We may not be able to buy happiness, but shopping does offer an uplifting experience for many and malls have perfected the art of entertaining large, diverse groups. Event planners can take advantage of the unique landscapes offered by stores large and small to bring people together and add a dash of retail therapy. Here are five ways to borrow that boutique vibe for your next event.
1. Program Progressive Trend Setting
Blend food, fashion and fun by planning a progressive fashion demonstration. Concierges at Fashion Island in Orange County, California, can set up demonstrations giving updates on the season’s newest trends. Attendees can sip mimosas in Victoria’s Secret, nibble on scones in the shoe department at Bloomie’s and have a healthy lunch served up in the center court while watching a fashion show. A gift certificate redeemable at any store in the center allows each person to find a treasure to take home as a wearable memory.
2. Throw a Pamper Party
A department store can be the perfect place for a mani-pedi, blow-out and shopping incentive trip. If you stage it at the standard bearer for sophistication on Madison Avenue, Barneys New York, you could pair a visit to the Mila Moursi Skin Care Institute with a trunk show and lobster bisque from Freds.
3. Design a Movie-Worthy Scavenger Hunt
Take window shopping to the next level by dividing your group into teams for a selfie scavenger hunt in the happiest browsing place on earth. Disney Springs at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, is the perfect backdrop for larger than life Lego dinos, princesses and Planet Hollywood memorabilia. The themed shops and restaurants make it easy to reinforce your message while adding a little competitive fun to the team building.
4. Launch a Scream-Fest
Modern malls are entertainment venues. They often include theaters and carousels, but some take it to the next level. In addition to 520 stores and 50 restaurants, Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, is home to a seven-acre Nickelodeon Universe amusement park, Smaaaash gaming center, Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium and Moose Mountain Adventure Golf. An easy way to plan a carnival-theme event is to give everyone tickets to ride, bring in stuff on a stick—pretzels, corn dogs and popsicles—and watch as the inner children emerge.
5. Go Luxe
When in Vegas, Wynn Esplanade is home to the most Tony of brands—Alexander McQueen, Cartier, Chanel, Chloe, Dior and Givenchy. Attendees can check out the glittering window displays and the purse dogs and then check in to one of Wynn’s master classes to learn everything from dumpling making from a dim sum master chef to the finer points of whisky and cigars from Alastair Menzies. Your group can even master the finer points of dog training (for pups of all sizes) from the manager of K9 operations. Then schedule a private dinner at Sinatra on the patio, under the stars (accommodates up to 60 people).
6. Plot an Old-School Team Building
Add a little history to your excursion at Faneuil Hall Marketplace (Quincy Market) in Boston, Massachusetts. Buildings dating back to 1742 when the founding fathers met there to plot the Revolution will add meaning to and adventure that includes 100 shops with indoor and outdoor dining options and street musicians.