Archived Kiawah Tips

Healthy Meetings Toolkit, Part I

In the meetings world, the connection between well-being and personal performance is in the spotlight. Last month, our ProMeetings team was in Las Vegas for IMEX America, where we were excited to see "Be Well" initiatives* at this annual mega trade show for the incentive travel and meetings industry. Healthier attendee experiences can boost energy and focus—and they can be part of every event you plan for your group. This month, we share our team's top ideas to "Stay fit and stay focused." Check back in December for part II, with our tips to "Eat well and meet well."
*Didn't make it to IMEX America? Check out its Be Well program here.

Look and listen during your site visit.

Make sure any venue you're considering is committed to providing "well space" for your meetings. In addition to ergonomic furnishings, good lighting and acoustics are essential. So choose conference spaces that emulate the quality of natural light (or, even better, feature a source of natural light) with extra illumination over work areas to promote focus and productivity. For your acoustics checklist, make sure surfaces are designed to absorb sound, HVAC systems operate quietly and there are no outside or traffic noises to distract your group.

Do a digital detox—and get off your duff.

Hours spent plugged into devices and concentrating on learning presentations can leave your group mentally tired and physically achy from sitting most of the day. Some experts claim that "sitting is the new smoking" (learn more about its risks in this Forbes article), so choose a destination that makes it easy for your group to refresh their minds and stretch their muscles. Morning yoga or stretch breaks, energizing bike rides, a stroll on the beach, revitalizing spa treatments or a challenging round of championship golf are just a few ways our conference guests unplug and make the most of every day on Kiawah Island.

Keep the fresh air/fresh ideas connection in mind.

Artificially heated and cooled meeting rooms can sometimes lead to less-than-optimal air quality and slower-working brains. Make sure you can adjust temperatures to your group's preference and that ventilation is plentiful. Consider taking your breaks outdoors, or even moving your meeting to an outside venue during pleasant weather. Kiawah Island's Grand Lawn, complete with Atlantic Ocean views and breezes, is a favorite spot for our conference guests to meet and mingle.

Create balance in a fast-paced schedule.

All of us instinctively feel better and less stressed when we have access to nature (this article explains that the more tech-driven our lives become, the more we need nature). Seek out calming meeting spaces that incorporate elements of nature in decor and art or with live, indoor plants. Conference destinations like Kiawah Island that are surrounded by nature and wildlife create a feeling of respite and personal relaxation that is an integral part of meeting wellness.

Count on our ProMeetings team to help you stay fit and focused during your next event. We're committed to your healthy lifestyle while staying and meeting on the island. Kiawah's energizing environment includes ten miles of pristine beach, five championship golf courses, two tennis complexes, a five-star spa and endless recreation and eco-adventures.

The Dish: The Latest on F&B for Meetings

This month, we invited the chefs of Kiawah Island Golf Resort to spice up our ProMeetings post. This inspired culinary team isn't just in tune with emerging conference dining trends, they add a special dash of passion and creativity to delight our guests and to make sure those trends support wellness, collaboration and productivity. Check out of chefs' fresh ideas and discover why food is so much more that fuel — it's an amazing way to flavor and inspire your next event.

Spark networking and connection. Count on creative culinary events to bring on the fun - and group interaction. Add a little drama with a high-energy station where a personable chef prepares a local specialty or helps guests craft their own dessert. Host a networking session, perhaps with small plates served in a relaxed setting, where guests can meet up and build relationships. Heat up group camaraderie with the challenge of culinary teambuilding event or wind up your day with a casual wine and microbrew tasting with food pairings. These are just a sampling of ideas that are always popular with groups meeting on Kiawah Island.

Give your meetings a brainy boost. Not only does healthful cuisine satisfy attendees' personal preferences, it's widely recognized that nutritious meals and breaks can enhance learning and performance (learn more in this Harvard Business Review article.) Keep this nutrition-brain connection in mind when planning your meetings and learning sessions. For the Kiawah dining team, "food for thought" inspires healthful and delicious breaks, grazing stations and meals that help keep everyone engaged and energized. Our conference guests find the selections irresistible - and good enough to tweet!

