Our spotlight event of the month for October 2013 is the Sparkle of Hope Ball hosted by the UW Carbone Caner Center and the UW Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. This event has been held here at The Madison Concourse Hotel for the last three years. The evening began with a cocktail hour and silent auction, and concluded with dinner and a program celebrating women and recent advances in women’s cancer research. The event also featured a comedian this year, to keep the night fun and entertaining. Thanks to the UW Carbone Cancer Center and the UW Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology for choosing us to host this wonderful event!
The most wonderful time of the year is almost upon us, and we are so excited to celebrate one of our favorite Concourse traditions: our annual Children’s Holiday Party. The event will be held on Thursday December 19, and will bring together 350 local children from community organizations like The Dane County Boys and Girls Club. The children will enjoy a fun filled afternoon that includes a kid-friendly buffet, cookie decorating, craft stations, holiday pictures with Santa, Mrs. Claus, and the Grinch, and special visits from local celebrities including Bucky Badger and Maynard the Mallard.
Click here to see the photo album from the 2011 party.
Interested in involving your business in a great cause this holiday season? Consider donating! We’re looking for small gifts for the approximately 350 children attending. The gift would need to be available in bulk and appropriate for ages 5-11. Contact Marketing Manager Joan Herzing at email@example.com for any inquires or if you are interested in donating!
Volunteers are also needed for this event! Contact Stephanie LaBella at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!
Smartphones and tablets are essential for any meeting or event planner. But have you heard of these helpful apps?:
Point & Measure turns your iPhone into measuring tape. Point your iPhone camera at an object and the app will tell you its height. It can also give you the dimensions of a meeting room or event space just by pointing your device at the opposite wall. You can save the measurements in your photo library and send it to an email recipient, or share it on Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr. The newest update to the app also has a built in calibration and zoom for even more precise results. Great for site visits! $1.99 in the App Store. Check out this how-to video for more information.
Google Hangouts app is an instant messaging and video-chat platform that facilitates conversations between multiple users. You can have up to 10 people on the call simultaneously on this free app available for Apple devices and Android. Updates in the newest version include emojis and “anytime messages” which allow you to message people not online. The newest version also has a snooze setting for the times when you’d prefer to be undisturbed by alerts.
Check-in Easy is another free app which makes check-in at your events fast and simple. When you download your registration list from Excel into the app, it alerts you when someone checks in to your event. The app can hold guests lists of up to 20,000. Unique boarding pass technology lets planners send an email with a unique barcode to each guest, so they can be scanned in at the door with either an iPad 2 or iPhone. A new feature of the app allows you to text all your guests messages at once, ie. “Silent auction closing in 10 minutes!” Check-in Easy is available for iPads, iPhones, Android devices, and the Web.
When you’re planning a meeting or event, transportation is always a concern. Not having proper transportation from location to location can ruin an attendee’s day or even their complete event experience. Take the stress out of your next event by booking our new Madison Concourse Hotel bus for convenient and reliable guest transportation.
The bus was purchased in 2012, and holds up to 25 people. In the last year, it has been used for transporting guests between the hotel and Epic Systems headquarters in Verona. It has also been booked for weddings, transporting guests to Madison’s top restaurants, lounges and concert halls.
The bus is usually booked three to six months in advance, but it’s always best to book as early as possible! Contact Group Sales Manager Emily Rauber with any questions or inquiries at email@example.com.
Fee schedule for the vans/bus is as follows:
• An 11-13 passenger van is $50 an hour with minimum guarantee of 1 hour.
• A 25 passenger bus is $100 an hour with a minimum guarantee of 2 hours.
• Trip route to be approved by the Front Office Manager. Trip route over 25 miles (each way) will be assessed at $0.25 per miles.
• Food and any alcoholic beverage are not allowed in the hotel shuttles.
Check out this article from Associations Now on growing technology and its effects on Meeting Planners and Attendees. It provides great information that could prove invaluable when planning your next event.
#ThrowbackThursday to October 17, 2000. Thirteen years ago today, our late and much loved General Manager Cal Worrell was duct taped to a pole outside the hotel to support the United Way. For a $1 donation, employees and Madison community members could buy an arm’s length of duct tape and tape Cal onto the pole. Even Governor Tommy Thompson came over from the Capitol to add a strip of tape! This is one of our favorite Concourse memories! What’s yours?
A promotional report from April 1974, just two months before we opened as The Madison Hilton #tbt #throwbackthursday #Madison
Summer is nearly over, and the holiday season will be here before you know it. Now is the perfect time to plan your holiday party with us here at The Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club.
Our 2013 Holiday Menu features a variety of plated and buffet options for both lunch and dinner. We also offer complete bar service and beverage stations which can serve hot chocolate, egg nog or apple cider to get your guests in the holiday spirit. This year we’ve also added festive premium dessert upgrades like Peppermint Swirl Mousse and Eggnog Cheesecake.
Our downtown location, ample underground lot and nearby public parking allow your guests to spend more time having fun rather than working out transportation logistics. We also offer discounted rates for your group on our guest rooms, featuring our exclusive Dayton Street Comfort Collection™ bedding.
