When thinking back on an event, what are some of the things that stand out and capture your attention? Most guests would say the beautiful décor that encapsulated the theme, or the live entertainment that had them dancing all night long. What if they could also leave an event with a lasting image of your brand? Here at Hello! we incorporate our clients' brand in unique and creative ways to leave guests with memories of not just the event, but the company that's investing in them. We break the status quo of the typical dated and dull branding to ensure guests leave astounded. Let's take a trip across the country to discover the innovative branding techniques that we've implemented for our clients' events!
First Stop: Hello! Arizona
We believe innovation is one way to help our clients cement their brand in the minds of their guests. One of Hello! Arizona's favorite ways to do that is by being future-forward and incorporating technology for branding. Guests felt like they walked into the year 3000 when TAGI the Robot greeted them at the door. "This was a great way to brand our client's 'Future of Trains' gala dinner. He talks, snaps pictures, and has an interactive screen where we were able to place content and branding," said Hello! Arizona Executive Producer/Department Director Danny Trujillo.
Another noteworthy branding component was recently made Instagram-famous with its eye-popping design that served as a real conversation starter. This LED dining table was an amazing way to display the company's logo during dinner and personalize the experience for each guest. Who wants a typical name card anymore…honestly?
Mosey on Over to Our Second Stop: Hello! Texas
Everything is bigger and BETTER here. Hello! Texas Executive Producer/Department Director of Creative Services, Aaron Tharp, proves this through events with unique branding opportunities that he and his team create daily.
"Branding is more important than anything right now, but how do you do it in a subtle way that makes a BIG impact? We got you. Anyone can slap a logo on a balloon or print out from your photo activation, but what about food? Incorporating a logo into your food and beverage is an unexpected way to showcase your brand or sponsor. The demographic for Goodyear loved their meat, so we branded it—literally—with irons that chefs used to burn the client's iconic logo into each slice of meat," Tharp explains.
Tharp also mentioned that Goodyear challenged us to showcase the brand while not distracting from exhibitors on their show floor. The team went to work to design beer taps that flow right from a Goodyear tire. "We knew right away that tires would be too heavy, and a stack of four was out of the question, but we needed it to be impactful. The solution? Taking a mold of said tire and creating a 'surprise and delight' Instagram-able moment," he says.
Next Stop: Honky-Tonk Central—Hello! Nashville
It was music to our client's ears when we helped country superstar Jason Aldean execute the grand opening of his bar and restaurant. Hello! Nashville designed a laser-etched wooden backdrop for an exclusive "My Kinda Party" photo op and tie in the down-home feel of country music. We also invited guests to walk down a custom-printed carpet shaped like the neck of a guitar to build their excitement for this star-studded exclusive experience.
Take a right off Broadway and you'll hit one of the newest, tallest luxury hotels in town. We had the pleasure of assisting the JW Marriott Nashville with their Topping Off event—a builders' rite traditionally held when the last beam is placed atop a structure during its construction. The Hello! Nashville team produced branding décor for this milestone occasion, which was held in the still-active construction site.
"We wanted to add some Nashville style branding that was both industrial but elegant and elevated for the JW brand," said Hello! Nashville Executive Producer/Director of Creative Services Aaron Sayre. The most intriguing brand design of the night was the photo opportunity of the JW Marriott Griffin logo made entirely from chain links. This was the perfect combination of modern and metal that "nailed" the theme and created a unique, memorable moments for the guests.
Our Final Stop: Hello! Florida (Central)
We've reached our final destination, but last is definitely not least. Most clients come to Florida to enjoy the sunshine and cold, tropical drinks, but the same old specialty cocktails needed a new twist. Our team, in collaboration with the host resort (Gaylord Palms), worked together to find a solution that made sense for service while still having a thematic impact for attendees. Lightbulb! Branded coconuts! Guests even had the option to drink from a beverage poured inside or take one home as a keepsake. Either way, this idea boasted a win-win along with a cute photo opportunity.
In addition to branded photo opportunities, our team sensed that this client craved a more hands-on concept to WOW their guests and literally tie into the brand. Hello! Florida (Central) Associate Producer of Sourcing & Development, Morgan Ford, explained why String Art is the perfect fix for this growing client need. "Encouraging guests to be part of the branding experience, attendees could leave their mark by 'connecting the dots' to create a personalized branding display that could also be retained to hang in their office!" This in turn becomes a lasting reminder of the event.
Ready for us to develop the next branding innovation for
Contact us and we'll be happy to help you leave your mark!
Our client—a Fortune 100 financial services organization—had planned to celebrate its 100-year anniversary with a "Celestial Centennial" beachfront celebration in Marco Island, Florida. A hurricane had other plans. Damage from the storm forced the client to relocate their 660 guests to The Phoenician in Scottsdale, Arizona six months before their event. Disappointment and tight schedules were overcome to create a glorious and innovative evening that surpassed what the client had envisioned for South Florida. Under the night sky, the company's top-performing sales staff reflected on the past century of success while celebrating the splendor of the stars—both the ones in the heavens above and each other.