Elevate your event to an experience. Add personality, even a sense of adventure, with unique culinary activities that give your team exhilarating and memorable experiences. A creative venue and planning team can help you brainstorm activities that give your group a fabulous time that's also budget friendly. Here on Kiawah, for example, guests can enjoy a nature excursion with a tasty boxed lunch. Or get a true taste of laid-back coastal South Carolina at our Mingo Point Oyster Roast, featuring a traditional oyster feast and barbecue, complete with live music and a gorgeous backdrop of marsh and Kiawah River views.

Celebrate local, natural and seasonal. Today's attendees value what's authentic and want those experiences integrated into their meetings. Food is the source of amazing stories and insights into local landscapes, culture and traditions. When "farm to fork" is a passion and chefs team up with local farmers and fishermen, the result is an exuberant expression of local flavor and freshness on every plate. Kiawah's chefs proudly craft locally inspired menus that give our guests delicious ways to sample the beauty and bounty of the South Carolina Lowcountry.

The talents of Kiawah's culinary team shine in our catering repertoire and creative menus at more than a dozen restaurants, cafes and lounges around the island. Our conference guests can also enjoy five championship golf courses, two award-winning tennis complexes and endless recreation and eco-adventures. And you can count on the dedicated support of our ProMeetings team through every phase of your event.

To learn more about hosting your next meeting at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, contact our Director of Group Sales, Marty Couch, and his team at 800.576.1585. We're offering special low rates for fall and winter meetings:

The Sanctuary from $199/night on most midweek dates from December 3, 2016 - March 1, 2017.

Villas from $99/night on most dates from November 20, 2016 - March 15, 2017.

Creating Meetings For Different Learning Styles

It’s back-to-school season - a great time for a refresher about how we learn and what meeting planners can do to deliver content that’s effective for all types of learners. Although everyone has a different learning style, well-planned events can engage every individual, spark the group dynamic and assure a great outcome for all. This month, the Kiawah ProMeetings team dons it professor hat and shares a few pointers to liberate the learner in all of us:

Master Learning 101. The science of learning encompasses countless and often complex models, but there are theories that keep learning more understandable and actionable by categorizing it into three major styles:

1. Visual - learn best by seeing pictures and images. These individuals often say: “Let’s take a look at that” or “I see it this way.”

2. Auditory - learn best by hearing, talking and thinking in words. They may say: “Let’s talk about that” or “I hear what you’re saying,”

3. Kinesthetic or tactile - learn best by doing and hands-on experiences. They may say: “Let’s give that a try.”
(Curious to learn more about these styles? Here’s an at-a-glance lesson from academia.)

Create multi sensory sessions. For meetings that engage everyone, it’s important to accommodate all learning styles. Here at Kiawah, we help our clients plan dynamic sessions and work closely with JSAV, our A/V partners, to optimize technology and create innovative presentations that capture attention and involve all participants. Here’s a quick checklist to ensure you tap into each attendee’s learning style:

• Show them. Satisfy visual learners with features like flow charts, colorful diagrams, compelling PowerPoint presentations, videos and opportunities to capture images. If you are presenting, remember this group is engaged by expressive body language and facial expressions.

• Tell them. Keep auditory learners engaged with panel discussions, videos with a soundtrack and opportunities to record key information. Presenters that connect best with this group have polished speaking skills and wrap up with a Q&A session.

• Give them an experience. Involve kinesthetic learners with team activities such as brainstorming sessions, interactive discussions and role-playing. Presenters can involve this group by asking for opinions and answers from their audience.

Keep everyone engaged. No matter how people learn, everyone retains more when they feel connected and involved. To accomplish this for our clients, the Kiawah ProMeetings team can set up novel room configurations to energize presentations, arrange special seating or cafe-style formats to encourage free-flowing discussions or design customized formats for those hands-on sessions. And because learning science tells us that engaged participants stay alert, we also have ways to help groups stay attentive (and have fun) with mini-puzzles, stress balls and colorful markers and paper for doodling. (This Huffington Post article explains why doodling helps everything from learning to creativity).

Let the Kiawah ProMeetings team help you take your meeting, and your group’s satisfaction, to the top of the class. Your attendees can maximize learning in a focused destination that’s won Successful Meetings’ Pinnacle Award fifteen times. Your team will also enjoy the best playground ever in this gorgeous island setting, with amenities that include five championship golf courses, two tennis complexes and endless recreation and eco-adventures.

