By Astrid Zeppenfeld
Beautiful Margaritaville Lake Resort in the Missouri Ozarks has not seen much of a slowdown of overall bookings during the pandemic and certainly not over the usually busy summer months. While some event venues across the country considered shutting down operations, Ann Walters, Director Sales at Margaritaville Lake Resort reports, “We were fully booked every weekend in the summer of 2020 and many weekdays as well.” Wagner acknowledges, “We had fewer corporate events overall, as many organizations skipped/postponed events due to the pandemic. However, leisure travelers had us sold out every weekend.”
If you’ve ever visited, you know why. Whether it’s for business or pleasure, the resort is a fun place to be. More than 89,000 square feet of versatile indoor meeting space are at your disposal for your business events, as well as the outdoors, where you can talk shop over a game of golf or minigolf. Explore the trails on horseback. Book a daily cruise on the Tropic Island Cruise Boat, docked at the property, and just hold your 100 or fewer attendees meeting there – for a breezy, fresh perspective on things. Or rent paddle or pontoon boats for a teambuilding exercise or just by yourself during your lunch break. At the end of the day, relax by the pool or have dinner and then take a drink at the Landshark Bar&Grill’s swim-up bar, which opened in the spring of 2019 and quickly became a favorite among guests. Then head back to your room or one of the newly renovated suites by the water.
Morgan Mundell, President and CEO of the American Council of Engineering Companies of Missouri, has organized many meetings there, with up to 400 attendees for the annual convention in the Paradise Ballroom. “We have held meetings there in December, where we use mostly the indoor facilities, as well as in the summer, where I do everything I can to capitalize on the beautiful views they have of the lake, and make use of the water, swimming pools, and the outside fields,” Mundell explains. He appreciates being able to incorporate the cruise boat and golf courses into his business events and is currently planning a meeting with 100 attendees at Margaritaville Lake Resort in August. Mundell elaborates, “It is our first in-person member meeting in over 18 months, so it’s a reunion and a chance to reconnect with our members. Margaritaville provides the perfect venue for that. It’s got a great central location in the state of Missouri, which is easily accessible for my members. And you have that Margaritaville-feel that is relaxed and allows for social time and professional networking to bring people back together.”
Bringing people back together is definitely the meeting and event theme of 2021. The Missouri Bankers Association was lucky enough to secure a timeframe for an in-person meeting at Margaritaville Lake Resort this spring, as everyone is anxious to resume in-person events.
Cheri Messerli, Vice President, Director of Education at Missouri Bankers Association, has been holding 4-5 conferences and other business events every year at Margaritaville Lake Resort for 30 years – up until the pandemic hit in January/February 2020. Once the financial industry became eligible for the vaccine and after a kick-off hybrid meeting in April, the association is back to business-as-usual. Messerli is currently planning two more conferences there in September. “We’ve been holding meetings there for so long, the staff feels like family. Once you walk through the front doors, you’re greeted by someone who recognizes you.” She elaborates, “We reached out to them and they said that they wanted us there, so they have worked with us and it turned out to be a success.” Jackson Hataway, Executive Vice President of Communications, echoes the sentiment, “I can’t think of a better place to be doing our first in-person event; they’re really going the extra mile.”
Mundell agrees, “When you first step into the lobby, you feel like you’re in a different world. We go to the “business hotel” and there is not much variation. You go into the meeting space and you have your meeting; Margaritaville presents a different, more relaxed feel for conducting your meeting.”
Astrid Zeppenfeld is a writer and MEET Missouri’s editor/business development manager from St. Louis.