While executive travel and incentive programs are often synonymous, the world of executive group travel is redefining meetings well beyond rewards programs. Executive meetings are moving into the luxury market with great results, and experiences are a driving force behind this growing trend. BlueOrange Travel, a New York City-based travel agent specializing in VIP corporate travel, is sharing how luxury experiences are dominating business meetings and redesigning the meeting experience.
The Executive Meeting, Reimagined
Executives are busier than ever. Never-ending to-do lists, juggling work and personal lives, office pressures, and more are all struggling for time and attention. This means that an ordinary and expected executive meeting runs the risk of being forgotten quickly. To battle for attention and impact, luxury meetings are turning toward experiences.
“Luxury, in the form of experiences, has become a driver at all levels of face-to-face events,” Karen Kotowski, president and CEO, Events Industry Council recently told Skift. With experiences, meetings are better able to promote business partners or the exotic destination or to enhance learning and networking experiences.
Social media has also played a role in altering luxury group meetings. Companies have placed an emphasis on long-reaching engagement from their attendees, and are tracking this through social media outlets like Instagram. Experiences that make a lasting impact on the individual–that fuel self worth, inspire or are truly unique– are shown to have mentions and shares on social platforms long after the meeting has ended, extending the investment to the meeting planner and provider.
Shared unique experiences also give strangers something to talk about, and so make networking easy and more natural. Instead of standing around a cocktail reception in a hotel banquet room, meeting attendees can discuss what they did that day and how they felt doing it. Conversation is easily sparked and maintained and can seamlessly tie into business and networking needs. Additionally, natural conversations like this are more memorable, making networking advances last long after the meeting is over.
So what kind of experiences can a meeting attendee expect?
Luxury experiences aren’t limited to spa treatments or ten-course meals anymore. Intead, meetings with luxury elements are likely to contain experiences that attendees wouldn’t sign up for in other circumstances. Limits like the price, time, fear or even the planning aren’t factors when it comes to executive meetings. This means, the choices of what could happen are limitless.
“Luxury now is about customization and the personalization of reaching your audience,” said Tonya Almond, Vice President, Knowledge and Experience at Professional Convention Management Association on Skift. “We want to surprise and delight attendees so they say, ‘Wow, this caught my attention,’ and they talk about the experience.”
From meditation to yoga, healthy food choices, to customizing lotion and shampoo to meet an individual’s needs, wellness retreats are popular with a growing demographic of executives who are putting their bodies and minds first.
People are paying closer attention to where their food comes from and how it is prepared. For this reason, culinary experiences are popular luxury experiences for executive meetings. Some groups go shopping with an executive chef and then help prepare a meal, other attendees might sample speciality cocktails inspired by exotic locations.
Live Learning Experiences
Concerts have always been a popular event for corporate meetings, but the experience trend makes these concerts once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Meeting a popular band on stage before a show or engaging symphony members adds to the concert experience. This approach is popular with a wide range of attendees, making it a successful model
Luxury, executive meetings have been transformed from stiff evenings in reception halls to experiential, bucket-list style events. This makes meetings more memorable, creating a lasting impact for both the attendee and the businesses involved. BlueOrange Travel is ready to help you plan your travel for your next meeting or business trip. Contact us today.