To find out more about hosting your event at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, contact our Director of Group Sales Marty Couch and his team at 800.576.1585. We're offering special rates for fall and winter meetings:

The Sanctuary from $199/night on most midweek dates from December 3, 2016 - March 1, 2017.

Villas from $99/night on most dates from November 20, 2016 - March 15, 2017.

Business Golf: By the Numbers

There's an upswing in golf meetings and good reasons why the game scores big benefits for business. Did you know an estimated 90% of Fortune 500 CEOs play golf? Among business professionals, 54% consider golf the perfect networking tool, and executives who play golf make 17% more than those who don't.* This is the game where everyone wins, so with the help of Brian Gerard, PGA, Director of Golf for Kiawah's five courses and its golf school, the ProMeetings team put together the top reasons to make your next event a business golf meeting:

1. Everyone is game for golf. Players of all ages, skill levels and athletic abilities can enjoy the game, thanks to the handicap system that establishes an even ground and fun for all. And while many groups look forward to playing the traditional 18 holes on one of Kiawah's championship courses, there are many more possibilities that could hit the sweet spot for your group (see #5 below).

2. Networking? Par for the course. Golf allows plenty of time for relaxed camaraderie, gaining fresh perspectives and talking shop with your fellow players, without the stress and demands of everyday business. It's a chance to build rapport and connection - and a great opportunity to establish or strengthen business relationships and collaborations.

3. Know thy partner. Golf is a fine test of character that rewards those who play with integrity, remain calm under pressure and think strategically (just like business). Playing a round reveals personal qualities and gives you insights to better understand fellow players as colleagues and business partners.

4. Raise the score on teamwork. Many companies find the spirit and values of golf help build teams and strengthen their organization. With many employees working remotely, companies realize that getting their team together is more important than ever. Integrating golf with those meetings adds an element that encourages groups to network and socialize.

5. Aim for fun and variety. Can't fit in 18 holes? No worries. Engage and entertain your group with a break or reception alongside a putting green, where they can pair off and participate in a miniature-golf contest. Or gather the team at the resort's golf school for a low-stress recreational clinic that can meet the needs of beginner through advanced golfers. At Kiawah, we can customize an event especially for your group and agents.

It's a thrill for everyone to play where champions have triumphed, and Kiawah has been privileged to host world-class events and the game's greatest players. Memorable moments include Rory McIlroy's victory at the 2012 PGA Championship and the electrifying 1991 Ryder Cup matches. And we can't wait to host the PGA Championship in 2021! Let us help you plan a golf event to develop your business, build your team or thank your clients and employees. You'll have a choice of five championship courses:

The Ocean Course | Your group can boast about playing this world-renowned Pete Dye design ahead of the 2021 PGA Championship. It's one of only four courses in the U.S. to have hosted every major PGA event. This panoramic oceanfront course has a place on every serious golfer's bucket list.

Turtle Point | Your team will find a true test of their accuracy and mental game on this Jack Nicklaus course. They'll need to keep a sharp focus to excel on its narrow fairways and undersized greens surrounded by thoughtfully placed water hazards and abundant out-of-bounds.

Cougar Point | Golfers can mix things up on Gary Player's Cougar Point with its fantastic variety of short and long par-4s, great risk/reward par-5s and extremely scenic and challenging par-3s.

Oak Point | This Clyde Johnston design re-opened in 2015 after an extensive renovation that included regressing the tees, fairways and greens with Paspalum Platinum, returning greens and tees to their original sizes and shapes and recontouring bunkers and fairways.

Kiawah's premium golf experience extends to its beautiful clubhouses and talented staff of PGA/LPGA Certified Instructors. Add to this the support of Kiawah's dedicated conference team - all in the destination consistently voted among the top golf resorts in the nation - and you've found a winning venue. To learn more about hosting a golf event at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, contact our Director of Group Sales Marty Couch and his team at 800.576.1585. You can also take advantage of incredible savings for your late fall or winter meeting:

Planning Events That Are Easy on the Planet

Green is a favorite color on Kiawah Island and we're not just talking about our lush fairways and maritime forests or hues in the ocean on certain days. We're passionate about green meetings. Sure, you've heard lots about the topic but there's always something new to know about how to shrink our environmental footprint - and make meetings less costly and complex. Check out the fresh ideas from our ProMeetings team in their green meeting checklist:

Pop the green questions: When you're initially looking at meeting destinations, ask the sales team to fill you in on their venue's environmental commitments and certifications. Not sure exactly what to ask? Consider taking Sustainability 101, a quick, self-paced online course offered by the Green Meeting Industry Council. It's real-life examples and practical exercises will have you talking eco-speak in no time.

