Just 3 miles from downtown Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, Grand Geneva Resort & Spa sits on a sprawling 1,300 acres. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the AAA, four-diamond resort has put all that space to good use in creating its Hotel Buyout Package, which allows groups to reserve private accommodations and book entire buildings.
During the onset of the pandemic, the resort closed for a few months, before reopening in June. During that time, staff focused on training, implementing new cleaning measures, and figuring out how to host groups and events safely. With 62,000 square feet of meeting and convention space, groups are a huge part of the resort’s business.
“With this program, we really focus on the amount of space we can give your group, plus it’s an open canvas,” said Brad Lyles, director of sales and marketing at the resort. “Are you looking to do team building, dine arounds, golf — you can do such a wide range of things on our property for your group, and stay safe while you’re doing it.”
Lyles explained that his team can section out the resort property and meeting space in a way that ensures social distancing and CDC guidelines are followed. Groups members can walk from their guest rooms to the conference space or meal space without going outside of their own bubble of people.
Prior to COVID-19, the resort would host groups of 2,500+ people, but now books groups of 150 or so, depending on the program.
“We’ve taken a really conservative approach with our CleanCare Pledge,” Lyles said.
The resort adopted its CleanCare Pledge to address enhanced sanitization, social distancing, technology and processes for low-to-no contact interactions, and the use of personal protective equipment. For groups, this initiative means served food and beverages instead of buffets, frequent cleaning of public areas, zero touchpoints at check-in, QR codes on menus, among many other measures.
Whether the group is business or leisure, Grand Geneva Resort & Spa offers many year-round outdoor activities to keep group members engaged, all while keeping social distance. Those include beautiful Wisconsin hiking, mountain bike trails, skiing, horseback riding, motorized scooter rentals, classic car rentals, championship golf, tennis and more.
“It’s a nice balance — large groups can come here, and the space makes it so they aren’t on top of each other, it sprawls nicely,” Lyles said.
So far, Lyles said the buyout program has been appealing for corporate training groups, as well as educational, remote learning groups. The spaces are tailored to meet each group’s specific needs.
Lyles believes the Hotel Buyout Program will be available through Spring 2021 or ever later. “I don’t see social distancing going away any time soon, it’s going to be part of the conversation for a long time,” he said.
In addition to the resort’s 255 guest rooms, it offers 29 new villas. Ranging from one to three bedrooms, the villas are ideal for smaller groups. The high-end resort with a comfy Midwestern feel is home to the WELL Spa + Salon; two championship, 18-hole golf courses; The Mountain Top, a ski and snowboard facility; and three restaurants.
“From a secluded area resort with this much meeting space, a tour group is able to come in and relax, keep the group close to each other, follow the CDC guidelines, but still feel like they’re on vacation,” Lyles said. “We still have all the amenities of a four-diamond property, but we’re safe and clean. You can do a million different things here and still stay safe and follow the guidelines, and to me, that’s huge!