Hotelier Michael Chaffin has some interesting musings about the proliferation of hotel design (and redesign) these days. I should know: I think I get every press release ever written about what hotels are doing to stay fresh, hip, up-to-date, etc., etc. From his post:
- Hereâ€™s the problemâ€¦design gets attention. But, itâ€™s not likely to keep it. People will go once, maybe twice to see something spectacular. But, thatâ€™s it. If thereâ€™s not more to the story, theyâ€™re not likely to come back, or more importantly, tell someone else about their experience. So, once the economic cycle turns, and it always does, that investment in the â€icingâ€ no longer pays dividendsâ€¦unless you can afford to change it, and change it often.
True for hotels, and equally true for meetings, I would add. It's not enough to take a tired old property or meeting and slick it up. Sure, you'll get some buzz for a while, but then even the slickest of the slick starts looking a little too ho hum—familiarity breeds contempt, after all. So the key is to keep changing it up. For meetings, add a different format (I hear the open space session at PCMA went really, really well), rearrange the chairs, give away an iPod...whatever. Just keep surprising people, keep building on past successes, take some risks, and people will want to keep coming back if for no other reason than to find out what you'll be trying next. Don't chuck the good stuff, just don't rest on past successes until they too become the same old, same old.