February 2015

Off-season settings deliver group values

by Zachary Chouteau


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    Hanover Inn Dartmouth, Hanover, N.H.



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    Spruce Point Inn, Maine



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    Palmer House, Chicago


For planners that keep encountering top-tier properties and destinations that seem just a bit out of their budgetary reach, it might not be where they’re looking but when.

Through some flexibility on their seasonal timing—often enhanced of course by days-of-week scheduling—groups can save substantially, and open the door to some superb meetings-friendly properties all around North America, from boutiques to large resorts.

Meetings Focus checked in with settings and properties near and far in an effort to spotlight some top seasonal values. Following are a few of the finest gems we uncovered.

New England Nuggets

Groups heading to New England can find savings during the winter season—especially when avoiding popular ski areas—and often in parts of the summertime as well.

Hotel spokesperson Stephanie Seacord touts the historic Hanover Inn Dartmouth, in Hanover, N.H., which boasts 11,000 square feet of conference space at its Minary Conference Center and also offers a “Pick your Perks” special from January-March and July-August, saving groups 10 percent, in addition to special bonuses based on total room nights.

Seacord also suggests Maine’s Spruce Point Inn in Boothbay Harbor, a sprawling 57-acre escape offering a dramatic waterfront setting—and special 2015 “Hot Dates” based on room nights that provide an array of free perks ranging from massages and wine receptions to oceangoing harbor tours.

Santa Fe Savings

New Mexico’s charming capital is especially budget-friendly for planners when Jack Frost comes to town, says John Feins, who serves as Tourism Santa Fe’s public relations manager.

“The dollar is stronger in general during the Santa Fe winter, and many notable, highly rated properties also offer incomparable value to groups who book or host their event during this time,” Feins remarks.

He also shared information on several elegant local properties offering price-saving group winter packages, including the Native American-owned Hotel Santa Fe. The downtown venue launched a meetings special on Jan. 15 that runs through April 30 and provides discounted lodging in addition to numerous perks.

Elsewhere about town, the iconic La Fonda on the Plaza, home to more than 21,000 square feet of stylish function space, offers a package from November through March (also available for next winter) that includes no guest room attrition and waives rental fees.

Other top properties around the city offering special winter packages include the Inn and Spa at Loretto, an enchanting adobe structure by the iconic Loretto Chapel, and the Drury Plaza Hotel, a handsome recently launched hotel housed inside a former hospital.

Chicago Sure Things

A host of top Hilton properties are making the Windy City more affordable for groups, during value dates that extend beyond wintertime.


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