Say no to epic waste: Our industry's eco-score is improving, thanks to now-standard practices like linen reuse programs and water stations instead of bottled water. Dig a little deeper and identify venues with features like bulk dispensing (instead of individually wrapped items) and effective recycling programs. They work. At Kiawah, for example, we recycle everything from apple cores to wine corks. Even shells from our oyster roasts are redistributed to salt marshes around the island.

Naturally, get the bigger picture: All hotels and resorts can positively impact the natural environment around their property. Look for innovative programs such as Audubon Sanctuary Certification for golf courses and resort grounds, green space preservation and maintenance of habitats for wildlife. Discover what it takes to create greener environments and you'll understand why they're good for the planet - and for people.

Enjoy local flavors: "Farm-to-table" dining is all about food that's sourced locally and in tune with the seasons. It brings freshness and flavor to every plate. But local is also eco-friendly because it supports community farmers, reduces fuel consumption to deliver products and eliminates chemical sprays needed to protect produce for long hauls. Kiawah's chefs can dish on this topic better than we do, so check out what they have to say (and get yourself a delicious recipe too!).

Think eco-friendly fun: Biking, trail walking, paddling, fishing tours and adventures with a naturalist are all exhilarating ways to refresh mind and body and excite your team. After a day of meetings, it's revitalizing to be out in nature, stretching your muscles and using all your senses while you spot birds and wildlife in their natural habitat - and there's zero impact on the environment. Check out all the ways our guests have fun in nature on Kiawah.

Kiawah Island's green meetings combine exceptional value with conference pros who are your "green team" at one of the most beautiful places on the planet. It's also one of the most productive destinations and a multiple winner of Successful Meeting's Pinnacle Award and the Premier Recreation Operation Award. In this gorgeous island setting, amenities include five championship golf courses, two tennis complexes and endless recreation. Enjoy it all - and seasonal savings - before summer slips away. Please contact our Director of Group Sales, Marty Couch, and his team at 800.576.1585 about these very special offers:

Sanctuary Summer Special From $395/night on select midweek dates through August 31, 2016.

Villa Summer Special From $255/night on select dates through August 2016.

Engage Your Group for High-Energy Meetings

As meetings continue to evolve, we're excited about what's new and inspired by inventive ideas. The old "sage from the stage" style has retired (thank goodness), replaced with events designed to boost creativity, communication and results. Looking for ways to reach your goals and keep your meetings fresh and fun? The Kiawah ProMeetings team has you covered with tips for events that are ever-engaging - and never boring:

Mix it up to fire up your team. People want to be active participants, and innovative formats are the tool to transform your event. As you plan your session, share goals with the venue and ask how they can help you increase engagement. Here at Kiawah, for example, we can set up novel room configurations to spark dynamic, free-flowing discussions or assist with a cafe-style format featuring small group rounds to encourage an energizing mash-up of new ideas. And we inspire connection and conversation with indoor (and outdoor) lounge areas featuring comfy furniture, irresistible refreshments and stunning views, plus charging stations to dock those disruptive devices for a while. Face-to-face collaboration is the key, so let's get everyone involved!

Build in opportunities for engagement. Research tells us that participants who feel engaged and connected will retain and implement more of what they learn (more about this here). To create an immersive experience, try a few ideas that have worked well for groups at Kiawah. Successful strategies include crowd polling (the popular Poll Everywhere app works well), buzz groups that break off to generate ideas to present to the larger group and informal learning sessions in relaxed settings outside the conference room. Learning science also tells us that engaging people's senses keeps them alert, so we can help groups stay attentive (and have fun) with Play-Doh or Silly Putty, mini-puzzles, stress balls or colorful markers and paper for doodling (a Wall Street Journal article explains why this works). The ideas may be economical, but an engaged audience is priceless.

