Custom shipped chandeliers from across the country? Break-dancers requested three hours before the doors open? No sweat! At least not for our Hello! Florida (South) team. Here’s a look at a four-day program for a longstanding client and how we reminded them just why they love to say Hello!.
Let's Start at the Beginning
Hello! Florida (South) has a positive and longstanding relationship with a large financial services planning company. This particular program we were bidding on was an incentive trip for the company’s highest earners—one of their top three annual events. This meant high visibility with all executives and intense pressure for us to reward their hard-working professionals with a spectacular event.
The program was a very competitive bid, and despite our great rapport, we knew this was no time for complacency – we really wanted to differentiate ourselves and show just how important they are to us. To begin, our Hello! Florida (South) team leveraged their relationships across the board to open a public museum on a day that they’re typically closed. They then held what amounted to a mini program for the client’s representatives and demonstrated our vision for their 500 VIPs. A special keepsake was made for each of the planners to remind them of all the fun. The company was thrilled with our ideas and attentiveness, awarding us the opportunity to manage their program.
Keep Calm and Plan On
One week before the program, a member of our client’s planning team asked us to completely redesign a concept that was going to be present across all four days. Two days prior to the event, a senior member of the planning team asked for another complete redesign of the materials and presentation. Our Hello! Florida (South) event designer jumped into action; she immediately came up with another concept and contacted one of our suppliers to request a rush piece. Our supplier began working on the project for us on a Saturday and created the structure for us on a Sunday, just in time for us to proceed with the installation that Monday. All in all, the supplier finished this custom piece for us within 24 hours. The client was extremely impressed with the new concept and said it was just what they were envisioning. This couldn’t have happened without the great relationship we have with our supplier. Our supplier partnerships are extremely important to us and operate based on mutual respect. These relationships are integral for us when we need to go out of the “norm” and need a reliable partner during crunch time.
The welcome reception was extremely important to the client, who was impressed with the Wynwood district in Miami. Wynwood is an up-and-coming neighborhood known for its trendy art and many colorful murals. Since the client wasn’t able to have two nights off-property from the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, we brought Wynwood to them! We took the time to listen to what they wanted, then showed them we could fulfill their needs by building numerous custom pieces and setting up a large amount of décor. The client was very pleased with our choices of bright colors and interactive elements that perfectly represented the Wynwood district.
To make guests feel like they were really in the neighborhood, we began by inviting them to walk through a literal recreation of the actual gates of Wynwood. Guests were greeted with a yarn-wrapped tree in the center of our bar that became a real focal point for the event, while lounge groupings with different patterns added to the vibrancy. With all of the custom décor, one major challenge was being able to strategically place so many large pieces within a small footprint. With careful planning, we made sure everyone was able to flow easily within the space and accomplished our client’s goal of perfect symmetry throughout.
The welcome reception was also open to the guests’ families, whose children ranged in age from three to seventeen. Our team had to cleverly build a kids’ area with fun activities that they would want to participate in, but one that also made sense within the overall style and theme of the event. To play off the artsy-feel of the night, we had a tie-dye station (a big hit with the adults as well!), a standing art station, and massive colorful bubbles the children could chase around.
Final Night Reception
The final night reception at the historic public museum was to be an event to remember. With so many custom pieces needing to be installed – the arbors, draping, chandeliers, and more – we rented out the museum the night before to get a head start on set up. Despite the advance work, we still experienced challenges with load-in on the day of the event since we had to split our load-in space with the catering team. Teamwork and creativity ensured that we were able to build the 48 tables we needed and transfer heavy furniture across the beautiful waterfront terraces, while catering was able to accomplish their goals in time to support our guests.
Our group size traditionally wouldn’t have fit within the event area. The primary space is one terrace that’s required to be tented in case of inclement weather. The problem? It only fits 300 people max, with no stage…or dance floor. We were well over that capacity with 500 guests, including the need for seating. We had to figure out how to fit the extra guests comfortably to where they didn’t feel disjointed from the main group (and how do we convince the museum to let us do it?). Harkening back to our site visit concept, we envisioned a romantic Tuscan night but with a modern twist. We wanted to expand the party to an area beneath the terrace and create large, custom arbor structures to play into the Tuscan feel. But…we needed approval first. In order to make our client’s dream a reality, we met with the museum’s curators, security, and preservation society as well as our suppliers. There was a lot of customization and carpentry involved with the creation of these arbor structures, which would need to be built off-site and then re-assembled on the museum grounds. Our great relationships and communication once again saved the day, paving the way for a unique experience never before seen at this museum.
The Final Exclamation
Comfort is key, and the program was a raging success because our teams were able to communicate well with our client, our suppliers, and the venues, as well as demonstrate great collaboration within our own organization. The program leads stayed at the hotel so they could be on-site and available for the client 24 hours a day. Highly impressed with their efforts and attention to detail, the Hello! Florida (South) team was also invited to bid one another of the client’s major programs that will be in South Florida next year.
Need to recreate an eclectic and famous off-property neighborhood on-site? How about fitting a large group into a cohesive, nontraditional space? No problem. It’s what we do!