Over the past several years, as the vibe of corporate meetings and gatherings has changed and many Staten Island companies are reinventing the way they congregate with employees, event planners at the Hilton Garden Inn have changed their approach accordingly.
“We’ve seen the market for smaller company meetings grow substantially,” explained Carroll Tavella, director of sales and catering for the Charleston facility. “So we recently converted some spaces in the hotel into smaller meeting rooms to fill that demand. We now feature four smaller conference rooms that are ideal for meetings and small parties for 40 or less guests.”
Featuring 32,000 square feet of meeting space, the Hilton caters to corporate clients both large and small. Two of the property’s most popular meeting sites include the newly designed Ivy Suite and The Wisteria, which is used for corporate events but also doubles as a bridal suite.
“Many companies are thinking outside the box and hosting company off-site team building days at The Hilton Garden Inn and Nicotra’s Ballroom,” said Carlann Scala, corporate sales manager for the Hilton Garden Inn. “Companies also take it to the next level at Above Rooftop, treating their employees to a Manhattan vibe without the hassle of traveling to Manhattan or paying Manhattan venue prices, while giving them a view of Manhattan. We have companies that have hosted team meetings, team building days and fun events like a guacamole making contest and a Puppy Petting Party. We also provide a Company Retreat Package with a moderator. A company can also arrange a stroll through our beautiful garden path to spend some time outside and enjoy our gardens and woodlands.”
And the Hilton’s experts say those types of unique events are becoming the norm in local corporate planning.
“Corporate events are a great way to show employees or clients your appreciation,” explained Sue Vaiana, assistant director of sales for Nicotra’s Ballroom and Above. “Creating an event with a lighthearted feel to it is key, even if you plan to do speeches or presentations. One of my favorite enhancements is having a great, slight-of-hand magician mingle with guests and do card tricks, mind-bending tricks and mix in a little humor. It breaks the ice as well as blows guests’ minds. This works especially well for a non-dancing crowd. I also love to plan a themed to-go station; nowadays they have everything from Ben and Jerrys, Cinnabon, Pizza Hut, etc. It’s always a crowd pleaser and it gives guests something to take with them.”
Jennifer Finch, an event planner and wedding specialist with Nicotra’s Ballroom and Above, agrees.
“Vince Lombardi once said, ‘Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.’ I always find it important to remind my clients that their day will be spectacular regardless of what they may consider to be small failures along the way. Every road has a bump, it’s how you gracefully roll over it. The guests will only see what we want them to see, as a professional it is my job to ensure that. When moments of stress occur, I ask my clients to look out at the room; look at their guests. Are they dancing? Are they smiling? Are they eating and enjoying the company of those around them? If you can answer yes to these questions, then you have created excellence. And we always do!”