Think purposeful play. New experiences energize groups and special traditions can bond teams and build company culture. So partner with your venue to schedule some dedicated time for socializing. You'll reward your team and boost ROI by extending engagement with more time for connection and creativity. A meeting location like Kiawah abounds with opportunities for memorable team experiences, including golf on five championship courses, tennis and paddle sports. Naturally, fun and budget-friendly recreation are built right into an island with a pleasant year-round climate for biking and outdoor activities. Off-island pursuits include nearby historic Charleston, which charms our groups with cobbled streets, graceful architecture and heritage attractions. Add a little gusto and you'll get a positively rewarding event.

Think of the Kiawah Island conference team as your personal consultants in engaging your participants and reaching your goals. We create a paradise for productivity with exceptional value and dedicated support and you benefit from a destination that's won Successful Meeting's Pinnacle Award fifteen times. In this gorgeous island setting, amenities include five championship golf courses, two tennis complexes and endless recreation.

Please contact our Director of Group Sales, Marty Couch, and his team at 800.576.1585 to take advantage of this very special, but limited, summer offer:


What's Unique About "Boutique" Destinations?

Back in January, when our ProMeetings team put together its annual trend-spotting blog, the rise of boutique destinations made our list. Since then, the buzz about this topic has amped up a notch. So let's take a closer look. Just what is a boutique destination? When are these unique venues a smart choice for planners? And how can they make your meetings better? The answers reveal the advantages of meeting a little differently:

Unique is a break from the expected. Think refreshing, exhilarating and intimate experiences. Forget conventional, been-there-done-that venues that could be Anywhere, USA. The trend in personal travel to seek out fresh and genuine experiences is shaping the nature of business travel too. That's why planners are not just looking at what a destination offers, but at what if offers that's different. Choose a venue with memorable character — whether it's a stunning stretch of beach, the culture of a heritage city or an exciting dining scene. Opportunities to discover what's new do more than keep your group satisfied. You'll inspire their minds and spirit too.

Unique can make the difference. Attendees value what's local and authentic and want to integrate these experiences into their meetings. In fact, in a recent Successful Meetings' survey, the "need to create a compelling meeting experience" was fourth on the list of important issues and identified by nearly two-thirds of respondents. A distinctive venue can create those experiences. Here on Kiawah, for example, groups enthusiastically delve into Lowcountry culture as they shuck oysters at a casual riverside oyster roast. They relive glory moments of the PGA Championship or Ryder Cup as they play The Ocean Course or check out memorabilia in the Ryder Cup Bar. They ride a horse-drawn carriage through Charleston's cobbled streets or paddle into the marsh early one morning and see their first-ever great blue heron. Compelling? You bet.

Unique can boost meeting quality. When you step out of your corporate realm for an executive retreat or brainstorming session, you need a setting that's conducive to your mission. Unlike big-brand conference centers that can feel like a parallel corporate environment, unique venues encourage people to relax and ides to flourish. When corporate guests relate their success stories, they tell us the feeling of being on a private island brings new perspective and fresh ways to focus. They enjoy coming together is less structured situations, perhaps even rethinking the conference room completely. Kiawah groups have options to meet outdoors in the fresh Atlantic air, keep dialogue and ideas flowing as they walk a nature trail or clear their minds by cycling through a tranquil setting. These experiences help them feel at their best - and perform at their best.

Unique can be a better value. Savvy planners can have it all - an exceptional destination and an enriching experience that fits their budget. For top value, plan ahead and be flexible with your dates. Ask the venue about time-sensitive rates and dates with more attractive pricing, and keep in mind that the non-cookie-cutter properties are more likely to put together creative, customized packages. Factor in value-added features like complimentary on-property transportation that destinations like Kiawah offer and consider the benefits of working with a staff that takes pride in delivering highly personalized service. A boutique venue can elevate a good meeting to an extraordinary event.