This event marked the 100-year anniversary for our client. To celebrate, they wanted to honor their top performers while making them proud to be part of the company at this particular point in time. Our client also wanted this to be different than any of their other events to highlight the importance of their centennial.
We accomplished this by using event decor, entertainment, and activations to tell a story that traveled through the greatness of the company's past and future. Juxtaposing traditional elegant decor pieces with edgy and/or new technological innovations encouraged a "future forward" attitude while still exuding elegance. We focused on the celestial theme by finding a variety of ways to "bring the stars to life" using immersive theme décor and activations, making guests feel as if they were among the stars rather than just under them.
Drone Show: We worked with a supplier to plan a completely customized drone light show. Just two days before the event—when the supplier was scheduled to be at the resort for rehearsal—they cancelled. Talk about a frantic moment; the show was pivotal in making our theme come to life. Undeterred, we found a partner who was willing to do anything he could to help. At the time, all of the supplier's drones were dismantled at their warehouse out of state and there was little time to rebuild them given that we only had 36 hours until the event. Due to the last-minute emergency we hired a private jet from the East Coast to deliver the drones and their crew.
Combatting the Location Change: A big challenge was recreating the essence of the theme they generated for South Florida, while telling a story that celebrated the new Arizona setting. We paid special care to innovatively present their Celestial Centennial theme while still embracing the iconic scenery of Arizona (i.e. using Camelback Mountain) and highlighting it in a subtle way (i.e. subtle Southwestern motifs mixed into the décor).
Space Access: Due to the size of our buildout and production elements, we needed access to the space the day before to ensure that everything was ready in time. Since the Casita Lawn is surrounded by the hotel's Casita Suites, we had to work with our client and the resort to ensure the client's group had a complete buyout of the suites so we could move forward with our early load-ins and late strikes.
Our client had rave reviews, saying, "Anyone can create an amazing event, only a few can create an EXPERIENCE that is aligned with a brand's message and uniquely positioned to set the tone for the next 100 years while honoring [our company's] culture."
Unpredictable location change? We've got you. Unexpected last-minute issues? Nothing we can't overcome. Destination, Managed.
Hello! Florida and Talk of the Town Restaurant Group (TOTT) recently partnered for the "Round Up for Charity" program, which raised much-needed funds for Orange County Public Schools (OCPS) children and the Hello! Florida Field Trip Fund ("Field Trip Fund"). The Field Trip Fund allows OCPS children who are experiencing poverty or homelessness to attend Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) focused field trips at no cost.
Throughout the month of August 2019, guests at TOTT restaurants were invited to donate by rounding up their check to the nearest dollar. Thanks to the support of the local community, the benefit raised over $25,000 to help classroom content become more relevant and meaningful for low-income OCPS children. The support couldn't have come at a better time. In 2018:
Founded by Hello! Florida Director of Special Accounts Shannon Orme in 2014, the Hello! Florida Field Trip Fund has raised nearly $90,000 and sent over 10,000 OCPS children on fun, educational school field trips that they otherwise would not have been able to afford. Want even more good news? The Field Trip Fund is an ongoing program that you can help! For more information or to find out how you can support its mission during your next program, please contact Shannon Orme at 321.229.1269 or
What was once thought of as the honky-tonk capital is now a modern epicenter for fine dining and celebrity-endorsed high-end shopping. This change has turned Nashville into one of the most popular meetings destinations in the Southeast region. Its transformation over the past few years has opened the doors to more than just country music artists and fans—but a more diverse group of travelers and talent. Take a deeper look into some of Nashville's renowned tours and venues, where even you can feel like a Nashville star.
Tours and Activities
Life of a Song Tour
Guests will take a short drive to the famous "Music Row," where they will get to tour Nashville's historic Studio B; one of the most famous studios in the world. Over 35,000 songs were recorded here by artists such as Dolly Parton, Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, and even more recently, Martina McBride and Carrie Underwood. Hear the stories behind the legendary recordings and view some of the original instruments used in producing over 1,000 hit records on this private guided tour. After touring Studio B, guests will arrive at the Country Music Hall of Fame where they will be treated to a private performance by a local Nashville songwriter.
Ultimate Studio Experience
Your group will join #1 Billboard recording artist Meghan Linsey from NBC's mega-hit tv show "The Voice" and Nashville record producer Tyler Cain on the ULTIMATE interactive, private Nashville recording studio experience!
Your guests will experience an intimate acoustic performance with songs and stories, an interactive Q&A, get the chance to record a group vocal with Meghan, and even get their photo with her afterwards on the Nashville Studio Tour red carpet! Guests will leave with an mp3 of the recording they created as a lasting memento to remind them of this exclusive experience.