Our variety of spaces and ballrooms can accommodate up to 700 guests. The room setup includes a holiday centerpiece, linen, beautifully appointed trees, decorated food displays, podium with microphone, dance floor and any additional tables needed for registration, gifts, and awards.
We can handle the details.
You can relax.
Twitter has become a part of our daily routines. We all follow breaking news sites, our favorite celebrities and our friends and family, but twitter pages for events, meetings and conferences are becoming a necessity for event planners. Here are some twitter basics you should know for your next event:
Have a Twitter Handle Just for Your Event
Having a twitter account or handle (begins with @, ex. @msnconcoursehtl) for attendees to access information from and ask questions to, will help you connect with more guests in a much faster and more convenient way. Stop the endless emails and phone calls and solve problems in less than 140 characters. When you reply to a tweet, all your followers can see it, not just the person who asked the question. In this way your twitter feed can act as an FAQ page would on a website, a time saver for you and your attendees. This also serves as another way for attendees to interact with each other and create an online community before the event even begins.
Plan your Marketing Tweets
Apps like Hootsuite and Buffer can make your social media life much easier and less time consuming. These apps allow you to keep accounts separate, and simplifies the task of scheduling tweets. Having a tweet scheduler allows you to save anything you wish to tweet, and choose what time and day to post it (check out this blog post for guidance on the best times to tweet). This can be especially helpful with tweeting important things like schedules and any updates to the meeting details which you should post at least twice.
Use a Meeting Hashtag
Use a simple, easy to remember hashtag throughout your event. Promote this hashtag on the first event invitation and include it on all schedules, handouts, confirmation emails, etc. You can have different hashtags for smaller conferences or lectures in the big event as well. Feature these hashtags on PowerPoint or Prezzi slides.
Hashtags allow you to track which parts of your event people are talking about the most. Seeing what’s “trending” at the event can help you plan for your next event, making sure to include the most popular trends. Hashtags also help attendees connect with each other and share opinions before, during and after the event. Check out this fun blog post to decide what your hashtags should be!
Encourage Attendees to Actively Engage
Once you guests start using the twitter to engage with each other and the event, it can become a central hub for everyone. Ask your attendees to post any photos, videos or notes they have from the event on twitter. You can make your twitter feed a discussion forum by asking questions and engaging with attendees who respond. You want to encourage people to make connections on twitter. A follow on twitter can now replace an in-person business card exchange.
Reward Frequent Tweeters and Hashtag Users
Follow Fridays (#ff) are a perfect way to thank those that use your hashtags and follow you. Don’t include more than five people on your #ff tweet though. A large number makes it less personal.
Twitter also has an excellent help page and support staff to help you with any problems or questions you might have. Bring your next event or meeting to the Twitter-verse today!
For the month of July, we chose a large and unique wedding at the hotel that was made into a true “event” by the bride and groom, their guests and our staff, as the event of the month. Weddings happen almost every weekend here at The Madison Concourse Hotel, but this couple utilized a large part of the hotel for a long weekend and made the most out of our one-of-a-kind location.
Guests were provided with a map, schedule and information packet for the weekend in their “goodie bags” they received on arrival. On Thursday night they had dinner at Francesca’s on the square, just a few blocks away from the hotel. Their itinerary also included a “kickoff dinner” at nearby bar and restaurant the Essen Haus on Friday night, with our shuttle drivers dropping off and picking up a large number of the guests. The couple also posted other events going on around the city and highlighted some of their favorite things to do and places to go in the city. Guests had plenty of time during the weekend to explore downtown Madison on foot and bike and enjoy our premier location in the heart of downtown. Almost all of the guests were from out of town as well. The bride is originally from Oklahoma, but went to school at UW-Madison, and the groom is from the Green bay area. Both now live in Chicago.
On Saturday, the couple held both their wedding ceremony and reception here at the hotel. The large and ornate ceremony set-up was replaced in an hour by tables and chairs for 270 reception dinner guests. Personal Expressions (hyperlink) did all the set-up of the ceremony, but our staff, including many of our department managers, came in to help flip the room for the reception. During the hour in between guests mingled in our University ballroom for cocktail hour. The convenience of having both the ceremony and reception not only in the same building, but on the same floor of the hotel was great for guests. Lauren and DJ also treated their guests to a “hospitality suite” all weekend long. This suite on the sixth floor was stocked with snacks and refreshments for their guests. On Sunday morning the couple ended the weekend by hosting a large brunch for a number of guests here in the hotel.
One of the most impressive facts about this wedding is that the bride put the whole thing together in under 6 months. The couple also managed to make a big event personal with little details. Including bringing a band from Chicago, Hey Jimmy, and having Bucky Badger arrive as a surprise end of the night guest. The couple also used traditional Wisconsin Union chairs at the head table during the reception and for the Hora dance as well. We wish the couple the best and thank them for having such a great weekend here at the hotel and in our wonderful city.