Skipper Waits Patiently?

The great countdown to Lake Minnetonka ice out is on!  After a long and cold winter all of us are looking forward to sun filled days, gentle summer breezes and starry nights.  The Al and Alma’s fleet is ready for the water and patiently waiting for the retreat of the ice.  The history of declaring Lake Minnetonka has been recorded since the mid 1800s in that time the ice has rarely lasted until May.  But as we saw last year, we had to wait for unimpeded water until May 2nd.  As of today 20+ inches of solid clear ice remains topped with about 6 inches of slushy ice making the official ice out date anyone’s guess.  Hooray for SPRING!

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Lake Minnetonka Ice Out!

Well its that time of year when cabin fever starts to boil over and we all begin longing for frozen drifts of snow to dissipate and the thick sheets of ice to puddle back up to form our favorite bays.  In just a few weeks, the sun will have its way with winter and once again dance on the gentle waves of our beloved Lake Minnetonka.  Ahh…but when?  Today, March 15th places us just one month in front the the date that has alluded Lake Minnetonka Ice Out history dating all the way back to 1855.  Have some fun with the Al and Almascrew this spring;  submit your ice out date and time at our facebook site.  http://www.facebook.com/AlandAlmas 

Also, check history out for yourself:  visit a historical time line of Lake Minnetonka ice out at the Freshwater Society:

http://www.freshwater.org/index.php/programs/whats-new/66-ice-out-on-lake-minnetonka

Happy Meltdown!

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5.  Atmosphere, Atmosphere, Atmosphere!  The atmosphere of your event should be free flowing allowing; just enough space to allow your clients and staff to enjoy themselves but not feel disorganized.    Music, icebreaker games, food and wine tiered tastings are just a few elements that can add just the right touch to your event!

4.  Captivate em.  A clear start and end time is one of the best ways to manage expectations.  We’ve all been to client dinners that seem to take forever to begin or end.  People walking in late, leaving early can be distracting to all.  Cruising comes with a built in “don’t miss the boat” feature, and also gives us an accurate end time.  If all goes as planned, your guests may not want to get off the boat!

3:  Just ask your Mom:  Honesty is the best policy.  Setting proper expectations for the event can make or break your guest’s experiences.  Do the necessary up-front work to assure your event plans are complete and representative of what your guests will experience.  Demand precision from your Event Planner, if you are hosting an event during the lunch or dinner hour make sure you communicate what kind of meal you will or won’t be serving!

2.  Hey You Guys!  Remember the old Kool Aid commercials where nothing was fun until the Kool Aid man burst through the walls delivering refreshments to everyone?  Don’t leave your guests hanging for relief; assure that from the moment your guests arrive on site that they are pampered.  A welcome beverage is a great way to demonstrate that as the host, you’re glad that your guests are present and you look forward to keeping them comfortable throughout the event!

1. Make it a both-and experience.  Why does it always have to be one or the other?  Deep down don’t we really want things to be a both…and?  Your clients know that they are being treated to a spectacular event, they are not ignorant.  The first confirmation that you have their attention is their presence, don’t be afraid to use the event to make a fair ask for the pending deal or opportunity!

Our professional event staff will work with you to make the most of your entertainment budget.  Come and explore Lake Minnetonka aboard Al and Alma’s Charter Cruises

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10.  Demand a partnership with your venue.  Make sure that your entertainment dollars are spent wisely; your clients can easily sniff out a quality venue vs. a mediocre venue.  Of course be fiscally responsible and work within your budget, but be realistic, know your limits; don’t try to secure an upscale venue at a thrift rate, you are sure to receive thrifty service, the old adage that you get what you pay for is almost always true!  Your venue hosts must align themselves as your advocate, a true stakeholder in the success of your event!

9.  Deliver an experience!  Create an event that your clients will tell their friends and family about.  Sure you want to get the deal, and one of the best ways is to align your product and your business with an experience that is associated with your message.  One of our client’s rewards their top performing employees with a trip to Vegas International Speedway to take a few laps in a stock car!  Now that’s an experience, but not one we can all afford!

8.  Make it personal.  Let’s face it, a lot of companies don’t have an obvious edge on their competitors,” the difference is our people” is almost as cliché as it is fact!  That’s why our success comes down to the ability of our key staff people (usually our sales staff) to establish a personal relationship with clients.  Connecting with your clients, in person, one on one is the best way to communicate your business message. 

