Q&A: Stimulating Environments Energize Meetings

Name: Deiter Heigel

Title: General Manager

Organization: Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center Hotel, Illinois

Why the push for stimulating, innovative meeting environments?

Today’s savvy event planners understand the expense of creating current and appealing settings for their events. An environment that is already stimulating and interesting allows planners to focus on presentations, and on exceptional food and beverage experiences.

Everyone has a different learning style. Many times, the key to successfully communicating the meeting message or providing an open learning environment is the setting of the room and the sensory environment. A well-planned and well-executed meeting will always be a memorable event.

How are hotels making their environments more energized for attendees?

Many hotels provide unique settings within the event space and the general hotel. The Renaissance Schaumburg has many of those spaces: the Knowledge Zone, the Studio (surrounded by glass on the three sides) and the Shoreline Stroll.

How can biophilic design help stimulate attendees and enhance their experience at hotels?

In my opinion, any work or meeting space with natural light will create a more positive and productive environment. Incorporating nature and natural features will enhance the positive atmosphere and contribute to a successful event.

At your hotel, you “bring the outside in.” How does this help stimulate and otherwise affect attendees?

At the Renaissance Schaumburg, nature is one of the key elements of the overall design. An abundance of natural light from several lobby skylights, 48-foot clear glass panels, views through the lobby and the open, six-floor atrium create the feeling of “outside” inside. Over a dozen full-size trees, along with many natural plants and the use of natural materials, enhance the sense of a warm spring day, even in the darkest of winter.

For the exterior, the natural wetland ponds and fountains at the entrance of the property were worked into the overall ambiance of the building, while also serving the purpose of preserving the environment. Indigenous foliage is used both outside and inside the property not only to beautify the grounds, but also to benefit how the property functions. For the interior, the trees and flowers help to trap pollutants and oxygenate the air, dualing as a visual and health appeasement.

Why were the meeting rooms given aspirational names?

We believe every meeting has a purpose. The five meeting rooms that constitute the Knowledge Zone were named with the persuasion of an idealist and awe-inspiring meeting. For example, the Perfection Boardroom’s purpose may be for a team to perfect a project, while Connection may be used for networking and imagination may be used for brainstorming. Our ballrooms, Utopia and Nirvana, and our intimate meeting spaces in the Heavenly Zone—Euphoria, Epiphany, Prosperity and Serenity—were dramatically named with words that signal the end result of an event.

Additionally, the three separate sections of the Convention Center—Adventure, Discovery and Exploration—were named for the courageous spirit of the Renaissance target customer: the spontaneous explorer. All of these names are unique to our property.

Nirvana Ballroom features a living wall and work tables with 15-minute timers, comfortable chairs and large screens.

How do they improve the meeting experience?

No matter your group’s size or purpose, a dedicated event team at the Renaissance Schaumburg brings together a feel of the neighborhood with inspired styling of each space, incredible locally sourced catering, and turnkey social breaks to inspire and motivate networking among your guests. The set in Nirvana Ballroom features state-of-the-art technology and modern design, including experiential sensory elements for the table settings, such as intriguing hourglasses, nostalgic writing utensils made of chalk and local Lemonhead candies. These interactive elements keep guests engaged, while elevating the mood and stimulating sensory memory to enhance recall.

How are areas optimized for smaller groups’ needs?

There are many ways to spend time, both by yourself and with others. The idea of the public space design is to incorporate many different meeting options as well as space to just “be”—whether it is the rocking chairs facing east to linger during the sunset, the individual swing chairs to read a book or the communal tables for small group meetings. Step seating is great for team meetings, and so is gathering around the featured oversize fireplace we call Warmth.

See more tips for inspired meetings from hotel partners at smartmeetings.com.

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