Let our ProMeetings team create an experience your attendees will be buzzing about for yours to come. And check out our offer below for the ultimate boutique meeting at the Five-Star Sanctuary Hotel. When you meet on Kiawah, named among the top three "Best Beach Resorts in the World" by Travel + Leisure, they'll be wowed by the island's setting and amenities, including five championship golf courses, two tennis complexes and endless recreation. And we'll dazzle you with our exceptional value and dedicated support. Please contact our Director of Group Sales, Marty Couch, and his team at 800.576.1585 to take advantage of special summer offers:

Meet Off-Site And Optimize Your Success

When you hold a meeting away from the office, the rewards are huge. Sure, it's easier for everyone to focus when they're free of the day-to-day distractions at the office. But that's just the beginning of the benefits for your group, and your business. From Kiawah's ProMeetings team, here are the payoffs that make off-sites a sound investment for your organization:

Break away for a breakthrough. Think about the last time you had a really BIG idea. Chances are the lightbulb didn't explode brightly when you were in your same-old routine, at your familiar desk, glancing at that everyday view. It's more likely your "aha!" moment struck during an out-of-office meeting or retreat. That's because a new location can shake up our perspective, open our minds and help our brains think in new ways. There's also evidence that brainstorming in person, not over video chat or on the phone, generates more and better ideas, according to research by IMEX and the Meetology® Group. (You can read all about their study here.) In fact, results showed that, on average, face-to-face pairs of participants generated 30 percent more ideas than virtual pairs. Which brings us to our next benefit...

Real communication happens face-to-face. Even as high-tech puts virtual meetings at our fingertips, there are powerful reasons to bring people together. When humans spend one-on-one time together, we pay more attention and can pick up on non-verbal cues - and that's what builds trust, relationships and effective communication. Science corroborates this, and feedback from our clients confirms it, too. They'll tell us their presentations and breakouts were motivating, yet the real value was time their team had to share experiences and get to know each other better. (For the science behind in-person collaboration, Fast Company has a quick and compelling read. Check it out here.) A strong team and a successful organization require personal connections.

Get away to spark collaboration. An inspiring venue can quickly shift your attendees into a new gear from the moment you arrive. Just being in a different and exhilarating atmosphere can create enthusiasm and revitalize your team. An off-site venue also gives you spaces and tech resources to host meetings and events that would be impossible back at the office. For instance, could you meet in a clubhouse filled with the dynamic spirit of PGA Championships, create a pro-level custom video to share session highlights, mix and mingle at a luau by the Atlantic or jump-start your agenda with an invigorating paddle adventure? These are things groups at Kiawah have done to boost camaraderie and teamwork. Participants tell us they feel the difference in their team dynamics when they engage in these energizing locations and activities.

No worries about details or distractions. You bring your team to an off-site venue for a specific purpose, whether it's brainstorming new ideas, making strategic decisions for the future or providing training to build careers. Freeing your team from daily responsibilities so they can focus is the first step. The second is choosing a comprehensive and flexible venue, so every detail - from trouble-free technology to healthful snacks - creates an environment for productivity. Here at Kiawah, the WiFi extends to the beach and there is no limit to how far our professional planners go to make sure all your requirements and expectations are met...and then surpassed.

Let our ProMeetings team optimize your returns on your next off-site meeting. Kiawah Island offers exceptional value, dedicated support and unmatched resort amenities, including five championship golf courses, two tennis complexes and endless recreation. Please contact our Director of Group Sales, Marty Couch, and his team at 800.576.1585. For a limited time, we have savings available for summer meetings at The Sanctuary, Call soon for outstanding values on Five-Star meeting.

Sanctuary Summer Special From $395/night on select midweek dates from June 26 - August 31, 2016.

Villa Accommodations Also Available From $255/night on select dates, June - August 2016.

Maximize Results With A Post-Meeting Checklist

Your meeting's wrapped! Now is the time to follow up with a few strategies to ensure your investment continues to pay dividends. This is your chance to boost the value of your event to your organization—and to those who participated. To help you ramp up opportunities and outcomes, our ProMeeting team put together this checklist for a quick and easy post-meeting plan:

Say thank you. It's a simple but significant gesture. Show your appreciation to participants, speakers and others who contributed to your success by finding a creative way that ties in with your event. Many of our guests check off this task while they're here on the island by choosing Kiawah Island Golf Resort items that can be embroidered with their company logo. (For ideas, check out the terrific selection of apparel and accessories at our online store.)

Share your content. Your meeting ROI grows when you continue to inform, educate and inspire your team. So plan ahead to shoot brief video during your event. These can be one-on-one interviews, tips from experts or valuable highlights of the event. Email videos to attendees and other stakeholders at intervals soon after the event or distribute them through social media. Kiawah Island can support you with services from J&S Audio Visual, a team available for groups looking to add a professional look to their communications.

