ISES Quick Tips For Event Planners: May

The International Special Events Society (ISES) is the world's largest community of event professionals with over 5,000 members worldwide.

Hosting a special event or retreat in the North Woods of Minnesota? Here a few tips and tricks to make the most of your excursion:
Choose a unique setting – Planners have the productivity of the meeting first and foremost in mind, and in some cases want to ‘out-do’ the previous meeting.  Unique settings go a long way to accomplishing that.  While there are many choices in northern Minnesota, there are a lot of ‘look-a-likes’.  Take care to understand what differentiates one region from another and how unique attributes can be memorable.
Be near recreational activities – Want to make your meeting memorable and productive? A huge factor just might be what your attendees get to do outside the meetings. Professionals have different lifestyles than they did even 10 years ago.  It is not uncommon to see them with several thousand dollars worth of gear strapped to their car, and them itching for the meeting to end so they can get their kayak in the water, or mountain bike on the trail.  These have replaced the golf clubs as the ‘go-to’ recreational activity during retreat free time.
Make sure your attendees have free time for recreation – Un-programmed time to reflect on the day seems to be an unspoken and underappreciated meeting component. Whether it is Brainerd Lakes, the Grand Rapids area, the Boundary Waters or the North Shore, each offers unparalleled opportunity for attendees to have concerted and focused downtime. 
Mind the foodie trends – Diet and eating habits have changed. It’s certainly not fair to say that northern Minnesota has not kept up with the changes, but some destinations have been slower to adapt than others. Culinary competence with a clear understanding that “excess = low engagement” is critical.
Expect the bells and whistles – Northern Minnesota resorts have adapted their facilities to be as relevant to meeting planners as one would expect of an urban, corporate hotel.  The most successful ones have been able to provide the expected level of attributes while still preserving that northern Minnesota charm.
• Deliver on quality team-building experiences – It’s easy for any resort to say that they offer options for team building, but it’s much more difficult for them to actually deliver. Make sure wherever you choose to have your event is able to provide a good mix of creativity, commitment, training and execution.

Emily Corson, ISES member and event planner at Children's Cancer Research Fund, contributed this article with the help of Chuck Paton, general manager at Larsmont Cottages on Lake Superior.
The International Special Events Society (ISES) is the world's largest community of event professionals with over 5,000 members worldwide. The Minnesota Chapter of ISES is comprised of leading professionals in every aspect of the event products and services industries. For more information on how an ISES professional can help you with your event, please contact