As mentioned earlier this week in Caribbean Independence and Heritage Events, Trinidad and Jamaica are both celebrating the 50th anniversary of their independence this summer and, in the USA, this is National Caribbean-American Heritage Month. The White House briefing took place 2 days ago on June 20, 2012.
This is the perfect summer for group travel to the Caribbean. It's not tool late and there are many summer Caribbean incentive travel benefits. Caribbean corporate event is a great alternative. Regular readers will know that I am from Jamaica. Today I'll share some tips for creating perfect Caribbean corporate and special events.
Pick the Perfect Venue.
A venue with tropical influences provides an ideal backdrop for a spectacular Caribbean event and saves on the cost of decorating. Think local beaches, indoor beaches & waterparks, urban beaches, waterparks, greenhouses, event venues with waterfalls, gardens and atriums.
Pick the Season.
An event this summer provides an opportunity to piggy back on some of the 50th anniversary independence events around the world. Christmas events are always fun and participants will appreciate a taste of the Caribbean when it's snowing outside.
Get Creative with Your Theme
Don't get stuck in a rut. Think galas, carnivals, tea parties with fashion shows, garden parties, barbeques, cooking events, polo, equestrian events, regattas and beach parties. With the Olympics around the corner, a track and field event with teams named after Caribbean nations would be fun. Also, consider themes from some of the popular movies that were filmed in the Caribbean (e.g. Pirates of the Caribbean, James Bond theme based on Dr. No, and Live and Let Die).
For more ideas see:
10 Caribbean Inspired Events Fit for a Prince
Based on what Prince Harry did during his Diamond Jubilee Caribbean Tour.
- 10 Caribbean Inspired Events Fit for a Prince
Pick the culture....or make it multi-cultural.
While Jamaica, Trinidad or Barbados may be obvious choices, consider French (Martinique), Dutch (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao) or Spanish (Puerto Rico) inspired event.
It's always baffling when companies overlook their most valuable resources. If some employees are from the Caribbean, invite them to help with event planning.
Go National or International with Your Decor.
Flag colours are perfect for theming Caribbean events. Incorporate national emblems into your decor (i.e. national bird, coat of arms, national flower).
Here, you can select a country and its national emblems from a drop down menu.
Pick the Perfect Menu.
Your menu will flow from your theme whether it's country specific or multi-cultural.
Jamaica: Patties (cocktail size for galas), Jerk Chicken, Rice & Peas, Ox Tail, Curry Goat; and, for brunch, include the national dish Ackee & Salt Fish. Rum Punch, Ting.
Trinidad: Pilau, Roti, Curried Chicken
Barbados: Coucou & Flying Fish
Puerto Rico: Mofongo, Arroz Con Gandules
Add a Philanthropic Twist.
Raise funds to support a worthwhile charity in your selected "destination".
Play the Music.
Again, let your theme drive your choices.
I just can't picture a Caribbean event without music.
Jamaica: Reggae, Ska, Mento (traditional), Jamaican folk songs
Trinidad: Calypso, Soca, Steel Drums, Throw in some Nicki Minaj (if there will be a lot of younger attendees).
Barbados: Spouge, Anything by Rihanna
Dominican Republic: Merengue
Here is a quick tip. At many hotels, you'll find people from the Caribbean on the culinary team. For example, I was recently at The Breakers and there was staff from Jamaica and Haiti in almost every department. I used to create an authentic Jamaican theme at the Delta Meadowvale Hotel in Mississauga, Ontario as there were a number of Jamaicans on the banquet team.
There is no faster way to loosen up a crowd than with dancing. If your group has great dancers, just provide a dance floor. If they're shy, do a demonstration, get the dancers to choose partners from the audience, and have a dance contest.
For assistance in creating an authentic Caribbean event, use event planners who are originally from the Caribbean. The Event Planning and Event Management Group on LinkedIn has a multi-lingual Caribbean Event Planners Subgroup where you can connect with event planners near you or throughout the Caribbean.
Search the Cvent Supplier Network for Caribbean hotels, resorts, and event venues.
Photo Credit: drifty