Case Studies From Recent In-Person Events + Virtual FAM Experience + New Group Offerings
(Asheville, N.C.): Looking to ease the minds of meeting planners making their way through these challenging times and alleviate some of the uncertainty, the Explore Asheville Convention & Visitors Bureau has unveiled a brand-new and robust Meeting Planner Toolkit complete with case studies from recent in-person meetings, virtual-planning resources, destination facts and more. With an eye toward the new needs of planners and meeting them where they are in this moment, the Group Sales & Services Team has a continued focus on providing up-to-date and relevant information on how this Blue Ridge Mountain city can host safe meetings, when the time is right. More at www.exploreasheville.com/meeting-planners/meet-safely-in-ashevillehttps://www.exploreasheville.com/meeting-planners/meet-safely-in-asheville/.
SAFE MEETINGS IN ASHEVILLE
From One Meeting Planner to Another: While most meetings have been postponed or canceled, more recently, there have been some that have taken place safely and responsibly. Asheville is fortunate to have the venues, setting and resources to host safe meetings, as evidenced in the case studies compiled from three different conferences held in the destination. The team worked with planners to document and create these interview-style studies of real-world scenarios to provide fellow planners insight on safety and the importance of communications with attendees. The testimonials offer planner-to-planner advice with firsthand experience – from the planning stages to event execution – and give fellow planners a head start on need-to-know information, like what details can’t be missed and how to work with Explore Asheville along the way.
- Case Studies:
- Continuing Education Company’s Annual Women’s Health Conference (September 2020)
- Injured Workers’ Advocates 2020 Annual Conference (November 2020)
- Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) Southeast Educational Summit (December 2020)
Asheville Cares Meet Safe Pledge: As part of a community effort last year, the team also developed the Asheville Cares Meet Safe Pledge, designed to lay out the shared responsibility and precautions that are necessary for a safe restart of meetings. In the spirit of that shared responsibility, outlined in the pledge are health-related guidelines for event spaces, event staff and meeting planners, alike, as well as those being followed by specific sectors of the industry (including hotels, attractions, retail businesses and restaurants). See the full pledge here.
VIRTUAL PLANNING & INSPIRATION
In addition to high-quality 3D tours of primary meeting hotels and the “Mug Moments” (20-minute coffee break) mini-webinar series featuring casual conversations with hotel partners about steps they are taking to host in-person meetings safely (latest episode on March 24), the Group Sales & Services Team has also boosted its virtual resources with the new Meetings Elevated: An Asheville Virtual FAM Experience. Recorded earlier this year, the program touches on options for meeting properties, an overview of experiences for groups, tips from local experts on safety, Explore Asheville’s services AND a bit of much-needed self-care: www.exploreasheville.com/meeting-planners/elevate.
Asheville’s Blue Ridge backdrop and accessibility make it well-positioned for planners and attendees seeking social-distancing activities and wide open spaces, with both ease of travel and safety in mind. Outdoor adventure and a focus on wellness abound in these scenic mountains. More here.
- Unique Group Experiences for These Times: Book a sound-healing session at your conference site by Skinny Beats Drum Shop and Gallery, currently remodeling its facility downtown with plans to expand its offerings (drum and sound experiences, as well as workshops). Asheville Wellness Tours offers a variety of activities for groups, including virtual or in-person cooking classes, tarot readings, yoga and meditation, yoga hikes, forest bathing and massage. Private yoga-hiking tours and yoga classes are also available through Namaste in Nature.
- New Event Spaces: Rabbit Rabbit in the South Slope district is a new outdoor event venue from Asheville Brewing Company and The Orange Peel, Asheville’s nationally known rock club that has hosted acts such as Bob Dylan, Ben Harper, The Flaming Lips and The Beastie Boys. The space, which has been a welcome retreat during the pandemic, offers live music, movie screenings, DJ-spun dance parties, socially distant igloo pods, local beer and food trucks. Recently opened, Citizen Vinyl offers an immersive music experience with a record-pressing plant, independent record store, music cafe and bar. Powerhouses of Asheville’s maker scene have combined on this project and include Gar Ragland (music producer and president of NewSong Music), Susannah Gebhart (OWL Bakery) and Chef Graham House (formerly of Sovereign Remedies).
- Getting Here: Asheville is centrally located in the Southeast and within a 600-mile radius of 50 percent of the nation’s population. The Asheville Regional Airport is located just 12 miles from downtown, offers frequent nonstop flights daily to and from 21 destinations and is served by four airlines: Allegiant, American, Delta and United. More here.
STRATEGIC PARTNERS FOR PLANNING A MEETING IN ASHEVILLE
When an organization is ready to plan a future meeting, the fully-staffed Explore Asheville team can simplify planning by:
- Generating a cohesive response from the destination completely tailored to the meeting’s needs.
- Providing time-saving services and the Asheville expertise needed, particularly in challenging times.
- Qualifying the meeting for eligibility of up to $5,000 in incentives from Explore Asheville. Check out the Have More Fun on Us program.
For more on the planner benefits of partnering with Explore Asheville, see this new step-by-step video guide.
Surrounded by the highest mountain peaks east of the Mississippi and intersected by “America’s Favorite Scenic Drive,” the Blue Ridge Parkway, Asheville is steeped in natural history, outdoor adventure and cultural legacies. The city’s backdrop features 1 million acres of protected wilderness, thousands of miles of hiking and biking trails and George Vanderbilt’s 8,000-acre masterpiece, Biltmore Estate. At the heart of Asheville is a vibrant downtown brimming with Art Deco architecture, James Beard chefs, craft breweries and distilleries and an innovative art, music and theater scene.
Sarah Lowery, Public Relations Specialist