Fiesta Americana digs deep to cater to new a new expectation in meetings: transformational group experiences.
We spoke with Lizbeth Zuniga Hernandez, events manager at the Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancun All Inclusive, to see how they are catering to this new demand and heightened level of transformational meetings and immersive group travel.
Experiential seems to be moving toward the transformational in terms of what attendees expect from meetings and incentives. Can you name a few activities that embrace this idea?
It seems now attendees are expecting not only a well planned program but unique experiences they can’t find while traveling on their own. They must find the destination interesting with variety of activities, and, of course, leisure time for themselves. I am not saying that attendees need vacations for themselves, but people like to feel they are able to choose what to do; therefore, it is very important to include different options during the program.
How can planners take the demand for hyperlocal beyond destination experiences to really support and integrate local communities?
This is the noblest activity planners can consider on each opportunity. The first step is to leave the space and do something for other people and become a host while they are guests at the same time. There is no need to overdo things, no matter how small the activity, it will always be appreciated. Planners can find partners such a DMC company that will create an entire experience in a local village. In addition, if they prefer not to leave the hotel, we may create a simple organized event with local families included.
Where do sustainability and creativity intersect in meetings and incentives? How can they better connect?
I believe that the word missing in this connection is technology. Today, sustainability, creativity and technology goes the same way. It is incredible to see how new technology, beyond facilitating and creating new MICE trends, are helping our planet in a big way. Frequently, there are no longer printed surveys or evaluations since all this can be done through our cellphones or other specialized devices. Many apps are being developed for meetings and groups where last-minute changes may be done immediately, which saves us a lot of paper. It’s also unnecessary to have notepads and pens in many of the meetings since most of the participants prefer to take a picture if something is interesting to them or sometimes speakers share their presentation to all participants right after their conference, to mention a few applications only.
How can planners be creative on a dime in terms of F&B, venues and entertainment?
For many years, meetings and incentives where about “wait for the next time to do the same thing again.” Nowadays, the trend is to plan what we can do differently. The key is to take risks and try the local options the country has to offer. Every destination has their own culture and identity, so planners can open their minds and experience not only traditional and generic themes, but a detailed experience from the country including typical flavors, drinks, ambiance, clothing, handmade items and interactive activities.