APR 2015

ConventionSouth magazine is the leading resource for meeting planners who book all types of events, conventions, conferences and group travel in the south.

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⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ A P R I L 2 0 1 5 w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 18 De-Boxed On-site Activities E ven though more exotic locales may have an advantage with regard to appealing activities, focused imagination can create great activities anywhere—including at the meeting property or even right in the meeting room. Beth Searls, director of sales & marketing for Sonesta Gwinnett Place Atlanta, noted that she and her sales team add excitement to their corporate meetings by focusing on themed events and team building centered around their Take 5 promotion. "Take 5 encourages guests to discover and explore venues and activities at the property, and allows for a refreshing timeout from their meeting," explained Searls. "We can do fun coffee breaks out on our 11 landscaped acres, sometimes making s'mores or eating wedges of watermelon. Fun events for team building or bonding include mini marathons, bad- minton, volleyball, croquet, swimming, weight lifting, treasure hunts, barbecues with a steel band poolside and much more." E lvis may have left the building, but The King still draws interest all over. Not surprisingly, in Memphis, where the CVB's director of public re- lations, Jonathan Lyons, mentioned the coffee breaks featuring Elvis tribute artists. The Hilton Sandestin also gets in on a little Elvis action. "One meeting had an Elvis impersonator come in to liven everyone up," said Swoboda. The Hilton Sandestin's crew have also had local cheerleaders come into a meeting and lead a cheer to pump everyone up, according to Swoboda. "Some groups have a themed meeting where attendees dress up as favorite character or a particular era, perhaps the 50s or 70s," he added.H"This also opens up conversation about what happened in that year with the company." Stanley arranged to have corporate partici- pants at another Florida property, the Pearl Hotel in Rosemary Beach, conduct a team meeting in their robes and slippers, moving from the spa to the Pearl Suite, which she indi- c ated is comparable to a presidential suite or penthouse of the hotel. (St. Joe Club & Resorts began managing the 55-room luxury resort hotel late last year.) Meeting breaks featuring chef demonstrations at The Pearl Hotel, as well as gourmet ice cream, craft beer, or Bloody Mary stations at the property are other ideas Stanley has come up with to keep corporate meetings interesting. Searls and her Sonesta Gwinnett Place Atlanta team have devised some creative activities for meeting attendees. "One of the best activities was the Drone Obstacle Course in our Georgia Ballroom," said Serles. "This event consisted of individuals operating remote control drones through an obstacle course inside our largest ballroom. Other exciting activities on site have been the "egg drop, off our parking deck," the "submarine races across our indoor pool," and "desk chair yoga." n C O R P O R A T E M E E T I N G S

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