Do a quick post-event survey. Find out what worked and what didn't with a service like SurveyMoney or SurveyGizmo. Keep it short and do it immediately after your meeting. In addition to asking if the event met objectives, you may want to find out how attendees rank the venue's facilities, menus and service. Here at Kiawah, the ProMeetings team always welcomes you to share feedback with us so we can enhance the success of your next event.

Continue the conversation.You'll be surprised how much participants keep talking about a great event. Use this to build on networking and relationships formed during the meeting. Here are a few simple ideas: Post share-worthy ideas from the meeting on social media. If you write a blog, include news about the event's success and key takeaways. Post event pictures on Instagram. If you didn't create a hashtag for your event, don't miss this opportunity next time.

Measure your success. Establish a way to consistently calculate the return on your meeting investments, whether it's ROI (quantifying the value of a meeting in dollars), or ROO (calculating the return on objective by measuring progress gained at a meeting.) With this information, you'll identify meeting investments to expand and those to reconsider. Looking for ideas to maximize your returns? Check out this article from About Money, which emphasizes the value and increased ROI from high-quality events at top-level venues.

Develop a proactive meetings mindset.Meetings contribute ongoing value and cumulative results to your organization, so think of them as a vital, continuing process rather than as one-off events. That way, meetings become integral to your corporate culture and team development. You can count on building success with every consecutive meeting and have your team enthusiastically anticipating your next event.

Supporting your success is what we do best at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, and we invite you to plan your next event with us. Your group will experience exceptional value, dedicated support from our ProMeetings team and superb resort amenities, including five championship golf courses, two tennis complexes and endless recreation. Please contact our Director of Group Sales, Marty Couch, and his team at 800.576.1585. Call soon to take advantage of these outstanding savings available for a limited time:

Villa rooms from $159 per night on select dates in April and May 2016.
Sanctuary rooms from $395 on midweek dates from June 26 - August 31, 2016.

Corporate Training Is Soaring—Here's Why

For the past few years, U.S. organizations have increased training spending by double digits annually, a trend that shows no signs of slowing.* This comeback is great news. It's a welcome bellwether of continuing economic growth and a positive sign that companies are seizing opportunities to develop employees' skills and leadership. Kiawah Island is hosting more training-focused events than ever, and our ProMeetings team has insights about what's driving growth and tips to get the most from your leadership and development investment:

Leadership training has never been more vital. It's estimated that more than 3.6 million baby boomers will retire this year. (Simple math tells us that's almost 10,000 experienced people leaving the workplace each day!) The fresh faces around the office are millennial workers, eager to take over management roles. That's what makes next-generation leadership development a top priority now. Consider your corporate succession goals, and plan sessions to prepare these up-and-comers to meet new challenges and to lead with knowledge and confidence. Keep in mind that boomers and millennials have different styles. (Read more about that here to understand how younger workers' expectations around interaction and flexibility may affect your events, and ask our planners for pointers in meeting your session goals.)

Developing talent is essential. A strengthening economy and expanding global marketplace heat up the competition for highly skilled employees. Faced with the challenge of attracting top-notch candidates, many companies realize the advantages—and economies—of developing that talent internally. This key business strategy encompasses coaching, mentoring and sessions that create opportunities to learn and share knowledge. Companies that choose Kiawah for their training events report that an off-site meeting, free of daily distractions, is fundamental for focused learning and fostering collaborative relationships. We have been interested to see that many of our corporate clients don't use outside trainers, but rely on their managers and executives to lead the sessions. This ensures that the knowledge they share is authentically rooted in the organization, and there's the added benefit of building relationships through sharing common goals.

Great companies know their culture counts. However you define it, a positive corporate culture involves people-centered attitudes and proactive values. It's surely one of the reasons that Google, famous for its culture, continues to top Fortune's list of "Best Companies to Work For." Meetings can be an ideal way to develop corporate culture, when they're designed to involve attendees in understanding expectations and to communicate the knowledge of what's necessary for success. If you're interested in learning more about the relationship between training and corporate culture, Columbia University professor Ross Tartell, Ph.D. makes a compelling case. Read his article in Training magazine to understand more about the power of culture to boost organizational performance.

