April 19
Success Stories Start with Hello, Judo and Glow!

Hello! Florida Senior Account Executive Alison Davis welcomed a repeat client to the Rosen Centre this January for a biannual convention. The clients who did the planning with Alison lived on FIVE different continents, which made for conference calls at unusual hours leading up to the program. This international audience included very few English speakers, and came with some special requests as well. Since the CEO of the company is a black belt master in Judo, he requested that the General Session feature Japanese décor and include a demonstration by a team of authentic Judo masters.

 

Hello! Florida also handled the local transportation, bringing hundreds of attendees to a day trip to Universal and a community service project. We produced a big GLOW themed after party featuring live music from the band Side Project.

 

The guests were having so much fun at the after party that we extended it for two extra hours, so they could all keep on dancing 'til the wee hours. Here's what our client had to say about Alison and her Account Manager Robyn after the event:

"Alison and Robyn, Thank you SOOOO much for the excellent service and attention you gave us. You and your staff did any outstanding job during the week. You are proactive, professional, organized and your attention to detail is impeccable! I can't thank you enough for all you did for us!"

April 17
Backyard Backstories from Austin, Texas!

 Backyard_SOCIALdebbiehilliard.jpgHello! Austin Destination Management Company Account Executive Debbie Hilliard has lived in the Texas capital for 37 years, so there's no one better to offer the inside scoop!

My definition of One Perfect Day in my hometown is boating on Lake Travis followed by some Tex-Mex food and then an evening on South Congress for some live music at the Continental Club.

I chose to make Austin my home because: it's the coolest city in Texas.  I've lived here since 1980.  I was 18 years old when I moved here and it was such a fun, small city then!

I'm passionate about the food and music in my hometown.

People would be surprised to know about Barton Springs Pool in my hometown. The pool itself measures three acres in size, and is fed from underground springs with an average temperature of 68-70 degrees – that temperature feels really good on a hot, humid, 100-degree summer day!

In my opinion, the Mexican Martini is the signature food/drink item that visitors must sample in my hometown.

April 12
A Picture's Worth 1000 Words... Arizona Mixed Metallic Sunset Edition!

A picture's worth 1000 words, so let us tell you the story behind this one! Last winter, Hello! Arizona Destination Management created an intimate reception and dinner for the top 75 sales team members of a large transportation company. The dinner was held at a resort in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The Objective

This event was a part of a yearly conference and was designed to make attendees feel like they were exclusive VIPs, allowing them to network and relax amidst the hectic conference schedule. Of all of the events at the conference, this was the most important to our client because the event had a history of poor turnout and short dwell time for the attendees. At the conference, multiple companies host receptions and dinners each night, and there is fierce competition to outspend and out-wow each other to retain as many attendees as possible for the duration of the event. This gave us leverage to really infuse our experience producing other events both in Scottsdale and at our other offices. We make a point to chart the attendee experience from reception to dinner to after party, revealing more of the party each time. This keeps things fresh and attendees more likely to stay to see what else will pop up. The client wanted high attendance and long length of stay, so we used that to govern every decision we made about the program. With our objective in place, we began to look at the physical parameters of the event.

 The Venue

One of the things that Arizona, and Scottsdale specifically is known for is the beautiful climate, perfect for holding small to medium size outdoor events. Outdoor space is of course at a premium in regions with favorable climates, and the client was fortunate enough to have booked a partially-enclosed tent space that the hotel has on-premises for every year of the event. This clear-span, clear topped tent offered beautiful views of the Arizona sky and surrounding desert, without fully exposing attendees to the outside environment. We planned to use the natural beauty of the Arizona desert to elevate the experience with minimal décor to accent the space.

Unfortunately for the client, this space was removed prior to the program, and there was no other outdoor space available for their event. In fact, the only room available at the resort was a manger. Wait… that's another story…. The only room available was a small, short, unriggable (so unimaginable that it isn't even a word!) ballroom. The bold carpet in this ballroom is done in Native American and Mexican patterns, which would clash with traditionally elegant decor. We needed to create a concept that would compel guests to attend and stay. Something voyeuristic but exciting, themed to the Arizona setting but in an elevated "only available right here and now" experience.

 The Concept

We decided to base the colors on the compelling vistas you get when you look at light refracting onto the copper and mica particles of the sand, as well as the sun's golden rays reflecting on brightly colored Native American buildings and flower fields. We called the event "Mixed Metallic at Sunset." Ambiguous? Yes. Thought provoking? Yes. Do you know what to expect? No! We worked with the client to develop the messaging for this event to paint a story of looking at Arizona through a different lens: modern, with notes of tradition, a personification of the dance created as the sun sets over the dunes and vegetation. This was a way for the client to instantly grab the attention of attendees who were choosing which event to attend.

