When it comes to corporate meetings and events, there’s the usual way of doing things, and then there’s the think-outside-the-box way. Choosing to gather your team and jet down to the island of Curacao, for example, is an outside-the-box choice and a rewarding one at that!
Meet Danielle Dunfee, Global Director of Sales and expert at coordinating meeting experiences. Danielle ensures all visiting companies and teams have the best possible experience before, during and after their event. Today, Danielle shares some valuable advice for you and a little about herself and her role with Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort.
Danielle, tell us, what do you do?
“I hold a ‘hybrid’ position with Benchmark Hospitality as I’m a Group Sales Manager for the Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort on the Dutch Caribbean Island of Curacao and I’m also the Southeast Global Director of Sales covering the entire Benchmark Portfolio of 70+ hotels, resorts, & conference centers. The easy definition – I put heads in beds at a group level.”
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
“Curacao is the 6th or 7th Caribbean Island that I’ve been blessed to work on, and I wouldn’t change this island hopping career for anything! What I love most about the Caribbean are the 5 C’s – the challenge, the cultures, the cuisine, the climate, and the characters. NO island is the same.”
Do you have any advice for groups planning meetings from afar?
“Use empathy in the decision-making process. If you’re planning an incentive trip, would you be incentivized by traveling to the same destination you’ve been to 5 times already for destinations weddings or while on a cruise?”
Do you have any tips to elevate the experience of a destination meeting?
“Break the mold. For example, if you have meetings in the program and you’re at a beach destination, take the breakouts to the beach or a covered pavilion. Use technology during your meetings to capture real-time questions and feedback.”
What are your tops tips for anyone/everyone as they prepare for a trip to the island?
“Do your research beforehand. I personally love theater and always lived by the saying, ‘know your show before go.’ Well, the same holds true for corporate travel.”
Thank you, Danielle, for taking the time to share some of your insights and advice. We look forward to chatting more in-depth on some of these topics in the future. For those of you considering planning a corporate meeting or incentive trip for your team, we welcome you to discover if Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort is the right fit!