A Meeting to Remember

If you build it, they will come--and actually stay awake, too.
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the November 2008 issue of . Subscribe »

For Pamela Crouser, co-owner of CPrint, an international franchise of printing companies, planning off-site meetings at hotels with franchise associates from around the country is an integral part of the business model. "The meetings are serious because some of the companies that attend are struggling," says Crouser, who owns CPrint with her husband, Thomas. That's why she tries to keep the overall mood as lighthearted as possible.

Those who attend her meetings at the Omni Hotel in Jacksonville, Florida, smell chocolate cookies baking while they talk. There are smooth stones on the meeting tables. "You pick them up and rub them," she says. "You'd be surprised how many people do this." With the hotel's "Sensational Meeting" program, Crouser can also get wheatgrass shots, kumquat trees and an assortment of "sun-splashed Jamaican rhythms" piped into the room.

Meeting spaces at scores of hotels nationwide are being revamped to offer a unique and highly stimulating experience for attendees. Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants offer packages that range from playing with Legos or painter's palettes ("Degrees of Discovery") to playing with Nerf footballs and Twister while snacking on Pop-Tarts and Lucky Charms ("Fun Worship"). At Gansevoort South in Miami, meetings can be held in teepees with pillows, a working fire pit and power shots of vitamin-enriched smoothies. At the Camelback Inn in Scottsdale, Arizona, meeting attendees may be given a "Buddha Board" (whatever you write disappears so you can watch your problems go away).

Does it actually work? According to Mitch Ditkoff, co-founder and president of creative training and consulting firm Idea Champions, there is substance to what may seem to be a superfluous act of limited tangible benefit. "When people see a meeting that isn't like 100 meetings they've been to before, they're refreshed," says Ditkoff. "They say to themselves, 'Ah, this is going to be different.'"

But Ditkoff cautions that simply deciding on a newfangled meeting isn't enough. "Some people will get a room like this and bail out," he says. "Ultimately, the people in that room have to think and collaborate." Translation: If you call the meeting, you can't just sit there tossing a ball against the wall.

More from Entrepreneur

Grow Your Business at Entrepreneur LIVE! Join us on Nov. 16 in Brooklyn, NY, to learn from legends like Danica Patrick and Maria Sharapova, pitch our editors, meet with investors, and potentially walk away with funding!
Register here

One-on-one online sessions with our experts can help you start a business, grow your business, build your brand, fundraise and more.
Book Your Session

Whether you are launching or growing a business, we have all the business tools you need to take your business to the next level, in one place.
Enroll Now

Latest on Entrepreneur

My Queue

There are no Videos in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any video to save to your queue.

There are no Articles in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any article to save to your queue.

There are no Podcasts in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any podcast episode to save to your queue.

You're not following any authors.

Click the Follow button on any author page to keep up with the latest content from your favorite authors.