Planning a Meeting in Maine: Tips and Trends for This Year in Ogunquit

So for as much snow as Maine had last year, this winter is filled with sunshine and (fairly) warm days. Maybe Mother Nature is trying to tell us something – because that is just what we see ahead for meeting planning. Southern Maine is being discovered as a great spot to plan a corporate meeting or company team building. With three airports at one hour or less away, less clutter and expense of a city setting such as Portland, Portsmouth or Boston and the excitement of a destination location, Ogunquit offers a great place to bring the team. It’s after all, a best beach in the US.

Let’s take a look at some tips and trends for this year for hosting your company event in Ogunquit:

  • Flexing the Rate Muscle. Demand is back and in a big way, especially for June thru October. Whereas four or five years ago, negotiating rom rate was standard, these days the demand is too strong in Southern Maine to have much wiggle room in pricing. The pockets of dates have been filled in with the creative sales teams and promotions and hotels along the coast know what they can fill for and when. Often times the best way to approach this is to offer an acceptable room rate range upfront so the sales team can quickly let you know if a bid will be submitted for the business. And as for the quiet season – sales teams have worked that in as well. Be open to considering March, April and May. The end of the first quarter and start of the second has great potential for your budget.
  • Early Birds Are Getting the Worm. Well actually, they are getting the key meeting dates in Southern Maine. Sometimes 2 or 3 years in advance. This a bit tricky since attendees and sometimes the client are waiting til last minute to register or even tell a meeting planner about an event need. If you are finding yourself talking to the client more and more about why 6 weeks’ notice for a fall meeting in Ogunquit just isn’t going to come together, you aren’t alone. And if you need a reason to convince a client that planning earlier for the meeting in Southern Maine is a must, see our first point. When the hotel has high demand and the client has a short notice must have meeting, negotiating goes out the window. Early birds smartly keeping the planning window long and work with the hotel as a partner.
  • Smart Food Means Better Health (but also Bigger Budget). Providing healthier options and specialty diets has been on the radar for a long time. While for our Maine hotel, this is really a return to what we do (our meetings at Jonathan’s have been focused on Farm-to-Table, local cuisine and custom menus for over 30 years), we get that there may be a little sticker shock over the waxy chicken with over sauteed mystery veggies. Food has become part of the attraction to attendees and there are options to balance taste and price. For example, creating a central break location rather than having stations in multiple rooms. And using a family style set up to work around the buffet waste. It’s not as new-fashioned as one might think – after all, Lobster bakes have been served that way for generations.
  • A Time to Work, A Time to Play. As millennials flood the work place, balance is becoming a trend at meetings. Agendas are working in more and more ‘open afternoons’ – not as free time but for activities such as team building ground exercises, yoga and scavenger hunts. Our hotel has seen an increase in working the benefits on mindfulness into meetings. Yes, there is an element of fun to working a ropes course and some manager might find that wasteful. However, the soft skills of working together, communicating and understanding how to handle stress productively are increasingly important to a team succeeding. More than number crunching. With an aerial course, hiking, ocean front yoga options and more we are seeing events plan in a 2 to 4 hour window to develop these skills. And millennials are appreciating – and attending – the agendas that do.

So when the snow isn’t flying and we look forward to the year ahead, we see a great year to plan an event in Ogunquit and the Southern Maine area.

To get your Maine meeting planning started, contact us today at 207-646-9661.

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