When BASF Corp. was looking for a venue to introduce a new product to 30 Midwest-area retailers last year, it found a place with all the comforts of home — a villa. The location of the event was Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa, Galena, Ill., which also has private homes and villas available for small meetings.

“We thought the environment was ideal for building relationships with our customers,” states Steve Mishler, sales representative at Florham Park, N.J. — based BASF. The company rented eight four-bedroom homes and nine two-bedroom villas for its guests. Most of the meetings were conducted in the homes instead of in the formal, on-site conference center. After the meetings, the group enjoyed a backyard pig roast.

Eagle Ridge offers 80 rooms as well as 300 private villas, condominiums, and executive homes. The resort's conference center offers 18,000 square feet of meeting space, and there are four golf courses and a spa.