As an incentive trip and event manager, I am fortunate to experience the luxury and amenities of many of the finest five-star resorts in the country. But as every event manager knows, your guest experience is only as good as the resort you have so carefully selected.
No matter how many times I run an event or incentive trip through the ‘100% experience simulation’ that is my brain, ultimately upon arrival at the destination I am at the mercy of the organization magnitude of the staff on location.
My job from planning to completion hinges on one simple but difficult task: Ensure every client at every moment is having the most positive and high-class experience possible. This means a seamless transition from activity to activity, carefully planned fine dining, thought-provoking conversation, superb wines, refined entertainment, adequate down time and most importantly TRUST in the resort to holistically and graciously deliver our one unified objective.
The excellent service culture, dedication to perfecting the travel experience and reputation for elegant and high-quality taste make any Four Seasons resort a no brainer. The Four Seasons at Jackson Hole embodies all of the aforementioned desirable attributes combined with the rustic culture you would expect in a raw mountainous setting like Wyoming. Imagine Sir Ben Kingsley meets Matt Damon (in ‘A River Runs Through It’) wearing a bolo tie and you have just envisioned the bellman waiting to show you up to your mountainside room.
The three Power ‘S’s of the Four Seasons, Jackson Hole:
S’mores – That’s right, you can have s’mores delivered straight to your pruned wrinkly little fingers as you unwind in the outdoor hot tub lined with pine trees slope-side.
Spa – 16 treatment rooms, tranquil lounges with fireplaces and deep soaking tubs make this nationally recognized relaxation center the ideal spot to regenerate sore muscles.
Ski-in/Ski out – Duh, because why would you have your guests spend precious time walking to the slopes when instead they can exit their hotel and hop right on Bridger Gondola?
The three Power S’s create a solid foundation for an unforgettable trip – but here are some further recommendations to create a flawless and memorable high-class experience:
Picking the perfect après ski hangout is a crucial part of any successful ski trip. Everyone has heard of the Mangy Moose. Yes, we know it’s been rated the No. 1 après ski bar in the country, but in my personal experience, this did not deliver a best-in-class experience for our guests. The young hip atmosphere and cheap drinks are definitely on point but ultimately it was so crowded that it’s not the best place to corral a large group of people.
As an alternative, I would recommend the patio at the Handle Bar located on the Four Seasons property. Slope-side patio at the base of the mountain, outdoor fire pits, and an expansive list of libations and pub eats make this the perfect habitat to rest and recharge after an epic day on the hill.
For a change of scenery, I would also recommend The Spur at Teton Mountain Lodge, especially if there is a sporting event on TV. The Spur is only a half-mile from the Four Seasons, walking distance.
Offsite Evening in Downtown Jackson
My standard trip format usually consists of two nights on resort to not only meet food and beverage minimums, but also reap the benefits of those five-star dining ratings the resorts work so hard to achieve. For an offsite dinner that compliments the level of food and service at the Westbank Grill at the Four Seasons, I strongly advise you to check out Snake River Grill. The semi-private space off the bar comfortably accommodates 16 guests and delivers superb new-American cuisine and service.
After dinner, do not miss a stop at Wyoming’s landmark Million Dollar Cowboy Bar. Stepping into the bar feels like time-traveling back to the Wild West. There is not a corner of the bar untouched by cowboy and cowgirl flare. My favorite décor is the knotty pine infrastructure and the genuine saddle bar stools. The bar is sprawling – complete with live entertainment and a dance floor. Yee-haw, ya’ll!
‘In-bounds’ Hike for Freshies
Let’s face it, incentive corporate trips typically include guests at all skill and interest levels. Nicely put, the groups I lead spend the majority of their day jobs running a company in an office. This isn’t necessarily conducive to the time required to master a sport or hobby like skiing and snowboarding. However, as conservative as this may sound, there are always a few on the trip who are ready for an adventure. While many off-piste or backcountry trails might not be within these skill levels, there is a relatively safe and moderate hike on the east side of the mountain. Sheridan ridge is a nice little leg burner hike resulting in some fresh tracks ticking the adventure box.
100 Percent Tip: Take high altitude precautions by arming guests upon arrival with herbs to combat altitude side-affects. I recommend Sun Country’s Altitude Adjustment tablets.
I hope this helps you plan a successful event whether it’s for work or personal pleasure. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with further questions on how to create a memorable 100 Percent experience or leave a comment below.