Inside each of my Group Files I have a form that I use to take notes of Meeting Sets, Audio Visual needs, deadlines, etc.
At the bottom of this form, there’s a section where I question “How Am I going to make this event memorable?”
This is where I really focus on the group’s needs and Critical Success Factors to ensure that the guest leaves with a lasting memory of their experience at the Lodge. The answer is different for all groups, and I find fun in discovering the group’s personality and what I can do that will leave a lasting impression for their group. While the answer is different for each group, one of the most valuable resources I have to my disposal that helps to fulfill this goal is our location. Most groups’ guests that I come in contact with mention that they have not even been to Vermont before. This creates a very apparent and valuable resource for the Lodge that properties in large cities may not have. Guests do not yet have an expectation on Vermont, because they likely have not had the chance to experience what it has to offer. Stowe Mountain Lodge as a property strives to immerse all guests into the authentic Vermont experience.
To reflect this, I always am looking for ways to string in Vermont flair. Whether this is simply utilizing wood accents, or focusing an entire dinner/reception on Vermont treasures through interactive food stations, décor and music. With this, I want guests to leave feeling like they have experienced the uniqueness of Vermont within our four walls. Special highlights with these dinners include Local Craft Beer & Cheese Stations, and other local treats from nearby farms. We like to have local specialists showcased to flood guests with information on how they make the beer/cheese/specialty food and the history behind all of it and what impact it has on Vermont.
One of my favorite “stations” to sell groups on is Sugar on Snow, where a local Maple Syrup producer brings his own maple syrups, talks about life in the Maple Syrup industry, and makes a taffy-like candy by pouring his syrup on snow. He creates a very authentic display, pairing this taffy with traditional accompaniments such as donuts, pickles and deviled eggs. While it may seem strange to guests, it is an experience that really only Vermonters are familiar with.
This creates such a unique talking point for guests when they go home to their family and friends. More importantly, it creates a lasting memory of this special experience.
Vermont is so incredibly unique, and I excite at the chance to transform a standard meeting or cocktail reception into a truly distinctive Vermont experience.
-Ashley Reincke, Conference Services Manager