Recently, I’ve noticed the trend of meeting planners looking for a fully customized and personalized event experience, and there’s no better way to accomplish that than buying out an entire resort or hotel with a beautiful setting such as a mountain backdrop. Although a buyout can sound expensive and unobtainable, many ways exist to find flexible rates that will allow companies to book a private retreat while not overdrawing on any budgetary restrictions.
Top 3 Reasons for a Buyout
1. Unmatched Service and Personalization
By securing an entire resort or hotel for a meeting, companies are essentially getting the “keys to the castle” to plan a function that is specifically tailored towards what they are looking to accomplish with an event. Planners are also ensuring an unparalleled customer service experience with undivided attention being given to attendees, providing a customized program that fits the exact preferences and needs of their group, and allowing creativity that is not typically an option with traditional venue rental options.
I’ve also noticed that buyouts can help to promote interaction and build camaraderie among attendees, whether it’s at the pools, the bar or simply guests meandering through the grounds as everyone knows that they are there for the same reason. When the entire property is at their disposal, companies also can get creative with their meeting setups. Instead of hosting lunch or a reception in a ballroom, planners can consider utilizing the front drive of a hotel, the golf course or the spa, allowing groups to fully infuse the essence and culture of the property into their event.
2. Privacy and Security
Whether it be a pharmaceutical company launching a new product that they wish to keep confidential, an industry association wanting to discuss topics in private, a political group or VIP gathering or simply a company that wants to provide a fully exclusive and tailored experience for their guests, a buyout can be the ideal option.
When privacy is a concern, I recommend that planners secure a destination that can be as much off the grid as possible. For the sake of example, here at the Tamaya, the resort is situated at the end of a private road that is nearly two miles from the nearest access street; all traffic going into and coming out of the resort can be easily restricted, ensuring that those invited are the only people attending an event.
3. Buyout Budget Flexibility
Although buying out a property can sound expensive and out of reach, several ways exist that companies can secure this type of event while not breaking the bank. I always recommend that planners start by talking to the venue’s sales and events team to find out how they can fit a buyout into any budget restrictions.
For example, some properties, ours included, do not require empty or unused rooms to be paid for as long as a minimum buyout rate is reached, which can vary based on peak or non-peak seasons. A great way for planners to get reduced rates on venue rate is to consider booking during off-peak or shoulder seasons, especially if certain weather restrictions are not detrimental to the overall success of the event.
It’s also important for planners to be prepared to show as much flexibility as possible in order to find the best deals. Planners can always ask the venue if they have any “holes” or “need dates” that they are looking to fill, as sometimes there are special or reduced rates involved. Depending on the level of exclusivity, groups also can look into the possibility of buying out certain areas of a resort, while still allowing outside access to the property’s spa or restaurants and providing ancillary revenue generation for the property, which can ultimately be a more affordable option.
Tips for a Buyout Meeting
Once planners decide on a buyout for a meeting, several options should be kept in mind.
1. Find the Right Venue
It is important to work with a property that is used to dealing with buyouts. Sales teams with experience in this area can help to plan an overall successful event. Planners should rely on their guidance to determine what is the best fit for a group and consider advice on what has worked and what hasn’t worked with buyouts in the past.
2. Create an Immersive Experience for Guests
If an entire property is reserved for a group, planners should take advantage of the opportunity to create a fully immersive experience reflective of the destination. For example, at our resort, we can help groups plan rodeos, Native American cultural activities and greeting ceremonies, and event-tethered hot air balloon rides.
I recommend that groups ask their sales representative about any discounts or incentives that come along with a buyout and reduced rates that may be able to be worked into a package deal.
3. The Sky is the Limit
Once a buyout is secured, planners can let their creativity soar. Again, it is important to work with the on-site venue staff to understand the possibilities that are available because the sky is truly the limit for most group events.
Peter Kane is the director of sales and marketing at Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa, which features a mountain backdrop is located on more than 550 acres of the Native American Santa Ana Pueblo between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. He has more than 15 years working in the meeting and event industry.