Turn Up the Heat

By Heather Baldwin

Ah, summertime. If you’ve scheduled a meeting during the hottest months of the year, no doubt you’re thinking of sun, sand, surf, golf, the desert…. Wait a minute – the desert? In summer? Absolutely, says Kristi Miller, vice president of sales and services at the Scottsdale, AZ, Convention and Visitors Bureau. Groups willing to take the road less traveled and hold their meetings in the Phoenix area between mid-May and mid-September often can save as much as 60% off regular rates at many of Scottsdale’s luxury hotels and resorts.

Before you picture your group stuck indoors, miserably mopping brows throughout your entire stay, remember that the service professionals who work in the desert year round are pros at making the heat bearable. Want golf to be part of your meeting agenda? Not only will you find “significant” savings on off-peak-season rates, says Miller, but don’t be surprised to find cooling misters on the golf carts or a staffer who stops by with a cool, mango-scented towel. Tee off by 6:00 a.m. and you should be able to fit in a round before temperatures start soaring. Or set up a group power walk in the morning, followed by a cool, fruit smoothie back at the hotel. At night, temperatures start dropping with the sunset, so plan a sunset cookout. Or if it’s still too warm at dinnertime, plan a later event with “dessert and cordials and an astronomer to talk about the stars,” suggests Miller.

A successful summer meeting in the desert just takes a little planning. Schedule leisure activities in the early morning or evening, and spend your daytime meeting hours in the air-conditioned luxury of a top-rated resort – for a whole lot less money than you’d spend during the peak winter months. The dollars you save could buy you such great entertainment, attendees will forget they’re in the desert. For more information, visit http://www.scottsdalecvb.com.