The great conference escape
LOOKING FOR INCREASED SALES, HIGHER ENGAGEMENT OR MORE CREATIVE THINKING FROM YOUR STAFF? GETTING YOUR TEAM AWAY FROM THEIR EVERYDAY ENVIRONMENT AND INTO A PURPOSE- BUILT CONFERENCE FACILITY WILL MAKE THE WORLD OF DIFFERENCE.
Many business owners try to hold their staff training, motivation, and business planning sessions within the confines of their premises and people's daily schedules. And then they wonder why they’re not getting the results they hoped for.
Shelley Eastwood, director of sales, conference & incentives at Heritage & CityLife Hotels, firmly believes their investment of time and money would be much better spent utilising a purpose-built offsite facility.
Her argument makes sense: “Getting your team out of their everyday environment removes the distractions, so they will have a better focus on the meeting component. It’s fun and productive to be in a different setting with your colleagues. You’ll see an increase of new ideas, brainstorming and creative thinking, along with stronger comradery.”
In all the ‘busyness’ of today’s business world, it’s easy for managers and business owners to put off team meetings and conference sessions, with the excuse that everyone is just too busy – but Eastwood thinks this is a big mistake.
“We are all time poor these days but taking the time to increase communication amongst team members can secure huge benefits,” she says. “It allows dedicated time to listen to your team in a group setting – and it’s not just the staff members who can learn a lot in the sessions, but the business owner as well.
“It’s here where the business owner can identify training opportunities, focus on current and future needs of the business, set strategy and formulate new ideas for growth in a group setting.”
In terms of planning the off-site sessions, Eastwood’s advice is to ask for feedback from your team on topics they would like tabled, well in advance of the meeting.
“Then set an agenda, share it in advance, keep to the timeline and keep on track to the main purpose of
bringing everyone together.”
So why is business growth so dependent on investing in regular stakeholder meetings and team building sessions?
Eastwood believes there needs to be a high level of engagement, communication, dedication and passion to ensure growth. “It’s very difficult to achieve if you don’t bring the individuals together.
“Your staff are your most precious resource and have valuable insight. Ongoing sessions allow time to identify how the business’s targets are tracking, where to next, and where the training opportunities lie.”
Holding meetings and conferences off-site can also be vital when it comes to staff retention.
“Everyone wants to be part of a team, have input and understand the company’s direction. Call it networking if you will, a social get-together or team building – the fact is that getting everyone together in a fun and relaxed environment is a great way to blow off some steam and get to know one another better,” says Eastwood.
CHOOSE YOUR VENUE WISELY
It’s true that not all meeting venues are created equal – therefore what should a business owner look for in a meeting venue to ensure that the gathering has the best chance of achieving a successful outcome?
Eastwood firmly believes that it’s all about matching the purpose of your meeting to a reputable venue, and this includes location.
“Heritage & CityLife Hotels has a range of locations and properties throughout New Zealand along with experienced staff who can recommend some special touches,” she says.
“Your venue can help with setting the correct environment – considering such things as the room layout, flow of programme, function enhancement, catering format, and recommending outside suppliers, such as activity operators.” To learn more about conferencing at Heritage Hotels, go to https://www.heritagehotels. co.nz/events/conferences