Meeting Energizer

Windy City Fieldhouse (WCF) remains committed to Delivering Exceptional and Memorable Client Experiences focused on meeting your events unique goals and objectives in a fun and innovative setting.  To accomplish this goal, WCF must proactively assist its clients in planning for their upcoming summer outing – typically the largest event of the year and the one requiring the most planning.  WCF once again provides its annual guide to planning a unique and memorable summer outing. With some new additions and twists, read on to help plan your best summer outing ever.

WCF is already busy working with clients planning and selecting 2009 summer outings.  Over the past 11 years, WCF has planned and executed over 1,400 corporate summer picnics and outings for clients including JP Morgan, Seyfarth & Shaw, IBM, Allstate, USG, James McHugh Construction Company, Fortune Brands, Children’s Memorial Hospital, and more.  Last year alone, WCF planned and executed over 300 summer picnics and outings.  Through its experiences with summer outings and client feedback, WCF has identified key components of the decision-making process that clients should consider to ensure that their summer outing matches the mission and objectives of the event while maximizing value, participation and fun.  Most importantly, don’t wait!  Clients are already booking their summer outings to guarantee the location and date of their choice.

Mission & Objectives

The first step in the decision-making process is defining the summer outing’s key mission and objectives.  Without determining these elements, it is virtually impossible to plan and select an event that maximizes participation, fun and value for employees and guests of all ages.  WCF takes each client through a series of questions designed to help identify some key goals for the event.  Some of the questions to consider in this step include:

  • Is a focus of the event to build camaraderie and goodwill amongst employees and/or employees and their families?
  • Is the event focused on enhancing relationships amongst employees?
  • Is the event strictly to reward employees?
  • Is the priority on younger employees (generally without families) or those employees with families or both?
  • If the priority is on both, how will the needs of the different groups be addressed?
  • What is the budget for the event?

Once objectives are determined, the planning and selection process for the ideal summer outing begins.

Weekday vs. Weekend Events

The next step in the decision-making process is determining if the event is to occur on a weekday or weekend.  With benefits to either option, the mission and objectives determined by the client drive this decision.  For instance, a company looking to provide a highly engaging and entertaining event for employees and their families would prefer to host a weekend event to ensure family members are able to attend.  However, clients who want to guarantee a high employee attendance rate and want to focus on building relationships amongst employees are likely to choose a weekday event.  In addition, weekday events are typically less expensive since family members do not attend.

Day vs. Evening Events

After selecting the day of the week, clients must choose the best time of day to hold the event.  Traditionally, summer picnics are held in the afternoon taking advantage of the warm weather, time off work during the week and the optimum time for family members of all ages to attend, just to name a few.  However, a recent trend towards evening picnics held from 5:00-9:00 PM has proved popular with many WCF clients.  Evening picnics are a good choice for many companies for a variety of reasons.

  • Family – Those who have actively involved children like evening picnics because they don’t have to miss that week’s camp, class, game or practice.
  • 20 to 30 year olds – Evening picnics are a great opportunity to share some food and drinks with co-workers followed by an evening out at a variety of downtown bars or clubs – all without giving up a precious summer afternoon or a day of productivity in the office.
  • Employees – By holding the event after work hours for weekday events, employees don’t lose an afternoon of productivity in the office.
  • Cooler Weather – With summer evenings staying light until 9:00 PM, evening picnics provide a great opportunity to take advantage of Chicago’s cooler evening weather.
  • Available Dates & Location – Best of all, evening picnics offer more flexibility for dates and locations.  With almost all weekend day events booked, evening picnics allow companies to secure their first choice of date and location.
  • Budget – Lastly, if budget is a concern, evening picnics also tend to be less expensive in many cases.

Whether selecting a traditional afternoon picnic or opting for the newer evening picnic trend, clients must make sure to match the advantages of each to fit their needs.

