Category Archives: Meeting Planning

Healthy Meetings: The Suite Life

“Spa suites create a relaxing experience where guests can also talk and mingle without having to remain totally in silence,” says Kara Adamson, director of sales and marketing at Auberge du Soleil in Rutherford, Calif. There, Auberge Spa features the luxurious Melisse Suite, a treatment room ideal for up to four that features views of…

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Interview with Karl Hoagland, Chairman Larkspur Hotels & Restaurants Larkspur, Calif.

In 1996 Hoagland branched out on his own, founding Larkspur Hospitality Development & Management Company, where he developed 16 extended-stay properties geared toward business travelers (Larkspur Landing hotels) in suburban California, Oregon and Washington. Larkspur’s portfolio now also encompasses two additional brands: Larkspur Hotels (a three-star brand) and The Larkspur Collection (a premium collection), plus…

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Smart Money: Balancing Act

Hopefully, there is not as much of a sticker shock when you reconcile your meeting budgets, but often—especially in these days of fluctuating rates and taxes—it can be tricky to account for the smaller expenses that quickly add up. “The areas that can really foul you up are taxes and gratuities,” says Bonnie Wallsh, CMP,…

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Box It Up

Restaurants and hotel staff are likewise making economic decisions, turning to seasonal ingredients for their price as well as their taste, eliminating an extra layer of garnish on their towering architectural presentations, using standard—rather than premium—cuts of meat, and reducing portion size. But trimming the expectations of your meeting attendees is another proposition altogether, especially…

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The Incentive Game

As economic bad news continues to batter the U.S., companies of every size in every industry are taking a hard look at what cuts they can make to remain profitable. Planners might be fearful that incentive programs might be on the chopping block, but smart executives may want to think twice before using that red…

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Forget Lowered Expectations

When working on a budget, do you always feel like you could have saved more money? If so, that’s because it is probably true. There are always ways for meeting and event planners to cut costs—and many of them involve working with the venue to scale back what needs to be spent. Sure, for some…

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All for One And One for All

Cowboys and Indians, a rite of passage for millions of children, is often the first role-playing experience they will encounter in their lives. This iconic matchup, of course, is simply one variation of hundreds of scenarios used by children across the globe to bring to life their favorite heroes and villains, but the effect is…

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Political Parties

For a behind-the-scenes look at the Democratic and Republican national conventions, Smart Meetings spoke with key members of both political parties as their events entered the final countdowns. From site selection and lodging coordination to travel and technology details—and, of course, sustainability—we gained a comprehensive perspective on the moving parts behind such massive functions. Our…

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Healthy Meetings: Take a Hike

An excellent option is walking. Along with being good for the body, walking can serve as a wonderful way to allow meeting-goers to explore their venue city and socialize in a way that is healthy, fun and refreshing. Unlike running, which can strain joints and may not be appropriate for all attendees, walking is a…

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Smart Money: Boosting Your Budget

It’s times like these when scrounging up just a few thousand extra dollars for your next event could make all the difference—but where, oh where, to find it? If there’s one thing to keep in mind when answering this question, it’s that your event is a high-value commodity, and plenty of individuals and companies want…

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