"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." (We wish we'd though of this eloquent phrase, but it belongs to Irish poet William Butler Yeats.) True learning is vibrant, inspiring and interactive. It's a two-way dialogue where everyone—including your session leaders—learns fresh and exciting things about themselves and their organizations. This result ignites passion for success. To achieve this, the tone and format of your event can play key roles. Our ProMeetings team has shared tips about this in recent blogs like How Fresh Formats Can Spark Your Meetings (read it here to fire up your next meeting.)

The bottom line is that corporate development returns results. Let us help you plan your next learning and training event on Kiawah Island, where you'll enjoy an exceptional conference experience and the dedicated support of our professionals, plus a range of resort amenities, including five championship golf courses, two tennis complexes and endless recreation. Please contact our Director of Group Sales, Marty Couch, and his team at 800.576.1585—and act quickly to secure outstanding savings available for a limited time:
*Corporate Learning Factbook 2015.

Happy New Year! What's Trending Next?

As we welcome 2016, the Kiawah ProMeetings team wishes you a successful year and shares what we see on the horizon in our ever-changing industry. Like you, we keep up on all the meetings news and attend the forward-thinking conferences. Yet for us, the real trend-spotting happens as we interact with our guests - some of the most tuned-in business travelers in the country - and as we innovate to stay a step ahead of their expectations. That's what drives us - and why we believe these trends are shaping the year ahead:

Face-to-face won't be replaced any time soon. A virtual meeting may work fine for brief information exchanges, but it takes a real meeting to bring people together in a focused setting that supports learning, sparks creative thinking and builds relationships. Our meeting professionals talk to planners constantly, and a theme we hear consistently is the value of face-to-face. Even as technology leaps ahead, personal interaction continues to be the most effective communication. In fact, there's new evidence that our digital age may actually be starving us for the rich, inspiring and collaborative experiences we share when we come together. Recent science backs this up - here's a quick and fascinating read about the topic and what the latest research tells us: The Creative Power of Meeting Eyeball to Eyeball.

Business or pleasure? The future of meetings is both. Here at Kiawah, we see our business guests combining more leisure with their trips, staying on over a weekend and bringing along their partner or the whole family. While our gorgeous private island makes this option irresistible, this trend is widespread. Business travelers everywhere are striving harder to achieve work-life balance by mixing business and leisure, a trend that's coined the term "bleisure." We personally think "bizcation" sounds more fun but, whatever you call it, we're in favor and encourage you to choose a destination where your attendees can bliss out after business like they do on Kiawah. After meetings, our guests can enjoy five championship golf courses and amazing recreation for couples and families - or take a short drive to historic and cultural activities in downtown Charleston. Read more about bleisure and how this trend benefits companies by helping employees relax and work more productively - all with a positive impact on the bottom line.

The dynamic of meetings will continue to change. Today's world offers so many ways to be engaged, and that expectation is now part of every meeting. Everyone wants to be a participant; no one wants to feel they're merely attendees. Here at Kiawah, we help planners achieve that goal by sharing novel approaches and introducing new ideas. Just a few trends we see in our conference rooms are shorter sessions and speakers who actively engage their audience. We're also showing planners how to leave passive seating arrangements behind and adopt new setups that promote discussion and participation. (For specific tips, see our recent blog, How Fresh Formats Can Spark Your Meetings.) Technology will keep moving fast this year, bringing even more apps and innovations to help planners engage participants before, during and after an event. We recommend you take a peek into this exciting future with this tech trends article.

The buzz is about "boutique" destinations. Savvy business travelers are seeking the local and the unique - and not just for their vacations. They want to weave these experiences into their business travel, too. Planners now need to look at destinations not just for what they offer, but for what they offer that's different. In a world where many venues are so much alike, there's a growing demand to satisfy groups' expectations for authentic flavors and culture. If you read our most recent blog about choosing a venue, you'll know how fresh experiences and an inspiring cultural scene can elevate a meeting and reward your group. If you missed it, click here to read The Destination Makes The Difference, complete with examples of one-of-a-kind experiences here on Kiawah and in America's top city, Charleston, South Carolina.

Let us help you discover Kiawah in 2016 - or welcome your group back to the island again. Our team is dedicated to support in your success in Kiawah's exceptional conference setting and showing you how to explore Charleston, the #1 U.S. City in the Conde Nast Traveler Reader's Choice Awards for the fifth year in a row. Act quickly to enjoy early-in-the-year savings and start 2016 off with the best meeting ever.