Exclusive City Tours
Nashville is known for its unique "vehicles"—a Pedal Tavern, Party Barge, Honky Tonk Express, Tractor Wagon, and much more await your guests for experiencing Nashville on the road. Sips and sights anyone?
Jason Aldean's Kitchen + Rooftop Bar
Jason Aldean's Kitchen + Rooftop Bar is centrally-located right in the heart of Lower Broadway. The massive main level of the venue features a wrap-around mezzanine serving classic country cooking. Custom thematic elements like the "Big Green Tractor" feature bar and a live radio broadcast booth help set the tone of this unique venue. Above the main bar, the "My Kind of Party" rooftop is the largest one in Nashville and features sweeping views of the city.
Grand Ole Opry Show with Circle Room and VIP Tour
Guests will begin the evening by experiencing the Grand Ole Opry's newest addition—the Circle Room—where they'll be treated with drinks, appetizers, and a visit from an artist on the show!
Afterwards, guests will take a VIP Behind the Curtain tour of the Grand Ole Opry! There's nothing like being backstage during a performance at the Opry, and your guests will get to experience it with a VIP Behind-the-Curtain tour!
This exclusive experience includes a private tour of the Opry backstage area just before show time. Guests will learn how each Opry show comes together and spend time in the Green Room just offstage, surrounded by the sights and sounds of the Opry. Guests will watch the first performance of the night from the stage before being escorted to their seats.
Mint Springs Farm
Located just 30 minutes south of Nashville in picturesque Williamson County, Mint Springs Farm features a rustic setting perfect for casual and formal affairs. The 40-acre property makes this venue the perfect location for groups of all sizes and tastes.
Ole Smoky Moonshine + Yee-Haw Brewing Company
Ole Smoky Distillery is the leading craft distiller of moonshine and home of the world's most visited distillery. They've expanded their presence in Tennessee by joining forces with Yee-Haw Brewing Company, one of Tennessee's top craft breweries, to collectively open a complex in Nashville's burgeoning area of SoBro. The venue, "Mashville," features a distillery, brewery, bars, tasting areas, beer and bottle shops, merchandise, big screen TVs, and live entertainment. Guests will enjoy moonshine, cocktails, and beer by the glass, food (including White Duck Taco and Nashville's own Prince's Hot Chicken), and purchase jars of moonshine and craft bottled beer for enjoyment at home.
Guests have a variety of interactive games and entertainment to choose from on the expansive outdoor patio, including basketball hoops, bocce ball, ping-pong, cornhole boards, giant Jenga, and giant Connect 4. A rooftop expansion is being planned to further enhance the outdoor experience.
Let Hello! Nashville show you how to do Music City like the locals! Contact Mitch Jordan, General Manager of Hello! Nashville, at email@example.com or 615.588.4920.
One of Forbes Magazine's "Cloud 100" companies was looking to host an incentive trip for 1,600 of their top performers. The problem? They had a three-year contract with one of our competitors but was highly dissatisfied with their lack of creativity and direction. So they cancelled their contract and said Hello!. We then took guests down the Rabbit Hole and on a mysterious Journey Through Wonderland where a world of adventure awaited them as the night got curiouser and curiouser.
Our client wanted to throw an epic final night party for their guests; one that would have a rewarding environment to make them feel honored and appreciated. They wanted a theme that would connect their program to the "magic" of Orlando. We were tasked with using three disjointed event spaces at the Gaylord Palms—The Coquina Lawn, South Beach Pool, and Wreckers Sports Bar—to create an immersive environment where each space had its own special design, but the event maintained a cohesive feeling overall.
Continuity: The biggest challenge was finding a way to combine the event spaces since they aren't normally meant to flow together. We determined that entertainment was key to making that connection, and the close working relationship we've developed with the Gaylord Palms was integral in allowing us to change existing furniture and flow.
Load-In: Wreckers Sports Bar and the South Beach Pool had to remain open for hotel guests, which made for extremely tight turnarounds. With an event start time of 6:30 p.m., we weren't able to gain access to the upper-level of Wreckers until the late morning, and the lower-level until 3:00 p.m. Installing ceiling décor and removing all restaurant furniture meant everything had to be executed exactly as planned if we were to be successful. In addition, although we gained access to the pool at 9:00 a.m., installing a custom acrylic bridge over a pool is no small feat. The installation, safety inspection, and décor placement meant there was no room for error in sticking to our production schedule.
Entertainment: We had a large number of entertainment features throughout the space, which meant a lot of contracting, coordination, and management. Everything was planned down to the minute to eliminate concerns of missing sets. We also dedicated a team of professionals to solely oversee the entertainment component. With so many areas within the venue, it was essential to position managers in each space to ensure flawless execution.
Following the event, we held an immediate meeting with the client to discuss their observations and thoughts about the event. We're happy to say they had nothing but rave reviews and conveyed their pleasure at having decided to invest in us and buy out their contract with our competitor.
