Courtesy Foundation for Hospital Art
When the Riverside Hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., devised a new team-building offering, it bypassed rope courses, geocaching and other traditional activities and spotlighted its own “backyard.”
“We decided to create a scavenger hunt built around the hotel and Las Olas Boulevard,” said Mary Ann Eatmon, director of sales and marketing.
The 219-room hotel’s location on Las Olas Boulevard, a picturesque stretch that links the downtown business district and the ocean, makes such a treasure hunt more colorful. Spanish for “The Waves,” the boulevard dates to the early 20th century, and the hotel followed in the 1930s.
The Meet History hunt is one example of a team-building activity that can bring participants of all ages and abilities together, without requiring them to have taut muscles or nerves of steel.
A sensory experience
Riverside Hotel’s complimentary Meet History program not only gives participants a break from their meeting, it also acquaints them with the neighborhood.
Groups of 20 or fewer break into teams and try to find the most items on a list in an allotted time, typically an hour or two, depending on the group size and schedule. Each item has a point value. Photos of items are taken with a smartphone.
“We figure everyone has a smartphone, and it’s easy to capture an image,” Eatmon said.
The hunt begins at the hotel, where teams might search for the property’s signature tiles, marked with animal footprints, or for the original phone booth-size elevator, installed in 1936. Out on the boulevard, teams look for Las Olas landmarks, such as the oldest-surviving structure in Broward County.
When time runs out, points are tallied, and the team with the highest score wins a $50 credit to a hotel restaurant, for example, the new Wild Sea Oyster Bar and Grille.
Best hand wins
At the Coeur d’Alene Resort on Lake Coeur d’Alene in eastern Idaho, a poker-inspired activity gets groups out on a boat for some low-key competition.
The cruise makes stops at seven scenic locations along the lake, and at each, teams receive a playing card. At the end of the cruise, the team with the best five-card hand wins. Teams work together to create what they consider to be their best hand from the seven cards they receive.
Sweet smells of success
The 308-room Ojai Valley Inn and Spa in Ojai, Calif., is as celebrated for its spa as it is for its 16,000-square-foot conference center. The two features can be blended at the Artist Cottage and Apothecary, on the resort’s 221-acre grounds.
Teams of up to five create a custom scent, an exercise that requires them to blend personalities and preferences. Teams can name their scents. Judges pick the best scent and the winning team leaves with a prize, such as a bottle of the perfume they concocted.