The Pleasure Principle

By William Kendy

Life’s a beach and so are some meetings – or at least they’re near the beach. And that’s a draw for any meeting planner who wants attendees to get excited about the next meeting venue. If one of the primary objectives for meetings is building teams, just putting different people together, communicating and working toward a common goal reinforces a team spirit. But building a team doesn’t have to take place in a conference room. So, hit the beach and see what happens.

Jim Graham, regional sales manager at the Delray Beach Marriott in Delray Beach, Florida offers team-building opportunities with a different wrinkle.

“Our hotel is right across from the beach,” says Graham. “We use the beach for customer team-building events like volleyball tournaments and corporate beach Olympics.”

“We also take advantage of our location on Atlantic Avenue, which has 40-50 restaurants and a ton of retail stores, all within walking distance,” says Graham. “We’ll organize a corporate scavenger hunt up and down the avenue.”

In the scavenger hunt, company “teams” receive clues and have to go from one vendor to another picking up additional clues.

“Not only do they get to see Atlantic Avenue but they also participate in a team-building effort, because the winner is determined by who gets to the final destination first,” says Graham. “It forces them to work together and have fun.”

Team building doesn’t necessarily have to be competitive in nature. Because Delray Beach is located approximately 20 minutes from West Palm Beach and ahalf hour from Ft. Lauderdale, Graham can put together events that utilize the attractions those communities offer.

“In terms of off-site venues, we offer tours of Palm Beach mansions,” says Graham. “The Morikami Museum, which is a Japanese museum and gardens only five miles from here, is very popular.”

The Delray Beach Marriott opened up three years ago as a full-service Marriott hotel. Marriott purchased and completely renovated the original facility, added another tower of sleeping rooms and 14,000 square feet of meeting space. The hotel has an old-style Mediterranean look.

“We like to call ourselves the ‘hidden jewel’ of Palm Beach County,” says Graham. “Everyone knows where Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Boca Raton is and our mission is to bring Delray Beach to the corporate forefront.”