One of my first meetings, many moons ago, was held at the Bahia Hotel in San Diego. It’s also one of my most memorable. It was a religious meeting, for about 200-plus ministers and church leaders and one of those events where so much went right, that those small items that went wrong, were soon forgotten.
The grounds were covered with lush, tropical gardens and many of the guest rooms had balconies and looked out on Mission Bay. Across the street, just a block or two away, sat the public beach along the Pacific Ocean. All in all, a pleasant place to be.
It was also one of those conferences where we made a big change in the program on-the-go. We were scheduled to have lunch in one of the banquet rooms. The room would have been more than fine. It had great atmosphere, beautiful appointments and, best of all, an entire wall of glass doors that opened up onto the hotel’s private beach on Mission Bay.
Nonetheless, the night before this luncheon my CSM came to me and asked, “would you like to move the luncheon to the beach?” Well, duh!
I was based in Boston at the time and many of our attendees had flown from New England and other east coast destinations. A beach lunch in March was a no-brainer.
The hotel put out banquet rounds, folding chairs and enough beach umbrellas to repel any rain that might fall. But the rain didn’t come. The sun shone, the breeze breezed and our attendees ate, with the Bay at their feet and the ocean mist in the air.
For many planners, a major change on-site, at the last minute, is a nightmare waiting to happen. In this instance, the CSM's inspiration made it a dream.
Learn more about thinking outside the box in Event Innovation: Going Against the Grain. Also, don't miss Cvent's blogs for event professionals, where you'll be rewarded with new posts (and new ideas) daily: Strategic Meetings Blog, Hospitality Marketing Blog, Web Surveys Blog and Event Planning Blog.