Picking up the pieces to create a highly successful experience? Destination, Managed.
Asking for a Las Vegas-themed celebration without showgirls and gambling is like asking for a Nashville-themed event without country and cowboy hats—it CAN be done! (yes, we said "can"). Our imaginations are limitless, and one of our favorite things is to design out-of-the-box events to create a familiar feeling in a fresh, creative way. Need an example? So happy you asked.
Music City Bling
Our client, one of the world's largest producers of oral hygiene products, wanted people to feel like they were in Nashville but with a modern twist that harkened to the "new" Nashville. The group told us they loved the lounge arrangements throughout their recently renovated host resort—Renaissance Nashville—and asked us to combine this with local accents while highlighting the company's signature color. "I called one of our favorite suppliers and we had a collaborative brainstorming session, sharing what I envisioned with the bar and how I wanted to offset that and use their awesome oversized ottomans," says Hello! Nashville Event Designer Angelica Clark.
Using modern furniture that was inspired from the aesthetics of the Renaissance, the event featured a fun hospitality lounge look topped off with an Edison Bulb feature and corrugated metal back bars with rustic bars and a custom marquee sign. The Edison Bulbs were such a favorite that the team put it in the front of the room to create a focal point.
"The corrugated metal combined with the 'Restoration Hardware' chandeliers amidst the modern furniture is what made the perfect balance," Clark explains. "Without the modern twist of the glass tables, chic chairs, and Edison bulbs, the aesthetics would have looked too country," she says.
Hello! Texas Executive Producer/Department Director Aaron T. Tharp loves surprising clients with his creative design. "Everyone has this 'idea' of what they think Dallas is—that it's nothing but cowboys on horseback and tumbleweeds—but that perception couldn't be further from the truth," he says. Dallas is unlike any other city in Texas: fashionable, modern, and sexy with a touch of country.
"Imagine if John Wayne and Andy Warhol planned an event…that's what Cowboy Pop is all about," Tharp continues. Rustic touches with pops of neon color bought the cowboy theme to life in an unexpected way.
Using Pop Art Western graphics, UV Reactive Neon living cowboy statues, LED trick ropers, and colorful skulls hung on reclaimed wood walls, this event let guests live like a true Dallas native: bright and self-expressive with a POP of independence.
A Vegas Hangover
In our initial meetings, the client stressed the importance of their annual conference's costume party and its meaning for the company. With this being their first time in Las Vegas, they wanted a Vegas-centric concept that would allow guests to bring about their own creativity and include relatable material with a comedic undertone. It was decided that the thematic concept would be "Hangover Las Vegas;" a nod to the fun and relatable content of the wildly popular movie "The Hangover."
"We began envisioning how we could bring 'Hangover Las Vegas' to life with decorative elements, engaging activations, and themed entertainment that would provide a fun experience to rival that of the movie," said Hello! Las Vegas Senior Producer/Event Designer Patrick Peel. The team zeroed in on bringing four areas of the film to life: Caesar's Palace Garden, the dentist's office, the tiger bathroom scene, and the wedding chapel. A variety of Vegas-themed lounge areas were also woven throughout so guests could take ownership of their own storyline within the vignettes. The event was held at The Cosmopolitan's Boulevard Pool; a spectacular space that offered unobstructed, multi-level views of the Las Vegas strip…perfect for elevating our guests' authentic Vegas experience.
The expression for each of the vignettes depended on both the big and small details in order to bring them to life. Each vignette combined customized décor, activations, entertainment, and lighting to transport guests into the "scene." We also worked with The Cosmopolitan to design food and bar service that played into each of the themed areas for an immersive experience.
Everything went so well that the client decided to extend the party on-site for an additional hour—something they'd never done before! In speaking with the client during the evening they expressed how they had never experienced such a dynamic costume party and that we had outdone ourselves in making this an EPIC event for their company.
Ready for us to use our creative ingenuity for your next program?
Just say Hello!.
One epic party concept, two completely different designs. What do you do when your event needs to overlook the Las Vegas Strip from a multi-level pool deck, but the hotel is concerned about ruining their recent $15 million renovation of the pool area? You build two different visions for an event whose final plans and execution are at the mercy of the hotel's approval.
One of the largest insurance brokerage companies in the world hosted their 35th Annual Enclave Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada; the first time this longstanding client of ours was coming to Vegas. In attendance were the company's top earners, who were being acknowledged for their high level of performance. The annual highlight of their conference was the dedicated costume party night, known for its outlandish themes and creative costumes that guests designed with relish, eager to continue the legacy of their predecessors. We created a "Hangover Las Vegas" theme, capturing the most famous scenes from the movie "The Hangover:" Caesar's Palace garden, the dentist's office, the bathroom tiger, and the wedding chapel. Like in the movie, this event would help people form real friendships with some quirky mayhem and surprises along the way.
