NOV 2014

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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technology, this resort is perfectly positioned to host any size group. Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld Intriguing, indigenous, independent. These three adjectives ring true at this atrium-style Renais- sance just steps from SeaWorld. A bright and airy décor peppered with sultry restaurants like Mist, make this property both unique and distinct. With 76 meeting rooms, most named after fish like mako and walu, and 185,000 square feet of total meeting space, planners rejoice at the amount of flexibility here. And when it comes to serving planners, being flexible has been the key to this hotel's success. "We have to be able to adapt because our customers, our guests are always evolving," said Jonathon Llanos, Destination Sales Execu- tive for Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld. Say a planner wants to welcome their atten- dees in style. The hotel can arrange the ulti- mate shout out by branding their groups messaging within the soaring 10-story atrium. Planners searching for an indulgent incentive for attendees can try the warm lava shell mas- sage in the hotel's 8,000 square foot spa. Or, better yet, step into R Kitchen…a place de- signed to hold interactive functions like cook- ing classes, intimate dinners, and demos including liquid nitrogen for making ice cream. With 781 rooms, 65 suites, and 22 breakout rooms ranging from 400-2,000 square feet, catering to mid-sized groups has become this properties sweet spot. Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center Meeting planners spoke and they listened. With a $50 million renovation under its belt, Gay- lord Palms Resort & Convention Center is sit- ting at the top of its game. The view may be pretty, but don't think for a moment they're resting on their laurels. With 80 percent of the resort's business focused on meetings, there's work to be done. A 50% - 50% mix of corporate and associa- tion business keeps staffers busy doing what they do best…retaining customers. What you may not know about this company is how much effort they put behind their most impor- tant asset – their employees, or as they call them, "stars." "If we take care of them, they take care of our customers," said Monica Schyck, Director of Sales & Marketing for Gaylord Palms. A smile comes across her face as she describes the surprises on-site for meeting planners. "We've done flash mobs for planners, and there's always a message behind the music." Creative spaces include the Coquina Lawn with 10,000 square feet of outdoor space, and two levels of entertainment at Wrecker's Sports Bar with flexible seating for up to 400 people, a VIP skybox, lounge, terrace and patio seat- ing. There's also a personalized "ticker-tape" LED display perfect for customized group messages. All this in addition to the 400,000 square feet of convention, meeting, exhibition and pre-function space makes Gaylord Palms a vi- able choice for planners. Orlando World Center Marriott Go big or go home! Welcome to the largest Marriott in the country with 18, count them, 18 check-in counters. Offering more than 2,000 rooms takes some serious mojo to keep the mo- mentum. Enter four pools, four tennis courts, two volleyball courts, a basketball court and 88 items in the buffet. What is their differentiator? "Our culinary experience, our creativity and our commitment to bringing chefs forward…people are wowed by it," said Gary Dybul, Director of Sales & Marketing. Venture down a sleek escalator to the land of meeting space that's all on one floor. You may be greeted with a your very own star on the personal walk-of-fame like I was. It's a classy gesture they bestow on planners during their site visits. Then, prepare to be astonished by the sheer size of the Cypress Ballroom. It's the largest, pillar-less ballroom in the country with 105,000 square feet of space and can hold al- most 9,500. With 92 meeting rooms, 10 restau- rants, including a casual food court for groups on a budget, 450,000 square feet of total meet- ing space and branding opportunities galore, this hotel's mission is lofty. "Our goal is to blow people's minds," ex- claims Dybul. One way they do that is through exceptional culinary offerings like Siro, an Ital- ian farm to fork restaurant, just off the main lobby offering small plates, tapas style. "Our mantra is a spirit to serve," said Dybul. What can planners expect to see in terms of new services, incentives Marriott CRN is rolling out? According to Nostrand, a lot. ■ N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 4 ⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 15 Marriott's Convention & Resort Network Offers: • Over 6.5 million square feet of event space • 70,000 guest rooms • 2,700 meeting rooms • 500 spa treatment rooms • 60+ premier hotels in 20 States, the Caribbean and Mexico New hotels to the network include the Washington DC Marriott Marquis, which opened this past spring and the Atlantis Paradise Island in the Bahamas. Upcoming hotels to the network include: • JW Marriott Austin Opening February 2015 • Marriott Marquis Houston Opening Fall 2016 • Marriott Marquis Chicago Opening Early 2017 ■ 2015 TrendsWatch Orlando World Center Marriott JW Marriott Austin

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