Exclusive Interactive Event vs. General Admission Event

With the day of the week and time selected, the next step is choosing the type of event:  an exclusive interactive event vs. a general admission event.  Exclusive interactive events are private events strictly for the company, such as private summer picnics, company softball tournaments and interactive receptions.  These events provide a great environment for internal networking and enhance relationships between the company, the employees and their families.  On the contrary, general admission events take place in public environments such as amusement parks, baseball games and zoos.  These events focus less on the relationships between the company, the employees and their families and more on providing free admission to a destination.  In addition, it is extremely challenging to meet the desires of diverse employee groups at general admission events, as these destinations are generally not targeted to all demographic audiences or age groups.

More and more companies are selecting exclusive interactive events as the best return on investment.  Both event types are intended to reward employees, however exclusive interactive events are much more likely to also motivate employees while enhancing employee morale and camaraderie.  In addition, exclusive interactive events tend to develop goodwill with the employees’ families since the entire group is together (or in the same area) throughout the event as opposed to being spread throughout an enormous public area.  If desired, clients add a meeting or team building event prior to the outing to increase value and enhance interaction amongst employees.

Location! Location! Location!

Once the type of event is determined, it is time to start looking at potential locations. A convenient location is a key consideration when trying to maximize value and attendance at a summer picnic.  With many private venues located throughout the city and surrounding suburbs, it is important to consult with a planner, preferably with years of summer outing experience, to find the best venue matching the clients’ needs.  If the event occurs during the week, search for a nearby location with easy access to the company’s offices.  If possible, hold the event on the grounds at the company’s offices.  For events held on the weekend or in the evening, it is important to pick a central location for the majority of employees.  A great cost saving option when considering location is to hold your picnic indoors at WCF.  You are able to save up to 30-50% and  you are also guaranteed a perfect 75 degree day with no rain.

Solution:  WCF Interactive Corporate Picnic

WCF offers excellent private CITY AND SUBURBAN corporate picnic locations and packages that are truly a unique experience for guests.  A key element of WCF picnic packages is separately targeting each age group to meet its specific needs.  For instance, the type of entertainment a 26 year-old enjoys is vastly different then a 50 year-old father of three.  WCF’s interactive picnics cater to all age groups.

At a WCF exclusive interactive picnic, a variety of entertainment options are available including rock-climbing walls, live bands or disk jockeys/entertainers, inflatable attractions, face painters and caricature artists.  A children’s program is also available including everything from creative water games and relays to “arts & crafts”.  In addition, WCF provides its clients with a helpful guide for planning the optimal summer outing.  Included in the guide are specific steps to generate enthusiasm for the outing prior to the event including sample e-mails, numerous announcements, planning schedules and pre-event checklists.  Another new client benefit is the use of the custom client picnic website.  “ We develop customized web sites for clients as another way to deliver value to the picnic,” says Murrel Karsh, WCF president.  “The web site includes the client logo, itinerary, menu, maps and even an area for post-event digital photos taken during the picnic.  Plus returning clients have their photos posted from last year’s event.”   Click here to view a sample website.

WCF’s numerous picnic options enable each client to effectively execute a customized summer outing that meets the mission and objectives of the event while delivering an extreme amount of value to the company.  WCF takes care of as many or as few event details as desired by the client/planner including catering, tent arrangements, parking permits, security and bus transportation.  In addition, with access to Chicago’s premier picnic grounds just minutes from downtown and throughout the suburbs, WCF offers access to the best locations in the Chicagoland area.  If desired, WCF transforms your company location or headquarters into private picnic grounds.  A variety of exclusive WCF private sites are available throughout Chicago and the suburbs including the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), The Chicago Historical Society (CHS), Navy Pier, Lincoln Park, and Millennium Park along with many suburban day camps and park districts.  Plan ahead this summer and let WCF help you identify and meet your goals and objectives for your next summer outing.

Request a Proposal or contact your sales representative to learn more about WCF’s summer outings.

Copyright © 2022  Windy City Fieldhouse. All Rights Reserved.

Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?