Hidden Gem

Novatoo provides rental and staging for the Illinois Beach Resort

Less than an hour north of Chicago is a singular getaway: the Illinois Beach Resort and Convention Center, the state’s only hotel directly on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Ideal for corporate retreats as well as weddings and parties, the property has 12,000 square feet of meeting space including two ballrooms, a great restaurant, first-class catering, and 92 guest rooms and suites. Its outdoor terraces, overlooking the beach, encourage people to relax and work together more closely than they would in a more traditional setting.

“We host any number of annual sales meetings, quarterly business conferences, trade shows, university events and church retreats,” says Donna Salgado, Catering Sales Manager. “It’s a great place to get away from the office, relax and accomplish something beyond what you’re able to do in the day-to-day. Our clients appreciate the fact that we’re inside a 4,000 acre state park, where they can hike or bike the trails, or take advantage of our Olympic-sized pool, sauna, hot tub, complete fitness center, and of course the lake.”

In addition to multi-day business events, the hotel is a popular site for shorter meetings hosted by  clients from nearby Zion, Waukegan and Kenosha. It’s an ideal spot, as well, for outdoor weddings, with in-ground power available in three spots near the lake: in a gazebo, on the lawn, and on the beach.

The ability to set up a sound system almost on the water only enhances the resort’s mid-century modern charm. Although first opened in 1960, it has gone through two extensive remodelings and a large number of smaller updates, ensuring that the property has the infrastructure needed for the most high-tech events.

Salgado says her relationship with Novatoo has helped her offer her clients high-impact sound, video and lighting that’s reliable and affordable.

“We found them in 2016, when Real Flame [a maker of outdoor gas fireplaces] used Tim Novak and his team during a three-day conference. We were really impressed with what Novatoo did for them, and I was impressed how knowledgeable and professional they were, far easier to work with than our previous AV supplier. The Real Flame event was massive. Novatoo had projection, lighting, sound and music throughout the hotel, with technicians operating cameras and sound boards. I was very thankful they were there to keep everything running smoothly.”  

Today Salgado rents sound and projection systems from Novatoo  at least once a week, with the company staging more elaborate shows for her clients, on average, about once a month.    

“We use Novatoo exclusively,” she says. “Tim and his people return calls promptly, and they take last-minute requests in stride. I’ll often call them and ask for advice on a client setup, they’ll fill me in on what’s needed, and in a few minutes I’ll have a written quote in my hands.”

“Once I place the order, there’s no concerns, no worries. I know it will be here and it will work. Then when the client arrives, they’ll check back with us, making sure everything is in the right place and working as needed.”

“For bigger shows, I’ll encourage my clients to have a Novatoo technician here to operate the equipment and provide support. But even if they don’t, Tim and his people will test everything before they leave and make sure it’s right. They make everything easy, in ways that other companies just don’t.”

“Novatoo is amazing. No matter what I ask them to do, they’re right on top of it.”