LINCOLNSHIRE, IL—Team-building events don’t have to be a chore—or expensive. At the Lincolnshire Marriott Resort here, the hotel staff is tasked with taking the stress out of meeting planning and making it an event employees will actually enjoy.
“We have a wide variety of clientele, from corporate training to annual association learning events, to presentation trade shows, educational seminars and weekend retreats,” said Julie Berry, director of sales & marketing, Lincolnshire Marriott Resort.
Among the key goals for the hotel team is understanding the purpose of the meeting. For example, it could be a leadership training, company merger or product launch. Knowing the purpose helps the salesperson to map out the hotel space and offer suggestions to ensure the client’s mission is successful.
A budget discussion is critical to the outcome of the event. “Most groups have some sort of team-building built within their program,” said Berry. “It could be 15 minutes, it could be 60 minutes, or it could be a half day or even a full day. We also work with our culinary team on creative, cost-effective menus.”
When companies seek out a team-building event on a budget, Berry noted that the team has creative ways to meet the client’s needs and price point. “We work with several companies,” she said. “Although, one of our favorites is Windy City Fieldhouse (WCF Events). They are a team of true professionals who take the time to learn and listen and be creative, from baking competitions to full scavenger hunts.”
On-property amenities add to the fun of team-building at the Lincolnshire Marriott Resort, with an outdoor space with a full picnic setup as well as activities like volleyball, croquet and bocce. There are food trucks, street dancers and chalk artists, too.
“We have had groups build boats out of cardboard boxes, duct tape and cellophane, and try to race them across the pool, and we have groups that will try to drop an egg from our third floor down to the lobby without breaking it with only a box full of straws, tape, cotton, newspaper and popsicle sticks,” she said.
Putting team-building to the test in the kitchen can add lots of fun and laughter, noted Berry. “We have executed several chili cook-offs where groups break up into teams; each team has a colored bandana and needs to create a team name and a sign to hang onto their table,” she said. “Each team has a table with a cooking station outfitted with a burner, pot and utensils, as well as basic ingredients.
“The objective is to make the best chili. The hotel chef judges the event, and participants eat the chili for dinner. There is a moderator who will ask the teams questions; these can be about the company, current events, etc., and the team that answers correctly gets to go to the buffet table that is set up with a variety of ingredients to add to their chili for their own secret recipe. The variety of ingredients is wide, ranging from veggies, beans, meats, condiments even beer and peanut butter. There’s tons of friendly competition,” she said.