Local Labor Protest: On the day of the event, it was announced that a portion of the Las Vegas Strip would be closed for a labor protest. Knowing this would severely hinder many of our suppliers, we immediately called each of them to warn them of the challenge and request that they allow extra time to get to the loading dock. This became a true challenge for one particular supplier, who was not able to get into the dock at all due to the protest. Due to our extensive experience operating programs at the hotel, we helped them find a way up to the deck just in time.
Pool Deck Preservation: Because the hotel had just completed a $15 million renovation of their pool deck, extra precaution had to be taken to ensure it was preserved for its grand opening the following morning. Prior to the load-in of our suppliers, plastic and cardboard panels had to be installed to protect the deck.
Loading Dock: The loading dock at the hotel is small and was a greater challenge than usual given the number of suppliers we were using for this over-the-top event. To combat this, load-in became a perfectly choreographed cycle of movement. The hotel also has only one elevator. This, in combination with the long distance from the dock to the pool, meant a lot of additional journey time for our suppliers.
Weather: Having the event on the pool deck introduced several new variables. The March weather in Las Vegas is uncertain, with no wind at one moment and 50-mph gusts the next. The wind can not only become destructive for the décor but cause injury to guests; it was essential that we take this into account. To ensure maximum safety, we met with our audio-visual supplier to discuss how to best secure various decorative elements. Although certain safety precautions meant we could not use particular design elements in the space, we strategically reevaluated the décor and came up with alternatives that would achieve our objectives for both safety and aesthetics. We also ensured that a main focal point of the pool area, a 10-ft Elvis Tree, was weighted down properly.
Like a literal hangover, it was time to leave the fun behind. We made sure that each supplier removed their items from the pool overnight, since the reveal was scheduled for the next day.
This particular event was one that held a lot of emotional investment for the client and a large financial stake for the hotel. As the middle man responsible for being both the voice and vision of the client, while also serving as the liaison with the hotel, we were able to provide creative solutions that went above and beyond our client's expectations. Due to the success of this program and our demonstration of commitment to the client as well as the priorities of the hotel, we earned the ability to have a repeat performance in 2019!
Creative flexibility? Check. Preservation of our hotel partner's sizeable investment into their property? Check. We have to say, this was one of the best hangovers we've had so far. Destination, Managed.
We're so proud of our teams, who have been nominated for NINE Esprit Awards by the International Live Events Association (ILEA)! Want a sneak peek at our award-worthy events before the winners are announced on Saturday, August 10? Take a look and get the inside scoop about what happened behind the scenes.
Luke Bryan's 32 Bridge Grand Opening
Nominated for: Best Event SolutionOffice: Hello! NashvilleCreative Lead: Aaron Sayre
Luke Bryan's credentials speak for themselves. His first nine albums contained 14 number-one hits, with millions of albums sold and tens of millions of singles sold worldwide. A judge on American Idol, Blake Shelton's advisor on The Voice…the promo sheet for Luke Bryan seems never-ending and his popularity only continues to grow. So what happens when Luke Bryan joins an elite group of country stars in opening their own bar/restaurant on Nashville's Lower Broadway? The celebration needed to be as grand as the man himself. After all, the entire country would be watching. What began as a simple, standard bar opening grew into a full-scale free public concert for 30,000 of his most dedicated fans.
We began by visualizing and diagraming what a street concert on Broadway would look like. We knew the Grand Opening needed to happen in the block where the 32 Bridge Bar and Restaurant was situated, which also happened to be one of the busiest cross streets on Broadway. Our team engaged the city to shut down the street in key areas as well as local law enforcement and private security to execute crowd and traffic control for safety.
Our company wanted the celebration to be highly personalized to Luke Bryan, including his history, his songs, and his favorite activities. We designed a custom photo opportunity that recreated the 32 Bridge from Luke Bryan's hometown as the step-and-repeat. The 32 Bridge is a very important part of Luke's life that he references in his songs and has a clothing line named after it as well.
Production started at 2:00 a.m. the night before the event. We began by closing one block on Broadway and coordinating with the City Works department to come in and remove an entire traffic light and pole that would obstruct the stage for the concert.
We orchestrated a press conference for Luke Bryan inside the bar that morning where he answered questions and performed three songs with just him and an acoustic guitar for the media. All of the national press outlets were in attendance, with the hype building for this much-anticipated opening celebration.
We held the ribbon cutting in front of the main entrance for the bar and we intentionally designed it with a custom camouflage ribbon since Luke loves to hunt. It was also a nod to his number one single at the time, which was "Hunting, Fishing, and Loving Every Day." Luke and his wife cut the ribbon together in a staged location for the perfect photo opportunity. At 6:30pm, it was showtime. The gates opened for 30,000 of Luke Bryan's most enthusiastic and dedicated fans. The concert ended around 11:00pm and we had everything struck by 7:00am. The Grand Opening went flawlessly, and we maintained our stellar relationship as "the" DMC to go to for A-list events.
