-of-war, a bags tournament, or even badminton or volleyball games,” Abby added. Vendor and networking events work well in the ballroom with plenty of display space, while guests can wander outside for conversation, drinks, and a bite to eat, making full use of the venue. Smaller groups are welcome to hold their business event when Piazza Messina is open for Sips. “We call these Hosted Events, and groups get a semi-private VIP space, plenty of delicious food options, and convenient ways to handle hosted and individual tabs. Plus, you often get free ambiance – live music and a fun crowd – which makes your event more spirited. We love to host small office gatherings up to large corporate events. The best part is you leave all the details to us so you can enjoy the event with your guests. Give us a call to discuss options,” Abby encouraged.

Bookings for Holiday 2022 are filling fast. Contact [email protected] for details.