 The Décor + The Venue

Back to the venue! We already mentioned that it was a fairly small space and that we couldn't hang truss from the ceiling. From the early onset into the design process, we knew that any décor we used in the room needed to be flat to leave as little footprint as possible. We used this to our advantage, by creating a bold statement with chocolate drape and crystal swags. The swags were used to separate the reception from the dinner, allowing attendees to see inside, but not entirely. This left a very airy and open feel that maximized the space and coordinated with the theme. We kept the linen, drape and crystals light, airy or full of sequins in earth or neutral tones. This upped the elegance factor and actually allowed the carpet to play a starring role, taking on the look of the Arizona desert awash in golden sunset tones. Pops of color were also incorporated in the centerpieces, which incorporated local wildflowers mixed with colorful traditional tropical stock.

We used up-lights around the perimeter to give a sunset look and add dimensionality to the drape, and were also able to hang most of the lighting the client was bringing in on existing "lighting bars" in soffits. This prevented us from needing an additional four bulky truss units that were brought in for us to place at the last minute. We were able to tuck the two lighting systems that did not fit on a bar onto truss uprights in the corners in otherwise unused space.

 The Result

The resulting event had record-breaking turnout and guest stay. By keeping it authentic but fresh, we were able to bring a piece of Arizona to the convention, and hopefully taught a few people what an Arizona-themed party can really be like.

 

April 10
Backyard Backstories with Kaitlyn Shoup

 

Las Vegas Sales Coordinator Kaitlyn Shoup gives us the scoop on the city's best picks!

I chose to make Las Vegas my home because: Its a 24 hour town and the city of events there is always something to do somewhere new to go or some new concert in town. This city is ever changing and continually growing.

I'm passionate about the variety of food in this town and the variety of concerts that take place on and off the strip in my hometown.

People would be surprised to know we have our own ski resort and an orchard where you can pick fresh fruits and vegetables year round.

In my opinion, frozen cocktails in a fun souvenir cup is the signature "food" item that visitors must sample in my hometown.

April 07
Cleared For Takeoff… Hello! Nashville Soars with Aviation Center Launch!

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On January 12, 2017, Hello! Nashville was thrilled to produce the first-ever event in Cirrus Aircraft's groundbreaking new Vision Center in Knoxville, Tennessee.  This party for 600 of Cirrus' VIP clients and partners, who gathered in Knoxville from 60 different countries, showcased the new $15 million-dollar facility and the company's new Vision Jet.

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 Cirrus Aircraft, seeking to deliver something never before seen in aviation, created a brand new customer experience center in Knoxville, Tennessee called the Cirrus Aircraft Vision Center campus. The flagship location for all Cirrus Aircraft customer activities, the Vision Center serves as a showroom for all of the Cirrus aircraft models, including the new SF50 Vision Jet which is billed as the world's first single-engine "personal jet." 

Jet-16.jpg Dale Klapmeier, CEO and co-founder of Cirrus shared the key role of the Knoxville campus: "We have created our Vision Center here, our future is here, our customers will come here from all over the world," he said. "They will come here to pick up airplanes, they will come here to train, they will come here for service, they will come here to upgrade their airplane, they will come here to buy airplanes, new airplanes, used airplanes, everything to do with airplanes and the customer is going to start right here in Knoxville," he said.

When it was time to unveil this world-class facility to their most important customers and partners, Cirrus Aircraft called on Hello! Nashville Destination Management. Our team of event designers and logistics managers crafted an experience worthy of this incredible space. Just three days after the Vision Center Campus received its Certificate of Occupancy, Hello! transformed the hangar where airplanes will be customized and delivered into a spectacular party venue.

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We brought in Hello! team members from across the USA, plus power, furniture, décor, entertainment, and delicious food and drink (including Tennessee whiskey) to wow the VIP guests.

Aerial performers dancing overhead echoed the aviation theme, and a Grand Ole Opry favorite, Nashville band Chapel Park kept everyone dancing and celebrating well into the wee hours. Check out our video to see behind the scenes of this awesome aviation affair!


Congratulations to Cirrus Aircraft on your amazing new Vision Center, it was our honor to play a part in your story!

April 05
Las Vegas Success Stories Start with Hello!

Las Vegas Account Manager Amanda Flaum took the lead on a week-long transportation program earlier this year involving a plethora of VIP transfers, arrivals, departures, and dinner transfers. Her happy client took the time to write Amanda this note after the conference.