Give Kids the World Gala: The Color of Imagination
WINNER! Best Entertainment Production $25,000-$75,000Best Non-Profit Event $75,000-$150,000Best Public EventBest Event with a Legacy
Office: Hello! Florida (Central)Creative Leads: Jordan Bickel and Cameron Rust, CSEP
In September 2018, Give Kids the World (GKTW) hosted its 30th Anniversary Black and White Gala for 1,550 attendees at the Hyatt Regency Orlando. Give Kids the World Village is a beloved Central Florida nonprofit resort that gives magical cost-free vacations to children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. For one week they are free of the worries of doctors and needles and the burden of the realities they never thought they would have to deal with. After 30 years of raising mission-critical funds and awareness, this once-humble event has grown from a simple "thank you" dinner for a few top donors into an award-winning annual event that is not only its largest annual fundraiser and a celebration of its mission, but an experience that transports its over 1,500 attendees from around the world to far off fantasy lands.
After a successful event in 2017, we wanted our 2018 gala to further connect the audience and inspire them to become activists. We developed the theme "The Color of Imagination," inspired by the colorful rainbow prismatic refraction that a diamond creates when light is pointed towards it.
In our story, we meet a man who is complacently moving through life. As he unpacks his desk, he happens upon a long-forgotten kaleidoscope. Upon turning it, we learn that this man had a sister who passed away from a life-threatening illness. As we enter this prismatic world with him, the memories of his younger self and his sister come alive all around us throughout the night, as we are transported with them to the Village. We follow them through the memories, ultimately reuniting our protagonist with his childhood joy, both teaching the audience that experiences at GKTW Village have profound effects on those that visit it long after they leave, but also to retrospectively look at their life and inspire them to use memories as a force for change and inspiration.
Amway Achievers 2018
Nominated for: Best Meeting/Conference Program Over $500,000Office: Hello! NashvilleCreative Lead: Aaron Sayre
Five-thousand guests poured into the city of Nashville in December 2018 for the Amway Achievers program; the only incentive trip our client holds in North America. Headquartered at the Gaylord Opryland, Amway took an unprecedented step for their organization by entrusting us as the singular DMC to handle the logistics and creative services for their group of well-traveled, international attendees. We made guests fall in love with Tennessee over the course of just one week as we showcased its natural Southern Charm and world-famous venues, all while successfully managing transportation, off-site tours/activities, on-site and off-site events, staffing, creative décor, entertainment, signage, tenting, and heating for thousands of their most treasured guests.
Five-hundred guests arrived first for training and we welcomed them to Tennessee with a dedicated Welcome Reception that evening. We invited guests to travel down a country road and enter a world of rustic charm at the Gaylord. The reception was designed to be casual and rustic, welcoming our guests with open arms and that famous southern hospitality.
Following their General Sessions the next day, we swept these guests away to an off-site event—a private tour of a quintessential Nashville landmark, the Country Music Hall of Fame. Guests dined beneath the glow of the city lights where the only thing that shined brighter was their excitement for the future. After a plated dinner upstairs, we guided our guests to the conservatory downstairs for a rocking after-party.
We then began welcoming the additional 4,500 guests to Music City. Airport transportation ran continuously with guests escorted to the hotel via limo, sedan, or motor coach. The program began with an on-site Welcome Reception for all 5,000 guests. To be sensitive to our group of international guests, we made the strategic decision to recognize the holidays in one non-denominational event.
To keep the 1,200 kids in attendance entertained, we designed a kids' space in the theme of a county fair. We created mock drive-in vignettes where they could watch movies and had carnival games, arcades, themed inflatable bounce houses, a DJ, and an infant area. We invited the mascots from the local sports teams—the Nashville Predators, Tennessee Titans, and Nashville Sound—to take pictures with the kids. The mascots even danced with the children to the DJ and challenged them to highly entertaining dance-offs.
Later in the week our logistical experience shined as we coordinated over 15 tours/activities with multiple time slots. We provided offerings that appealed to all tastes—from civil war tours and a Grand Ole Opry tour/concert featuring country star Toby Keith, to ziplining and Top Golf. We even had 520 guests "rollin' down the river" on the General Jackson Showboat.
Their final night reception welcomed guests to "Mystic Rhythms"—a fairytale wonderland that combined Greek mythology with inspiration from Avatar's world of Pandora. Keeping reading for more information about this event, which was amazing enough to earn its own stand-alone nomination!
Best Entertainment Production Over $75,000Best Event Solution
Office: Hello! NashvilleCreative Lead: Aaron Sayre
For the Amway Achievers 2018 closing celebration we decided on "Mystic Rhythms"—a magical fairytale environment at the Nashville Zoo that combined Greek mythology with inspiration from Avatar's world of Pandora. The storyline we wove throughout the entire program came to its dramatic conclusion as we told the "real" tale of how Nashville earned its nicknames.
