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Ohio State Park Lodges Offer 12 Tips for Planning
Small-Group Strategic Meetings


OHIO STATE PARK LODGES, December 17, 2012 – When it is time for a small-group off-site strategy session, meeting planners look for facilities that offer efficient and highly functional meeting space for the often-intense daytime sessions and a wide array of indoor and outdoor recreational offerings that will allow attendees to relax no matter what the weather. Five Ohio State Park Lodges located in the central and northern regions of the state fit these dual requirements, and they have become particularly popular for small groups looking for affordable, drive-to destinations.

“Strategy sessions can be intense, so when top-level executives gather off-site to discuss serious business, the venue they choose had better do things right…and at the right price,” said Dianna Rom, regional director of sales and marketing for Xanterra Parks & Resorts, operator of the five lodges. “The natural beauty of Ohio’s state parks can both invigorate and calm executives engaged in strategy sessions. And after-hours recreational choices are abundant, so executives can clear their heads by swimming laps in a pool, reading a book by a fireplace or even playing pinball in a game room.”

Lodges are located within an easy drive of many major cities in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. The lodges are Deer Creek State Park Lodge near Columbus, Salt Fork State Park Lodge in central Ohio near Cambridge, Mohican State Park Lodge in north central Ohio near Loudonville, Punderson Manor State Park Lodge in northeastern Ohio near Newbury and Maumee Bay State Park Lodge in northwestern Ohio near Toledo. Xanterra also operates the marina at Geneva Marina State Park in Geneva-on-the-Lake in northeastern Ohio. All five lodges have expansive meeting space and distinctive indoor and outdoor activities.

Rom offered the following tips for executives planning small meetings at Ohio State Park Lodges.

1. Act like you own the place. Booking a meeting at an Ohio State Park Lodge means you are in charge just like you would be in your own home. “When you plan an event in your own home, it reflects your personality, and a meeting should do the same,” said Rom. “Our team is creative, and we thrive on helping groups find the right theme, tone, pace and even decorations for their events. We encourage our small-group guests to tell us what they want, and it is our job to figure out how to get it for them.”
 
2. Stay connected. Most people cannot simply walk away from their offices without checking in periodically. Ohio State Park Lodges make it easy by offering WiFi and business centers so meeting attendees can stay connected to their offices.
 
3. Stay physical. Especially after intense meetings, bodies need to blow off steam. The lodges offer a wide range of indoor and outdoor activities to keep the blood flowing. “I’ve seen executives’ tension subside after they play a spirited game of Wallyball at Maumee Bay or table tennis at Mohican,” said Rom.
 
4. Save money. Something as simple as planning a Sunday-through-Wednesday meeting vs. one that is Tuesday through Friday can mean big savings. Ask what dates would be available at a better rate if meeting dates are flexible.
 
5. Get everyone involved. During the warm weather, golf is still the most popular sporting activity for meetings, and there are golf courses at most of the lodges. During the cold weather, there are options such as Walleyball at Maumee Bay State Park Lodge, billiard tournaments, cards or excursions to nearby towns that offer museums and shopping.
 
6. Build a cohesive team. Ohio State Park Lodges have partnered with numerous team-building companies that specialize in both indoor and outdoor events. Examples include cooking competitions and building playhouses for local children.
 
7. Pace yourself. The best meeting offers a mix of serious business followed by serious fun. Lodge staff can help advise on the right pace to balance high productivity while avoiding burnout and boredom.
 
8. Add some down time. Over-programming can be a major pitfall. With indoor fireplaces,  cozy seating areas, inviting lounges and outdoor walking areas, attendees can easily find a place for solitary reflection.
 
9. Consider going casual. State parks are a place to forgo formal office attire in favor of casual, comfortable, season-appropriate clothing.
 
10. Think about theming. Even for a small-group strategy session, conference staff can find tools, props and talent like naturalists or singers who can enhance and build upon the goals of the meeting.
 
11. Request a room with a view. All lodges offer meeting rooms with terrific views of the state parks that can inspire participants to think outside the box – or to get their work done quickly so they can go outside and play.
 
12. Expect a glitch-free meeting. Ohio State Park Lodges employees are dedicated to making sure that our group meeting planners have a stress-free event, and the group attendees leave refreshed and recharged.

All five Ohio State Park Lodges offer a wide range of meeting space and accommodations choices. The lodges each offer multiple conference rooms that work well for small groups and can be configured for groups of as few as 10 or as many as 200. Guest room configurations vary too. For example, each of the 148 rooms at Salt Fork State Park Lodge offers king, bunk, poolside walkouts and hospitality rooms, each with a balcony overlooking either the woods or outdoor pool area. Most lodges also offer cottages, some appropriate for small groups. At Maumee Bay, for example, there are two- and four-bedroom cottages with kitchens, living areas and fireplaces.

For information about arranging meetings, planners should visit the individual websites or www.ohiostateparklodges.com or call 1-877-496-9224. Travelers can also follow Ohio State Park Lodges on Facebook or Twitter.

About Xanterra Parks & Resorts
Xanterra Parks & Resorts® (consisting of several affiliated Xanterra entities) operates lodges, restaurants, tours and activities at national parks and state parks and resorts. Xanterra Parks & Resorts is the country’s largest park concessioner. Xanterra Parks & Resorts has operations in the following locations: Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Zion, Crater Lake, Rocky Mountain and Petrified Forest National Parks, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Furnace Creek Resort in Death Valley National Park and five Ohio State Park Lodges as well as the Geneva Marina at Ohio’s Geneva State Park. Xanterra Parks & Resorts also operates Windstar Cruises, Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Va. and Grand Canyon Railway in Williams, Ariz.

Xanterra Parks & Resorts has been committed to the preservation and protection of the environment for many years. Through its environmental program, “Ecologix,” Xanterra Parks & Resorts has been recognized repeatedly for environmental leadership in the hospitality industry and is the recipient of many honors, including major awards from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Environmental Protection Agency, Travel Industry Association of America, American Hotel and Lodging Association, National Parks Conservation Association, Conde Nast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Colorado Department of Public Health, State of Arizona, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and Utah Department of Environmental Quality.

For more information about Xanterra Parks & Resorts, links to individual properties and reservations numbers, visit www.xanterra.com.
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Contact:

Xanterra Parks & Resorts
6312 S. Fiddlers Green Circle
Suite 600 North
Greenwood Village, CO 80111

Media contact:
Xanterra Parks & Resorts
Mesereau Public Relations
1-720-842-5271
mona_mesereau@msn.com
tom_mesereau@msn.com


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