Nestled in the heart of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula is an attractive group of destinations known as the Great Lakes Bay region. This diverse area offers plenty to reward both the business traveler and the casual tourist.
For most of our state's history, Michigan barns primarily have hosted horses munching hay or farmers milking cows. Today, however, they can also house all sorts of events, from weddings to team-building corporate retreats.
To plan a barn event, there’s no need to grab your overalls and pitchfork. Today’s barns have all of the amenities you’d expect to find in many banquet halls, along with charming historical touches.
Michigan may be the Great Lakes state, but we’ve got plenty of inland waters, too. And some of them make fantastic settings for group dining. It’s a Matter of Taste in Commerce Township offers gorgeous views of Union Lake from both its restaurant and its second-story banquet facilities. Restaurant Manager Robin Traynor says though the menu is Italian-based, the food is “eclectic, with a bit of something from everywhere.”
Q: I’m planning our association’s upcoming conference. How can I ensure participants actually remember and use what they learn? ￼￼
A: According to Brain Rules, by John Medina, people usually forget 90 percent of what they learn within 30 days. However, if you understand how the brain functions, you can greatly improve retention and application of new information. Following are seven of Medina’s original 12 rules, with explanations for how they apply to a meeting planner’s job.
It’s summer in Detroit City, and that means a rollicking riverfront. The list of festivals and activities available along the river gets longer and more varied each year. Want to incorporate a movement break into your downtown meeting? Try tai chi on Mondays, yoga on Thursdays and Fridays, or BCBSM Walk the Riverwalk Wednesdays (May through August).
Looking for a meeting venue that doubles as a waterfront escape? Head to the Blue Water Convention Center. The 34,000-square-foot venue, which opened in the spring, sits on the bank of the St. Clair River in Port Huron, a stone’s throw from the Blue Water Bridge, which connects the United States and Canada.
“I can go out the door and look right at it,” Kim Appel, the facility’s general manager, says of the bridge. “There’s no way to describe the beautiful view.”
Café 78 opened in the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit this winter, as a joint project between the museum and the restaurant Wright & Co. Café bartenders are trained by the craft-cocktail wizards at the Sugar House. Here’s a concoction from General Manager Chris Vanderginst, taken from the café’s Pantone-themed cocktail menu.
—1.5 oz. gin
—1 oz. carrot juice
—.5 oz. lemon juice
—.25 oz. ginger syrup
—.25 oz. Pedro Ximenez sherry
Jessica Brooks has lots of updates for her LinkedIn page. Now all she has to do is find the time to make them.
Brooks, vice president of operations for the Crystal Gardens Banquet Center, in Howell, was already overseeing general operations as well as advertising and marketing for five sister banquet centers when, in 2007, she launched a new offpremise catering service for the business. “I actually started that program as part of my master’s program,” says Brooks, who earned a Master of Science degree in general administration from Central Michigan University, also in 2007.
Planners and suppliers gathered at East Lansing’s Eagle Eye Golf in November for the 2014 Showcase of Ideas. The event, a partnership between VIKTOR and Event Garde, featured sessions on branding, contract negotiations and the 2015 ASAE Annual Meeting.
When it comes to built-in ambiance and engaged attendees, intimate spaces can trump traditional meeting spots. Small venues often offer a cooler vibe, says Angela Butorac, founder of Butorac Events and co-founder of EventTrender.com. Attendees are more focused, and the spaces’ relaxed atmosphere can help people open up. “You’ll get some of those people who you never hear from who will probably get more engaged in the conversation,” she says.