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Tis the Season: Six Tips to Bring the Holidays in to Your Winter Meeting

It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but the holidays can also be hectic—particularly for planners tasked with pulling together a year-end meeting. That said, timing an event during the winter holidays has its strategic advantages as well. Meeting experts at Turning Stone Resort Casino have gathered a few of their best ideas for leveraging the season’s festive atmosphere to create more value for your guests.

  1. Embrace the extra décor. From boughs and bows to menorahs and Christmas trees, hotels deck their halls for the holidays, giving an instant celebratory ambience to seasonal events. And that’s a gift to meeting planners, who can then shift some of their budget from décor to enhanced F&B. In addition to the traditional trimmings, Turning Stone Resort Casino pulls out all the stops with its annual Gingerbread Village—27 separate, edible structures that have made Forbes Travel Guide’s list of “9 Incredible Gingerbread Houses at Luxe Hotels”—and a spectacular ice sculpture display in the Crescent Courtyard.
  2. Piggyback on the hotel’s own holiday events and activities. From tree lighting ceremonies to holiday movies to carolers in the lobby, your meeting site likely has its own calendar of events for the holiday season. Plan around it so your attendees can take part in the fun. Groups meeting at Turning Stone can take advantage of the presence of Santa and Friends to arrange an appearance by the jolly one himself at a team breakfast. Groups are also welcome at the resort’s Holiday Paint a Pint, where they can decorate a pint glass as they enjoy a brew or two.
  3. Give team-building a holiday touch. With the season’s focus on connection, the holidays are the perfect time for team-building. A collaborative holiday cookie decorating contest is just one idea that can be easily incorporated into the agenda. For something more meaningful, consider finding an opportunity for the group to volunteer in the community around your meeting destination—perhaps a local soup kitchen or toy drive.
  4. Add festive flair to your event menus. Work with the hotel’s food and beverage team to give meals and receptions a holiday flavor. Sparkling wines and a seasonal mocktail add a celebratory touch to an elegant reception, while a hot cocoa bar with add-ons like marshmallows, whipped cream and crushed candy canes (don’t forget options for spiking!) ramps up the fun. Boozy milkshakes—a popular option at Upstate Tavern, one of 13 dining venues at Turning Stone—are another festive beverage choice.
  5. ’Tis the season to shop. Help your attendees tackle their holiday gift lists by arranging an outing to a local shopping destination. You might also see if you can arrange a discount for your group at any onsite shops, whether it’s the lobby gift store, pro shop or spa boutique.
  6. Treat them to a holiday show. Whether you have booked a resort with its own entertainment venue or a city center hotel near everything from black-box theaters to world-class concert halls, there’s bound to be a holiday-themed concert or show within reach of your meeting site. Take advantage of group rates to score tickets for your attendees and make it an evening (or matinee) to remember.

Need more inspiration? The event specialists at Turning Stone Resort Casino are full of great ideas to make your meetings stand out. Follow us @TURNINGSTONE for more!

Call 800.771.7711 or 315.361.7910 to book a meeting with an Event Specialist today.

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