"I've been with the company for 8 years. This past summer I was promoted. This was my first year working on our annual Sales Conference. My predecessor had told me some horror stories she had to deal with regarding arranging "transportation" during the conference.  So I was kind of nervous.  

Working with you truly was amazing.  I really appreciated you answering all my questions.  I was also impressed, on how timely you were on updating the changes, not long after I submitted them to you.  Especially, when it became crazy on the arrival & departure days of our conference."

Great job, Amanda!

April 03
Backyard Backstories with Julie Mezzina

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Hello! Destination Management Director of National Resources Julie Mezzina left behind an exciting career as a TV producer in Chicago to move to Orlando. Find out why she wouldn't have it any other way!

My definition of One Perfect Day in Orlando is relaxing outside without any humidity with a glass of wine in my hand!

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I chose to make Orlando my home because I fell in love with my boyfriend (now husband of 10 years) who lived in Orlando.  Three months after moving here I started at Hello!.  Now because of my husband, two girls and my Hello! Family, 14 years later Orlando is officially home!

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People would be surprised to know that there is a lot more to Orlando than theme parks!   Great restaurants, quaint neighborhoods and incredibly friendly people!

In my opinion, Il Pescatore is the most authentic and DELICIOUS Italian Restaurant in Orlando. The Linguini Calamari is incredible, a visit to this local family owned restaurant is a must!

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March 29
Scavenger Hunt Success Stories!

Hello! Account Executive Marilyn Alvarez and Account Manager Eddie Lieberman recently produced the first-ever scavenger hunt at one of Orlando's newest attractions, I-Drive 360. The 145 guests were company leaders from across the globe who work for a clinical research company. When our client came to Marilyn, they told her that they wanted a unique and authentic, local Orlando dining experience, not a chain. They also wanted to pair the dinner with teambuilding activity set in a location where attendees could hang out after the dinner and activity for drinks and networking on their own.

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Marilyn found the perfect spot: a locally owned, one-of-a-kind Spanish tapas restaurant called Tapa Toro, which happens to be right in the middle of the International Drive entertainment district called I-Drive 360. This elegant, chef-driven restaurant features intimate, inventive dining spaces that offer plenty of room for networking in an upscale environment. Eddie and Marilyn worked with Tapa Toro to come up with a unique dinner experience complete with flamenco dancing, signature sangrias, and delicious handcrafted Florida-sourced tapas dishes to truly wow the guests.

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To make the experience complete, our team came up with a custom scavenger hunt teambuilding experience. As a true destination expert, Eddie had formerly worked at I-Drive 360, so he knew lots of hidden gems to include in the hunt. Guests worked in teams to find items and experiences at various venues within I-Drive 360. A few days before the event, on our final walk-through, Eddie and Marilyn found out that the Florida Cup Pre-season Soccer Competition was holding a public concert for hundreds of fans on the green at I-Drive 360. This necessitated last-minute changes both to shuttle drop-offs and the scavenger hunt, but our local experts navigated it all with aplomb. Another challenge was changing counts in the days approaching since the guests needed to stay in their color-coded teams on the buses, at dinner and during the teambuilding event.   Eddie made all of the changes happen so that when guests arrived, each person knew exactly where to go every step of the way.

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The teambuilding was a big hit, and ended with the winners being awarded with golden statues from Madame Tussaud's. We're so proud of how our Hello! team used this new space in exciting and inventive ways. And the clients echo our sentiments: "I wanted to thank both of you again for all of your hard work with our event at I-Drive 360.  It was a HUGE hit and everyone had a blast.  Your professionalism and attention to detail made the event run flawless and we can't thank you enough. A special thanks to Eddie for his patience while we worked out the shuttles and adjusting to our last minute changes.  We are looking forward to working with you both again!"

March 27
South Florida Backyard Backstories with Kelly Kruzewski

Hello! South Florida Director of Sales Kelly Kruzewski escaped the cold of Staten Island as a little girl to move to south Florida, and wisely decided to stay!

 

My definition of One Perfect Day in my hometown is a sunny day on the boat with my husband, friends and a pitcher of margaritas (or champagne.. okay beer is fine too).

I chose to make South Florida my home because I live where everyone else vacations. Its where I grew up and my family is here.

 

I'm passionate about the ocean in my hometown.

People would be surprised to know that six of Fort Lauderdale's beaches have been "Blue Wave Certified" by the Clean Beach Council, including Fort Lauderdale Beach, Pompano Beach, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Deerfield Beach, Hollywood Beach, and Dania Beach.

 

In my opinion, A LaSpadas Sub is the signature food item that visitors must sample in my hometown.