7. Make it a treat.  Making your clients feel special doesn’t require a huge budget, it requires intentional thoughtfulness.  Crafting a feel good moment for your event is the catalyst for productive conversations for years to come!  Remember, the best things in life are free, a sunset falling over the Lake Minnetonka shoreline is included with almost every evening cruise we do!

6. Lots of business gets won on the links!  Yes, Minnesota has the most golf courses per capita in the country.  Golf will always be a champion way to interact with clients.  But seriously how many drives can you whiff  in order to let the client win?  Not everyone plays golf and in an increasingly younger work force, many of the up and comers have yet to get a grip on the sales irons of yester year.  So after a few laps around the links, treat your guests to a Lake Minnetonka Cruise experience enjoyed by all.

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Iceberg Right Ahead…All Around!

Today is the coldest day of 2011.  With a projected high of 8 and low of -13 degrees its fun to think about warmer times to come!  Average Lake Minnetonka  ice out of April 15th is still 85 days away.  Ice out wont come soon enough for Bella Vista, Lake Minnetonka’s largest cruise boat.  During the winter months, circulating pumps churn the warmer water close to the lake bottom towards the surface maintaining a buffer of open water around the perimeter of Bella Vista’s hull.  Within days of ice out, Bella Vista will be hosting dinner cruise  and lunch cruise events for guests!  The remainder of the  six Al and Almas charter boats spend the winter on land and are launched one by one in the spring.  Think WARM thoughts!  See you on the water.

Lake Minnetonka's Largest Vessel the Bella Vista carefully stored for the winter.

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It’s cold outside!  At the time of this post the temperature is a balmy 13 degrees, and the average ice thickness on Lake Minnetonka is well over a foot thick!  All outside temps aside, from Christmas and New Year’s holidays all the way to Valentines Day boast the most popular time of year for prospective grooms to drop the question!  Though not required with every nuptial proposal an engagement ring is the most common accompaniment to the big ask.  Have you ever wondered why?  Well certainly in our modern day society the sign of a wedding or engagement ring represents relational exclusivity and depending on size, even prestige.  But the tradition of the engagement band dates way back to the classical era and beyond.  The same era that brought us well known composers and musicians like Bach, Mozart, Hayden brought us the modern tradition of the wedding engagement ring.  At that time it was believed that an ancient Egyptian myth of the vein of love, so called because if you look at the back of one’s hand you can see a large vein leading to the fourth finger (ring finger).  It was called the vein of love because it was believed that this vein was a straight pathway to the heart.  Kind of ironic that classical music is so commonly used in wedding ceremonies!  So weather your basking in the glow of a new engagement or getting up the nerve to make the big ask, think of bringing your celebration to cruise the waters of spectacular Lake Minnetonka.  Engagement parties, bridal showers, rehearsal dinners, and of course, wedding ceremonies and receptions make for an incredible fusion of friends, family, food, and sights!  Congrats to all of you newly engaged folks out there, come and visit us at the upcoming wedding fair events; the MSP Bridal Party at the Depot this Sunday January 9th from 11 – 4:30 or Next Sunday at the Wedding Fair at the convention center.

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Oriental Boathouse on Upper Lake Minnetonka Celebrates 100 Years!

This summer marks the 100th season for the spectacular Japanese styled boathouse that adorns the eastern shoreline of Upper Lake Minnetonka.  The intricate design and craftsmanship of this icon has been appreciated by boaters…even before there were boats!  Its fun to think of all of the sights that have passed by the view from this amazing structure;  the evolution of boating, the rise and fall of cabins, homes, mansions and not to mention the incredible sunsets that have unfolded directly west of its placement.  As this structure celebrates 100 years on Upper Lake, its very existence is a tribute to the original design and build team.  While many boat houses have buckled and collapsed into eroding or washed away ground, somehow this structure has weathered the drought of the great depression, the tornado of 65, and the super storm of 1987 just to name a few.  A cruise past one can see the three defined levels of the boathouse, the first originally intended to serve as a shower / restroom, the middle a living room area and the top level a spectacular look out perch and gazebo.  Originally built by a couple that honeymooned in Japan and so fell in love with the architecture of that land, when they built their home and boathouse on Lake Minnetonka, they wanted it to reflect the beauty they had come to love while on their trip.  And so it goes on today as a labor of love, kept up now by current owners; the Scott family.  Thanks Scott family for being such great stewards of a Lake Minnetonka treasure!

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