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  • The Changing Face of Meeting Technology

Productive and visionary off-site meetings start with the best technology, cutting-edge audio-visual facilities and a human touch.

It’s a paradox for managers and organizers across the spectrum of businesses and organizations of all sizes: With instant messaging, video conferencing and communications, and collaborative apps on the rise, more and more office work is getting done without any face-to-face contact. But savvy planners still understand the value and productive power of meeting in person, off-site and away from everyday routines—and they’re seeking out facilities that offer up-to-the-moment audio-visual and networking resources to make it happen.

The Bloomington Convention and Visitors Bureau is a national leader in technological solutions for meetings and events. “We have been on the forefront of using technological solutions to make meeting planners’ lives easier,” said Dan O’Neill, Vice President of Strategy and Sales at the Bloomington CVB. “Our organization prioritizes keeping up with the latest trends in technology, and we encourage our meeting hotels to do the same.”

In Bloomington, gatherings large and small in off-site settings spark creativity, morale and group cohesion that can be so difficult to create in a typical biweekly catch-up. One recent survey of business owners tellingly revealed that nearly two-thirds view off-site meetings as more productive for impactful results than everyday work back at the office.

Workers and executives of a certain age recall the click of a slide projector in a dimly-lit meeting room—and the sleepy sensation that accompanied it. This is why leadership at hotels such as Marriott Minneapolis Airport put such an emphasis on tech solutions. With its prime location, perfect for bringing together participants from around the U.S. and the world, meeting planners can make sure everyone stays engaged before the event starts by taking advantage of the Marriott’s sophisticated but simple-to-use booking tools and mobile check-in. Once they’re on-site, state-of-the-art audiovisual facilities (including a vivid LCD projector) provide the means to bring the group together into a vision of action. Marriott Minneapolis Airport is one of several world-class meeting facilities in Bloomington, boasting a remarkable total event space of more than 22,000 square feet, with its largest room capable of hosting a capacity of 650 people.

The Marriott is also able to host smaller gatherings as well, another specialty of Renaissance Minneapolis Bloomington Hotel, which has built an infrastructure of technology and hospitality that’s ideal for small, focused events such as executive retreats and C-suite planning. The Renaissance boasts on-site conference planners to help shape the vision for the event and amenities such as installed and portable stages for creating the right level of drama and intimacy. There’s also wireless polling devices to take the minute-to-minute pulse of how well the group is coming together.

Meetings tech Successful event planners understand the importance of defining the vision for an event, clarifying the hour-to-hour schedule and utilizing the technological means for making it happen. Then, when everything is in place, planners can help enable the group’s flow and the electrifying discussions that can change the course of an organization for the better. Facilities in Bloomington are here to help make this magic happen. For example, DoubleTree by Hilton Bloomington-Minneapolis South offers secretarial services, in-house audiovisual and IT support, and video phone and messaging to allow planners to facilitate real and lasting productive gains.

Hyatt Regency Bloomington-Minneapolis also emphasizes facilitating the best meeting experience, says Director of Sales and Marketing Jessica Stephens. “Our audiovisual technicians can work directly with our clients to create customized staging, lighting and sounds that will help to engage the audience and make the event interactive, successful and above all, memorable,” Stephens says.

Getting to that a-ha moment almost always comes through the work of a solid team—and Bloomington’s world-class hotels are an essential part of providing the technological capacity and warm welcome that inspires and carries over into lasting impact long after everyone’s gone home.