March 23
Coming to Orlando for a Convention? Here's Why You Should Bring the Family!

We produce a LOT of meetings and conferences in Orlando, and our clients and guests often ask us about including attendees' families in their plans. Trust us, if there was ever a year to bring the family to Orlando, 2017 is it! Orlando is the ultimate family fun destination, with activities for all ages to enjoy. Everyone knows about Walt Disney World and Universal, so we'd like to share some new can't-miss Orlando family experiences.

 

Walt Disney World in Orlando is more than just the Magic Kingdom: Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios are full-fledged theme parks with rides, attractions, and plenty of fun activities. And now there's a new place to relax and refresh after a day at the parks, or to take the family for a bit of the Disney experience without paying theme park admission. Disney Springs is the re-imagining of Downtown Disney, and it's entirely new and different, with tons of new restaurants and shops in a relaxing waterside village. Dining options like STK, MoriMoto, Edison's, Boathouse, and Paddlefish will keep everyone's taste buds delighted. Plus, in addition to the Disney-themed stores like Art of Disney and World of Disney, there's a brand new Coca-Cola Store, a Build-a-Dino workshop, and a Star Wars Galactic Outpost to thrill young Jedis.

 

Universal Studios continues to up its game, with a brand new King Kong attraction newly opened at Islands of Adventure. And the new Harry Potter world, Diagon Alley, which opened a few years ago, has been called the most immersive environment ever created. You can even take an authentic British steam train from Diagon Alley to Hogsmeade for the full Harry Potter experience.

 

Universal really knows how to pump up the excitement and make guests feel like it's time to party before they even arrive. And at Universal Orlando Resort's Citywalk entertainment district, several recent updates make it even more fun for families. Streetmosphere performers, huge TV screens, music, flashing lights and a modern waterfront setting make Citywalk perfect a destination unto itself. The Hot Dog Hall of Fame is a fun way to sample hot dogs from all over the world, in every possible flavor combination. Antojitos serves authentic Mexican street food in a lively atmosphere, with a wide balcony overlooking the stage that's always filled with mariachi bands and dancers. The Cowfish is a unique concept that has proved very popular here. It's pretty much a fusion of EVERYTHING, with delicious sushi and burgers forming the centerpiece of an eclectic menu, in a fun and colorful setting. And you simply must stop in at the new fantasyland for chocolate lovers: Toothsome Chocolate Factory. This steampunk themed restaurant and dessert bar offers beautifully presented chocolate treats and decadent milkshakes to satisfy every possible chocolate craving.

 

Did you know that Orlando is the headwaters for the Everglades? Take your family off the beaten track to Wild Florida for airboat tours, a gator and wildlife park, and a ride through the working cattle operation in a ranch buggy. Can't visit Florida without seeing a gator with your own eyes!

Any discussion of new Orlando family fun must include the much-buzzed-about I-Drive 360 complex, home to the iconic Orlando Eye. This center near the Orange County Convention Center is designed with families in mind, with convenient transportation and parking, a variety restaurants and plenty of attractions to ensure guests of all ages will be engaged and delighted. Madame Tussaud's is the perfect spot for celebrity selfies, and the Sea Life Aquarium brings the thrills of the ocean to International Drive. "We love I-Drive 360 because it combines several different activities to keep families engaged for longer, and the variety ensures that everyone will find something to enjoy," says Vic Laxson, Hello! Florida's Orlando General Manager.

 

Part of Orlando 360 is the landmark Orlando Eye can be seen from as far away as Cocoa Beach, and tops the list for people seeking something new in Orlando. It's an hour-long experience that starts with a 4D Cinema Experience and continues with a ride around the Eye in a capsule that holds 20 people. Food and beverage, including champagne toasts, can be provided during the flight. Soaring views and luxury appointments that go SO far beyond a ferris wheel make this an elevated adventure that your family is sure to remember. Plus it has one BIG thing that makes it superior to any ferris wheel- air conditioning!

Think you've done it all in Orlando? Well you probably haven't experienced all the good-old-fashioned carnival merriment that Fun Spot offers, and this park just keeps getting better and better!  You and the kiddos can bond over funnel cakes, fried candy bars, and Icees while riding the new roller coasters and bumper cars. Sometimes simple nostalgia brings people together more than anything, and there's no place that does this better than the Fun Spot.

 

While Orlando theme parks get much of the attention in Central Florida, Orlando's position as the USA's most popular convention destination has allowed several unique and exciting venues to grow. These venues get bigger and better every year, to the delight of convention attendees looking for something new to surprise and delight their families. Make plans now to bring the whole crew to Orlando, you'll be glad you did!

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