It wasn’t long ago, with the AIG Effect in full swing, that resort and spa meetings were seen as frivolous—to the point of being a nearly taboo subject.
But with the economy in apparent recovery, and groups perhaps discovering greater values in resort stays, the situation appears to be in full turnaround. Meetings Focus East checked in with some top resort spas—and a high-caliber corporate sales executive—to get a pulse of the current trends. Here’s what we found:
“We are seeing the return of corporate groups that were reluctant to come to a resort property over the past several years,” says Dawn Ramsey-Jacobsson, director of sales at the historic Cranwell Resort, Spa and Golf Club in Lenox, Mass. “They realize our rates are competitive with properties that don’t provide what we offer. We are even seeing meeting planners book more team-building and educational events built around spa/wellness and recreational activities, like golf,” she says.
Among the group lures at the Berkshire-based estate are a spa; indoor and outdoor heated pools; a championship 18-hole golf course; 96 guest rooms and suites; and 16,000 square feet of meeting space.
At the Cliff House Resort & Spa on the shores of Maine, it’s about rewarding employees, says Charlene Banulis, director of sales and guest services.
“The idea of a luxurious hot stone massage or nourishing blueberry body treatment after the next meeting is a powerful incentive.”
Since its spa opened in 2002, the property has seen countless corporate clients add spa offerings to meeting agendas, with some opting for full treatment packages while others select a la carte services, such as five-minute Coffee Break Chair Massages during meeting breaks.
The oceanfront offering has over 13,700 square feet of meeting and function space, with high-speed Internet access in all meeting rooms; 166 guest rooms, all with ocean views, balconies and high-speed Internet access; and New England’s first oceanfront spa and fitness center, overlooking the picturesque Maine coast. The resort is about an hour’s drive north of Boston.