As an event professional, I know that planning meetings can have stressful moments. Often, when planning smaller events as opposed to events larger than 25+, it can be easy to overlook small details like AV, start times, morning coffee, etc. I am excited to share with our Central Coast Living Blog readers, some of my favorite ideas for planning small events here at the Portola Hotel & Spa – each highlighting an unforgettable setting and win-wins for you and your guests!
Wine Reception in the Cottonwood Plaza
- Consider planning a luncheon on our outdoor patio to get a group revitalized for a full day meeting. Here at the Portola Hotel, two of my favorite outdoor venues are the Cottonwood Plaza and Memory Garden.
- Cottonwood Plaza is ideal for outdoor lunches, its proximity to Monterey’s Fisherman’s Wharf and the Coastal Recreation Trail can give guests the opportunity to take in the sights during breaks as well as, before and after meetings and events.
- Another favorite venue, just steps from the Portola, is the historic Memory Garden. Perfect on its own, this garden is a lovely setting for sack or box lunches. Attendees not only get to take in the natural beauty of the garden, but can get a bit of a history lesson from one of the nearby California State Park Rangers on its rich history.
- Take surveys on what attendees liked and disliked about the meeting/event, ask the hard questions, “how can we improve?”, “what was a highlight of your meeting experience?”
- Start planning your catering needs as soon you have an idea of the time/date range! That way if dates need to be moved around they can be accommodated, plan on finalizing details a week in advance.
Intimate Setting at Memory Garden
And last, but not least, a few tips for new meeting planners when it comes to planning any size meeting in advance:
- Remember the Hotel Catering Team is here for you! Let us map out your meeting and accommodations based on your meeting itinerary.
- Generalize options to attendee type, i.e. plan meals based on dietary needs, cultural preferences and geographic likes/dislikes.
- Make sure to repeat questions and confirm dates, times, set up, A/V, food, etc.
-Eddie Guice, Catering & Convention Service Manager