CHICAGO—The Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park has designed multiple upgrades to take any meeting from ordinary to extraordinary. Learn how it curates event boosters to fit the personality of the group.
The team sought to put the fun back into meetings, added activities in small doses so that any planner—no matter how short the meeting—could boost the event experience.
“We had a few goals in mind. Our primary motivation as hosts is to create memorable experiences for all of our guests—young or old, traveling at leisure or attending a meeting,” said Michelle Zwirek, director of sales and marketing, Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park. “What we found is that although planners need to stay relevant with programming and immersive experiences, they still need to deliver on the content and the purpose of the meeting. Is there time to play during a one-day meeting?”
Event boosters are a way to dabble into alternative ways of keeping attendees engaged and enhance the guest experience.
“A lot has been written on appealing to millennials, Gen Xers, etc. I think now more than ever planners have a very difficult task of delivering meeting content to all ages and learning styles at the same time. And, they need to do this while trying to convince their company executives that they don’t need a 40-slide PowerPoint deck and pie charts,” she said. “They can provide a platform for delivering content. For example, our Second City Essentials can be tailored to the group, improving workplace communication through improv skills.”
At Fairmont Chicago, the event boosters were designed to be cost effective, available on short notice, in close proximity to save money on transportation, and able to be scaled up or down, ranging from 20-300 attendees or more.
“We immediately thought of the Lakeshore Athletic Club (LAC) and Millennium Park, both adjoining, to inspire us,” she said.
Her personal favorite? The ‘”claim the power” booster, which has a physical component that is a 90-minute self-defense class that can be taught in the studio or in the meeting space. Don’t have time for a 90-minute session? No problem. The facilitator can attend a break, and give a 30-minute express tutorial. A healthy power break is added, including homemade smoothies and protein bars.
“The Lakeshore Athletic Club features the tallest indoor rock climbing wall in the country, and Maggie Daley Park has a great outdoor climbing wall with skyline views. We had to do something involving rock climbing,” she said. “Imagine if you ascend 100 ft. toward your rooftop reception? OK, maybe that’s not for everyone, but even watching a colleague is fun. The LAC has a rooftop reception space that is great for summer. The next day we can rock your break with a candy station that includes pop rock, candy rock and licorice rope. It’s about having fun, creating conversation and engagement.”