The experience began immediately upon arrival at the zoo, where guests were greeted by a 10-piece African drumming group. They paused for pictures at the step-and-repeat before journeying through a giant entrance with themed décor. Attendees then walked across a foggy bridge with welcome signage in every language our international guests spoke. To prevent guests from getting lost on the zoo's expansive grounds, we blocked pathways to create a loop where guests could roam freely throughout six distinctive areas, each themed with a different lighting concept and entertainment.
Other activities throughout the event included face painting, temporary tattoos, a photo booth, guitarists, ballerinas, roaming entertainers, living gardens, and lighting displays that shined dancing lights on the ground for children to chase. Guests were guided by ambient lighting that created magical tunnels to help them traipse through the wonderland. Lollipop aisles along the way helped add to the whimsy of this fantastical place.
Among the revelry, the existing amphitheater assisted with our nod to the zoo by featuring animal shows and animal petting. While the loop inherently kept guests from getting lost, we created a custom and highly detailed map for them to reference and displayed posts with custom signage. To say the set up for this event was intense would be an understatement; it required all-day load-ins over six consecutive days, with lighting so intricate and expansive that its installation alone took four days!
While the weather decided to grace our guests with a rain storm, the wet weather couldn't dampen the spirit of our guests, who happily danced in the rain under their umbrellas and in their ponchos.
Nominated for: Best Technical ProductionOffice: Hello! ArizonaCreative Lead: Tressa Rini
Our client celebrated its 100-year anniversary as a top financial services provider with a "Celestial Centennial" celebration for 660 guests at The Phoenician in Scottsdale, Arizona. Under the night sky, the company's top-performing sales staff reflected on the past century of success while celebrating the splendor of the stars—both the ones in the heavens above and each other. With transformative décor elements, theatrical mood lighting, and a larger-than-life drone show, we used cutting-edge design and entertainment to exalt the past and inspire future success within the luminous Arizona nightscape.
Guests entered the event by descending a flight of stairs lined with constellation projections down to the main pool. We used transformative decor elements like LED twinkle light drapes to create the visual effect that the starry sky was uninterrupted. We then placed an infinity-light dance floor in front of the pool so that not only did guests feel as if the stars were above, around, and below them, but it gave us the opportunity to do so in an edgy and modern way.
We moved guests over the bridges to the adjacent Casita Lawn with an immersive tunnel of crystals and lights to simulate a shower of falling stars. Now on the lawn, guests stood in awe of our geodesic domes that anchored the space. Embracing current trends in installation art, we custom-designed and fabricated a large shadow lantern, specifically designed to include subtle Southwest motifs.
An especially impactful moment was our 12-minute synchronized drone show that was designed as if the stars themselves were inspired to do something special for our valued guests.
Like a supernova, this astronomical event reached its climactic conclusion with an unforgettable bang! An unexpected fireworks display erupted over guests' heads to create a magnificent spectacle.
It's time to plan your next incentive trip, annual conference, or teambuilding program…and you want to look good to your boss. Not just look like you can cross your t's and dot your i's…but, like,
REALLY good. Part of our passion is designing events, whether large or small, that really nail that for you. But where do you start? Keep reading for the questions you should be asking yourself that may not have made it on your event planning checklist (though feel free to add them!)
Assessing Past Events or Programs
First things first—it's hard to determine where you should go unless you pause to reflect on where you've been.
What Have You Done in the Past and How Was it Perceived by Your Attendees? What Was Their Favorite (and Least Favorite) Thing from Last Year's Event?
Hello! Florida (Central) Account Executive Melissa Germain says, "Knowing what the group did last year and why they liked it or didn't like it helps me to know what venues and activities, etc. to focus on for this year." You don't want to copy what was done previously, but if an element of the event or program resonated with your guests, we can find similar venues, activities, or entertainment that they will enjoy again. This is also a major component in gauging your guests' expectations for the future.
What Would You Have Liked to See for This Group?
There are limitations in every program—whether that's time, money, or other resources. A good DMC tries to work around those limitations; a
great DMC generates imaginative, yet realistic, options
despite the limitations. Was there something you thought would've been amazing last year, but couldn't pull it off due to some of those limitations? Our award-winning professionals have proven their ability to think outside-the-box and find options that accomplishes your objectives without going over budget.
Who Are the Decision Makers and What Are Their Demographics?
Believe it or not, demographics can often influence how we make decisions. Need help pitching an over-the-top, décor heavy welcome reception for a largely female audience to a corporate group of men? We've got you. There's an intense amount of thought into what we call "purposeful design." Everything we do—from the largest spectacle to the most minute detail—matters and serves a purpose. As part of our comprehensive process, we can put that to work for you by offering the reasoning and supporting materials to help you pitch something that may be outside of your stakeholders' comfort zone.
Planning Your Next Meeting
What are the Group's Demographics?
