TheMadison ConcourseHotel
And Governor's Club

11.29.2018 | Meetings

8 Fun Holiday Party Ideas That Will Knock Your Reindeer Socks Off

Grab your Santa necktie and reindeer socks, it’s holiday party season! The holidays are a great time to gather with people close to you to celebrate, relax, and have fun together. For many groups and organizations, the holiday party is the event of the year!

So how can you throw a holiday party that is classic but not cliché? You just need some creative ideas that put new spins on cherished holiday traditions. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorites that are sure to make the season bright.

Forget the eggnog, this is not your grandmother’s holiday party! Spice things up this year with these fun holiday party ideas!

Strut Your Stuff

Holiday parties are a great opportunity to get all gussied up, but you can get more creative with your dress code. All it takes is a good theme.

Try a “Santa’s on vacation” party, and invite your guests to dress for Christmas in hawaii. Take a hint from “A Christmas Story” and watch your guests stroll around in their 1940s or 1950s best. For something really off the wall, imagine what a party inspired by “The Nightmare Before Christmas” would look like...

If all else fails, ugly Christmas sweater parties are popular for a reason: everybody’s got one and they all look ridiculous.

Game On

Sorry to break it to you, but white elephant is over. At the very least, there are other ways to do fun holiday gift exchanges. Try a Secret Santa gift opening race, but don’t forget the big, ridiculous oven mitts!

Holiday trivia is another fun way to get guests interacting. Trivia could involve topics like holiday traditions around the world, classic Christmas movies, holiday song lyrics, and so much more. You could even create a custom trivia game just for your group!

And The Winner Is

Who doesn’t love a good contest? The holidays are made for healthy competition.. and giving and loving and all that too.

How proud would you be to win an ugly fruit cake bake-off? Or a Christmas cookie bake-off? Or an ugly Christmas sweater contest?

Are you a Seinfeld fan? Maybe you want to go full Festivus and wrestle the head of the household to the ground. To each their own!

Share That Holiday Spirit

The season of joy is the season of giving. Get your group together and give back to your local community. Everyone will be better for it!

Consider organizing a group volunteering trip to a soup kitchen or nursing home. You could also organize a gift or donation drive at your event. There are plenty of ways to help those in need during the holiday season, so get to giving!

A Trip Down Memory Lane

The end of the year is a time for reflection. Why not give your guests the opportunity to reflect and remember together?

Invite your attendees to contribute to a big graffiti mural. Write a question in the center that asks what they’re grateful for, what their favorite memory is, or what they’re looking forward to. Give your guests the tools and space they need to add their answers to the mural in creative and colorful ways. Watch what unfolds!

Don’t forget to give your guests a memory of the party! Set up a selfie station or photobooth to capture the moment. Bonus points for hilarious holiday props.

Carve The Roast Beast

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… for eating delicious food! Yes, sweater season conveniently lines up with holiday party season. It’s like the universe wants you to attack that carbolicious comfort food like it’s Christmas morning!

The best approach is to try new spins on traditional favorites. Our holiday menu features mouth-watering dishes like smoked pit ham, oven roasted turkey, yukon mashed potatoes, and dried cranberry and walnut salads.

Don’t forget dessert! Treat yourself to classic bread pudding, brown butter carrot cake, tarts, pie, custards galore! Afterall, you’ve been good this year.

Forget The Eggnogg

Unless of course you like eggnog, then by all means! But there are so many amazing holiday cocktails to try!

Check out our special holiday drink menu, and get ready to discover new seasonal favorites like the Dirty Snowball, the Poinsettia, or the Grinch.

We’ll drink to that!

Rain (Snow?) Check

December is full of holiday parties, get-togethers, gift exchanges, and oh so many obligations. Are you exhausted yet? Have you ever thought about hitting snooze until January?

Hear us out! Year-end parties don’t have to be in December. That’s just so… obvious. Why not hold your big event in January? Call it a new year’s party or a kick off party or a holiday party for procrastinators.

It’s your party, you can schedule it unconventionally if you want to.

Merry Little Elves

Want to have the best holiday party ever? You’ve come to the right place! The experts at The Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club are masters in the art and science of holiday parties.

Imagine all the holiday ambiance created for you to your exact preferences: holiday centerpieces, linens, beautifully appointed trees, decorated food displays, and so much more.

Let’s make some holiday magic together. We can help bring all your best holiday party ideas to life. Learn more about our holiday party options and get in touch with us today!

11.27.2018 | Meetings

Creative Break Ideas For Your Next Conference

Need a break? Your conference attendees do too! At your next big event, give them something fun and creative to do.

How do you turn boring breaks into enhanced experiences? The experts at The Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor's Club have some ideas for you.

From snacks to games to something unexpected, check out these seven creative break ideas for your next conference.

To learn more about how The Madison Concourse Hotel can make your event spectacular -- down to every last detail -- view our meetings & events offerings.

Do Goodery

Nothing brings people together like helping the community. At your next event, give your attendees an opportunity to give back.

Set up a station for folks to help make care packages for local children's hospitals. Be sure to include fun activities like coloring books, card games, and stickers.

Similarly, you can assemble care kits for local homeless shelters. Simple items like toothbrushes, hand wipes, and socks can go a long way in making someone’s life better.

