by Meggan Binder, event sales manager, Fairlane Hotel | August 14, 2019

Meeting attendees are pulled in so many directions that it's increasingly challenging to create experiences that will leave lasting impressions. At Nashville's Fairlane Hotel, we work with planners to meet those challenges. Following are a few suggestions for better ensuring that attendees leave your event with memories they'll take home with them.

How to Make Meetings More Memorable

Create a Sense of Home

  • Let attendees know they belong, and that you appreciate them, with branded banners at the airport and hotel. It's also a simple technique for enhancing festivity.
  • Welcome attendees to the meeting with a "hotel-warming" gift as they arrive. Something thoughtful can leave a great first impression.
  • Take the gift a step further by personalizing it (e.g., a baseball jersey or T-shirt with their last name printed on the back). 
  • Coordinate with your hotel to have staff personally escort attendees to their rooms. 
  • Drop hints to the front desk staff to mention during check-in -- who doesn't love being asked about their favorite sports team?
  • Equip hotel rooms with water bottles and complimentary snacks with which attendees can replenish during downtime.

Capitalize on the Destination

  • Consider scheduling a local group to entertain during coffee breaks. Nashville is known as the Music City, so we tie music into our events.
  • Delight attendees with care packages that highlight local flavor (think Cuban coffee kits for meetings near Miami's Little Havana neighborhood).
  • Near a local landmark? Never hesitate to inquire about buy-outs, be it at monuments or museums. Hosting a satellite event or after-hours party in one of these locales will keep attendees talking.
  • Provide attendees with a local guide to private tours and hidden-gem restaurants -- places they might explore after the meeting is over.
  • Stack speaker panels with industry pros from the area. By tapping into local experts, attendees will gain professional insight as well as a better understanding of what makes the destination unique.

Weave Charity Into the Agenda

  • Volunteer in the community to provide a hands-on way to mix up the vibe and create memories.
  • Create a lasting impression by getting people to put down their screens and do something with their hands for the greater good.
  • Bring the volunteering into the venue by packaging food boxes for a local shelter or putting together bikes for the children's hospital.
  • Head outside and host a clean-up of a park or other outdoor community space.
  • Collaborate with your host venue and/or CVB to schedule some fun, wholesome and meaningful charity events.

Pay Attention to Detail

  • Include your attendees' titles on the rooming list so the front desk team knows whether to expect Mr. or Ms. Alex Smith, for instance. An attendee may have worked hard to become Dr. Thomas, for example, so make sure they are greeted as such.
  • Be sure to communicate attendee special requests to the hotel.
  • Remember your meeting's theme when you aren't sure what direction to head. For example, we have a midcentury retro theme carried throughout the hotel, and we always go back to that in decision-making.
  • Keep all print-outs, agendas, name badges, presentation materials and so forth consistent by using the same fonts and color scheme. 
  • Be sure to make yourself available to attendees before, during and after the meeting. 
  • Follow up after the event with personalized thank-you notes and feedback forms.

Meggan Binder joined Fairlane Hotel as part of its opening team in November 2017, following stints in Chicago and East Lansing, Mich. She is a graduate of Michigan State University's School of Hospitality Business.