Evaluate things like male to female ratio, age ranges, level within the company, whether they're well-traveled or not, if they're international or domestic guests, if it's an incentive program or annual meeting, and whether children will be attending. The answers to these questions will help determine where to allocate your budget. Hello! Arizona Senior Account Executive Holly Stephens and fellow Senior Account Executive Rachel Hall agree that, "Knowing whether your group is mostly men or mostly female may dictate the direction of the décor. If it's a family-friendly incentive trip, knowing that kids will be present can change the activities," they say. The department or business area that the group is in also matters. "I would propose different events for an IT group versus a sales team, for example," Germain says.
What Is the Purpose of Your Event? What Feeling Do You Want Your Guests to Walk Away With?
Is the purpose of your event to inspire? Reward? Educate? This sounds simple, but funds may be allocated more toward activities to reward hardworking employees versus speakers and other materials to help educate. This little question makes a big difference. Hello! Las Vegas Account Executive Amy Bollington seconds this: "While a group's demographics certainly influence the program or event design, I feel a group's priorities are also heavily dependent on the takeaway experience or memory. Event planners should be asking themselves questions in the first-person singular thought…guests care most about their personal journey." By asking yourself questions in this fashion, you may come up with surprising answers that simplify a nail-biting choice.
What Is the Program Agenda?
It's more than just knowing whether you'll have a welcome and/or final night reception. Is there a lot of free time built into the schedule? If so, perhaps you can allocate funds for an official break room with games, lounge seating, etc. where guests can network comfortably. For a packed daytime schedule, your dollars may go more toward making sure the after-hours events are extraordinary, rather than focusing on daytime activities.
What Is Your Food and Beverage Minimum at the Host Hotel?
If there's little-to-no food and beverage minimum, we can evaluate offsite options to possibly save money compared to remaining on-site. If there's a substantial minimum you need to meet, we'll design on-property events that thrill your attendees and keep you on budget while ensuring you meet contractual obligations.
Wrapping It All Up
Knowing these answers is vital to developing the right style and tone for your group, and certainly helps when collaborating with your DMC. You shouldn't bear the burden of having to look through hundreds of options to try and find the right fit and itinerary for your group. That's what we're passionate about, and your reputation is safe with us. Whether your priorities are solid or if you need help developing them,
contact us to begin planning the next event that your guests (and your boss) will be talking about all year!
At Hello!, we consider professional development to be of the utmost importance. We encourage our teams to grow both personally and professionally, think outside-the-box, and push the envelope of creativity…regardless of their role. In addition to various other company programs, our annual Destination Design Summit ("Summit") is a space for our nationwide Creative Services teammates and other key Hello! employees to come together and share ideas. Now eight-years-strong, we're pulling back the curtain to explain more about what the Summit is and why it's so important.
Just a Sec…What is the Creative Services Department Again?
Creative Services is the department through which themed events, décor, and entertainment take shape, and is a differentiating strength for Hello!. We stand alone with an in-house creative department that specializes in building event experiences through innovative design and limitless imagination.
OK, Got It. Now Start from the Beginning…
We hosted the first Summit in 2011 at the JW Marriott Grande Lakes. The Creative Services department was still in its infancy, so the objective was to bring our 11 designers together to collaborate and establish a common language and processes. At this inaugural Summit, the designers gave each other new perspectives on their markets by collaboratively designing nine new events per office.
So, How Has It Grown?
The Summit has evolved into an intensive multi-day educational event filled with exploratory sessions. Our 37 Creative Services team members have expanded beyond the basics to work on deeper tactical business practices, design and storytelling principles, self-evaluation, and presentation skills.
Sounds Promising. How Does It Help the Creative Services Team?
In addition to all the tactical benefits, the Creative Services members benefit from connecting to the "community" that is their team. Each person has been painstakingly selected to be part of the Hello! family and all are extremely talented. Such talent often comes with strong opinions and intense pride; the Summit encourages the teams to find commonality and discuss different perspectives within a safe environment. This disengages the ego and enables the teams to reach out to each other for support without the fear of judgement. They also collaborate with key employees from other internal departments, enhancing communication with the people who support them. Although the scope and team count has grown, its core purpose has remained the same: to open a conduit for sharing ideas and perspectives.
But What Does That All Mean for Your Clients?
Because of the Summit, the Creative Services department has developed a synergy that allows all team members to understand each other's design perspective and get sparks of inspiration from each other. Our teammates often discover new suppliers and ideas based on what their peers have accomplished in their own destinations. This means access to a much larger pool of ideas that will satisfy our customer's goals. When 37 team members work together and for each other, Hello! can scale capacity and flex its support for our clients…regardless of which destination they travel to and what dreams they may have. The annual Destination Design Summit is a true example of T.E.A.M. (Together Everybody Accomplishes More.)
Want to put our Creative Services team to work on designing your next program?
Contact us and we'd love to begin building your next award-winning event.