Breathe In Breathe Out

You don’t need much time to sneak in a quick wellness session! Try offering a beginner’s yoga class. Attendees can stretch their bodies and their brains after long periods of being seated.

Meditation sessions are a great option too. All it takes is a brief overview of mindfulness techniques and you’re off to nirvana (or something like that).

If you’d like to really take care of your attendees, consider showing the introverts some love. Attending a big conference can be very draining, and introverts especially need time and space to “recharge.” Create an introvert zone where talking is prohibited and comfortable lounge space offers a quiet oasis.

Old Dog Meet New Trick

At conferences, attendees spend a lot of time learning new things. But during the breaks, the learning doesn’t have to stop!

Try offering mini learning opportunities as creative palette cleansers. These sessions can be fun and totally unrelated to the overall conference. Learn how to decorate cupcakes, how to assemble a cheese board, or how to knit a scarf. Anything goes as long as it’s fun and engaging.

Snack Attack

Snack time! Your attendees will be hungry and ready to eat during conference breaks. Your job is to provide fast and filling options that will boost energy and prevent that mid-day slump.

Tame the hunger monster by offering fruits, vegetables, salads, and protein options. Add some local flavor, like an artisan meat and cheese board for Wisconsin, for example.

For extra creative points, give your attendees something they won’t soon forget, like sushi burritos, Korean BBQ tacos, or mac-and-cheese pizza (like Ian’s).

Don’t forget about food allergies and dietary restrictions! Make sure your snacks are clearly labeled and you have something for everyone to enjoy.

Get Crafty With It

Crafts are a great way for your attendees to embrace their creative side, interact with others, and take home unique goodies! Plus, there are so many different mini craft projects to choose from, you are sure to find something perfect for your group.

In Madison, we are inspired by Revel, a DIY craft studio. They offer all kinds of craft activities designed for small groups like candle-making, crocheting, painting, string art, and so much more. Pick a theme that jives with your conference and get crafty with it!


Photos are a great keepsake from big events. Plus, your attendees can share them on social media with your conference hashtag! But don’t just settle for a traditional photographer, have some fun with it!

You could set up a selfie station, a retro photobooth, or a red carpet walk. Whatever you choose, be sure to give your attendees plenty of fun props to play with! You can’t go wrong with giant sunglasses and fluffy feather boas.

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

A little competition can really shake things up! Give your attendees the opportunity to team up and play games during the breaks.

Organize a scavenger hunt around the venue or (even better) around the local area. Incorporate taking photos or videos of crazy tasks for points. Prizes help, but bragging rights are valuable too.

Other ideas include a massive rock-paper-scissors tournament or a bigger and better exchange contest. The more people who can participate, the better!

Take A Break From Boring Breaks

Remember, details matter! Breaks between sessions don’t have to be empty space. Fill ‘em up and enhance the experience for your conference attendees.

The event experts at The Madison Concourse Hotel can help! Contact us today to start planning your next event.

9.14.2018 | Meetings

4 Ways To Increase Attendance And Engagement At Your Event

Note: This article was originally published by Wisconsin Meetings, written by The Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor's Club team.

Attendance and engagement are magic words to event planners. Your ability to attract attendees and generate engagement can make or break an event. Here are a few ways to make sure your next event is as full as it is fascinating.

Location, Location, Location

First, determine if the venue has the right layout and capacity for your attendance goals. The Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club is the largest convention hotel in Madison with 27,000 square feet of recently renovated meeting space. Our flexible meeting space is perfect for any event from large conventions to small strategic planning sessions.

Next, consider the accessibility and desirability of your event destination. Madison, Wisconsin is among the top event destinations in the area, and we’re right in the center of it all. Our hotel is steps away from Capitol Square and dozens of restaurants, parks, shops, and more.

Create Engagement By Design

Put engagement at the heart of your event strategy. Before the event, allow attendees to submit questions or goals in order to give your presenters the opportunity to address them directly.

Keep in mind, presenters aren’t the only ones sharing knowledge. Make sure you provide opportunities for attendees to share their expertise with each other by hosting discussions in person and online. Use hashtags and display them prominently to promote more conversation. It’s a great way to get real-time feedback too!

The dining setup you choose also has a large stake in attendee engagement. Look for “festival style” dining with stations instead of a regular buffet; it’s great for conversation starters and getting people moving (an award-winning chef doesn’t hurt either).

Get Down With Downtime

Contrary to popular belief, downtime is actually a continuation of the event, not an interruption.

Don’t feel like you have to program every minute of the day. Instead, view the in-between times as an opportunity for attendees to interact in small groups and process what they’re learning together.

Make sure your event venue has plenty of space and soft seating to encourage attendees to cozy up and chat. At The Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club, guests can enjoy our on-site restaurant, Starbucks, bar, or open lounge space in the recently renovated lobby. Plus, there’s plenty to explore within walking distance.

Work With A Great Venue And Support Staff

Nothing disrupts attendee engagement like a technical difficulty. Make sure you partner with an event venue that you can depend on, like The Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club.

We have knowledgeable IT and AV support staff on site and at your service. Not to mention, our experienced event professionals will work with you every step of the way. Our team of experts can help you increase attendance and engagement to make your next event a success.

To learn more about hosting an event at The Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club, visit our website and contact us to get started.