More and more meeting planners today are looking for destinations that help their attendees be more present, grounded, and relaxed in order to bring more focus, inspiration and creativity to their events. Working on a Native American pueblo located between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico, I’ve watched culturally inspired meetings pull attendees out of their day-to-day life and into a more dynamic mindset, creating excitement about the destination and what’s planned for the meeting or conference.
Culturally Immersive Meetings Spur Creativity
Meeting planners understand the challenges of keeping attendees engaged and excited throughout the duration of a meeting. By creating an immersive escape and exposing attendees to new cultures, foods and traditions, planners maintain interest in the meeting program, while spurring creativity and new ways of thinking.
Unique Experiences Make a Memorable Meeting
I think that one of the most important aspects of planning a meeting is to make it unique and memorable. When planning a culturally-inspired event, planners can easily arrange for activities that their guests would not be able to take part in anywhere else in the world, ensuring a truly distinctive experience. Groups can arrange breakout sessions that incorporate traditional elements of the local area, such as an official welcome by members of the community, art and entertainment that reflects the local area, and cuisine incorporating local ingredients and flavors.
From my experience at Tamaya, I have seen planners arrange educational sessions led by members of the Santa Ana Pueblo, such as clay and culture pottery classes, Native American dance and music performances with tribal members in traditional dress, bread baking, and much more.
Be Respectful & Give Back
For a truly memorable and successful meeting, planners should book their meeting at a destination that celebrates and supports the local culture. For example, Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa is owned by the Santa Ana Pueblo, and the revenue generated from the resort is used for scholarships, housing, retirement plans, government services and additional programs that help the Pueblo to thrive and preserve its culture.
Meeting planners should be sure to research their prospective destination to guarantee that groups are respectful and supportive, not exploitative, of the local culture. I also recommend that groups explore ways that their team can tie in corporate social responsibility programs to give back to the community during their meetings.
Top Things to Remember
When tying in cultural elements to meetings, planners should first and foremost learn about any protocols and etiquette regarding the local culture and clearly pass that information on to their attendees. Case in point, most Native Americans will not allow you to photograph them, and photos of the pueblo villages and certain cultural sites are strictly prohibited. Our team works closely with groups to encourage awareness of these rules and to ensure that they are respected.
Additionally, meeting planners should work closely with event planning managers to strategize and develop unique types of receptions, breakouts and activities that fully showcase the beauty and uniqueness of the local culture. By including once-in-a-lifetime experiences, planners are sure to provide their attendees with experiences that they will never forget.
Peter Kane is the director of sales and marketing at Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa, which is located on more than 550 acres of the Native American Santa Ana Pueblo between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico. He has more than 15 years experience working in the meeting and event industry.