The Special Event Conference and Tradeshow is the premier conference for event professionals, drawing over 5,000 people from all over the world every year. This year, it was held in Orlando, Florida, with Hello! Destination Management's Senior Vice President of Creative Services Mark Wells serving as Ambassador. Mark kicked off the conference with an epic lip synch song and dance number about Orlando that left the crowd roaring with laughter.
As the conference continued, Hello! team members contributed their knowledge and experience by presenting five different 90 minute classes across a variety of topics. Mark Wells and Sunshine Baker, Hello's Communication and Social Media Manager, created a new call-in show format experience called "The Event Doctors: Bring Your Burning Questions and Get Answers in Real-Time." This panel cut through all the fluff, getting right to the heart of the matter. Five acclaimed event professionals representing planning, production, rental, marketing and entertainment shared their stories of failure and learning, and how mentors helped them on their way to the top. Then the audience was able to bring their issues to the Docs, resulting in a lively discussion of the real-world problems faced by event professionals. Mark and Sunshine plan to make this an ongoing feature of The Special Event, and look forward to reassembling the Event Doctors again next year and beyond!
Janice Dowling, Hello! Florida Director of Creative Services presented a practical, hands-on class called "RFP Responses: Putting Your Best Foot Forward To Produce Winning Bids." From $10K bids to $500K bids, Janice shared her secrets for prioritizing tasks: cut through the clutter, define the client vision, and produce winning bids. Breaking down the RFP process into workable pieces, Janice shared her methods for handling high-profile events for the world's top corporations.
Mark Wells and Sunshine Baker delved into the challenging, impactful world of social media with their "Pleasing The Pinterest Planner" talk. Pinterest Planners... love them or hate them, they've become part of every event designer's life. When a client comes to you with their dream event already planned on Pinterest, it can be a challenge to make their dreams a reality. But there's another side to Pinterest- collaboration tools that can help you create a shared vision while building relationships with your clients. Top event designer Mark Wells and former social media Professor Sunshine Baker revealed how to minimize the drawbacks and capitalize on the opportunities that Pinterest presents for today's planner. This talk was more of a debate, as Sunshine is in favor of distributing content widely via social media, while Mark has some reservations on the topic. Who do you think won?
Mark Wells was honored to form part of the panel discussion "Creating the Corporate Wow Factor – Ideas from the Mini to The Mega" with Andrea Michaels and Rena Puebla, two legendary event designers. This session focused on the details that go into making a corporate event successful; the layering of one after another to create a completely memorable event. Panelists discussed everything from setting a table for a formal wine dinner to exciting coffee breaks through to building giant sand castles and activating a brand in the middle of a busy city. This session was very popular, with a standing-room only crowd that engaged in an in-depth, broad discussion of how to incorporate 'wow' elements to promote brands at events. Hello! is proud to share our collective experience with the event professional community, and we look forward to continuing the conversation at future conferences.