Archived Kiawah Tips

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.