When it comes to coordinating a meeting or event, planning is the top priority. The team at Hershey Resorts – comprised of Hershey Lodge, The Hotel Hershey, and Hershey Country Club – offer their eight best practices to make planning a near-seamless experience.
- Early planning is key, so think ahead and be specific. Even though the current planning climate is short-term, it’s still beneficial to have a strong foundation. Starting with the RFP, give as many details as possible. Include strong estimates for meeting space, sleeping rooms, equipment, and activities. If you have your details set early, you have the opportunity to receive more entertainment and activity options, better pricing and an overall better fit for your group.
- When choosing your site, don’t dismiss a location just because the price point is high. If its amenities, service levels, activity offerings and local atmosphere are of better quality than other locations, it will make your event and its results better than choosing a lower priced location. When going on a site tour, ask for a customized visit that goes beyond the four walls of a room. If you feel a high comfort level with the staff after your tour, it will make your site selection process even easier.
- Be flexible with potential dates. If you have more date options, you may have more negotiating power. Sales teams often have dates they need to fill and by shifting your retreat a week or even one day earlier, you might be able to secure a great overnight guestroom rate. That savings could help you land your ideal property or give you more flexibility to add “bonus” activities to your overall program.
- Customize your program based on your audience. Ensure every aspect of your event keeps attendees engaged and meets their needs and goals. Create learning experiences that foster ongoing best practices. Make sure there is something for everyone.
- Incorporate the destination and its unique offerings into the overall program. For example, Hershey The Sweetest Place On Earth has many offerings to make a program memorable. Chocolate is abundant in Hershey – even with team-building activities. The Chocolate Challenge, wine and chocolate pairings and chocolate martini mixology are all-time favorites.
- Have a predetermined and well-defined event agenda. This will help you stay organized throughout the retreat or meeting and will help you stay on track to achieve your goals.
- Measure the success of your meeting through a post-event evaluation. There are many topics to evaluate, including destination, facilities, session quality and speaker quality. It’s also important to do your evaluation in a timely manner. They can be done at the end of each session, at the end of each day or a few days after the entire event. Don’t forget about the type of survey. Think about your group – would they be more inclined to fill out a hand-written paper survey or an electronic version?
- Keep the atmosphere fresh for each meeting. Look back at past events and thoroughly review evaluations. Perhaps you need a new destination or location. If you have a budget that doesn’t allow for big changes, even something as simple as changing the color scheme or setup of the room could make your next retreat livelier.
Hershey, PA maintains the charm of America’s sweetest small town while serving as a convenient meetings destination. Located within a short drive from five of the largest metropolitan areas in the Northeast, Hershey Resorts is comprised of Hershey Lodge and The Hotel Hershey, offering more than 900 guest rooms and 125,000 square feet of flexible function space that can accommodate almost any event.
One of the largest convention resorts in Pennsylvania, Hershey Lodge provides visitors with 665 well-appointed guest rooms, more than 100,000 square feet of flexible meeting space (including three ballrooms and 35 function rooms). Great American Hall is the largest function room, with 32,000 square feet of flexible meeting space. The Cocoa Boardroom, which accommodates 22 people, features state-of-the-art amenities, including a 90-inch plasma touch-screen display.
Hershey Lodge offers five unique dining options. New for 2017 is Fire & Grain, a contemporary American restaurant serving breakfast, dinner, and drinks.
Another recent addition is Hershey’s Water Works at Hershey Lodge. This complex includes two indoor pools, Twizzlers Twists Slides, Reese’s Water Walk, fitness center, arcade, food and beverage offerings and more.
The Hotel Hershey is a four-star, four-diamond historic property overlooking the town of Hershey and offers 276 deluxe guest rooms and 25,000 square feet of meeting space featuring natural lighting. Groups of 10 to 450 can be accommodated throughout 21 function rooms. The Garden Terrace Ballroom is the largest, at 5,490 square feet.
In early 2017, The Hotel Hershey renovated its West Tower guest rooms, Iberian Lounge and Overlook function room.
Also new to Hershey in 2017 is MeltSpa by Hershey day spa. Presented by The Spa At The Hotel Hershey, MeltSpa by Hershey features exclusive Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Treatments and additional services including:
- Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Sugar Scrub
- Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Body Wrap
- Hershey’s Sweet Hands & Feet Dark Chocolate Treatment
Hershey Country Club is also part of Hershey Resorts and offers more than 10,000 square feet of meeting space, including the all-season Picard Grand Pavilion, which provides a scenic view of the East and West golf courses. The Pavilion features a fireplace and removable glass walls for open-air events while providing a unique setting for banquets or tournament activities.
Hershey Destination Services (HDS) is an in-house destination management department who works hand-in-hand with the team at Hershey Resorts. An exclusive service to Hershey Resorts clients, the HDS team will listen, recommend and guide groups through Hershey’s unique venues, various services and endless activity options available throughout Hershey and neighboring Lancaster, Harrisburg and Gettysburg.
The town of Hershey has a rich – and philanthropic – history. In 1909, Milton S. Hershey and his wife, “Kitty,” established Milton Hershey School to provide a home and school for orphaned boys. Today it stands as the Hersheys’ legacy and is the world’s largest residential home and school for boys and girls in financial and social need.
Hershey is centrally located three hours from New York City, two hours from Philadelphia and Washington, 90 minutes from Baltimore and three and a half hours from Pittsburgh. Harrisburg International Airport and Amtrak stations are just 20 minutes from Hershey.
For more information, visit www.HersheyMeetings.com or call 1-866-PA MEETS (726-3387).