JUL 2018

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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J U L Y 2 0 1 8 ⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 19 MEDICAL & PHARMACEUTICAL MEETINGS offerings and the proximity of those offerings to the host hotels make it an ideal option for groups like AHNA looking to get outdoors," Vencl said. "They'll have everything under one roof with some fun off-site activities within minutes from their host hotel." Accommodating a Variety of Schedules Because medical professionals have such busy schedules, Malcom works to create a flexible conference that can accommodate huge differ- ences in schedules. The event includes a pre-conference prior to the event, which is two days of intensive learning. The full conference includes access to all content except the pre-conference. Finally, the one-day offerings consolidate a topic into a single day of learning. "We want to create the ultimate confer- ence experience, so we offer lots of different opportunities," she said. "We schedule our conference over weekdays and a weekend to accommodate a variety of schedules. If your days off fall in the middle of the week, you can still take advantage of the event." Part of that equation means being near an airport with easy access to the host facility, which is exactly what makes the ATL Airport District (the District) a perfect choice for plan- ners with similar needs. Made up of four cities on the south side of Atlanta, the District connects directly to the world's busiest airport and is situated near three major Interstate highways. As a result, it's a logical destination for conferences that attract busy professionals. "We're within a two-hour flight of 80 percent of the U.S. population, with 225 cities offering non-stop flights to Atlanta," said Meg Oxford, director of sales for the District. "Most people can fly here without a series of connect- ing flights, so they can get in and out quickly. If they have a business to operate or a soccer game to get back to, the ease of getting in and out of the Atlanta airport is a major advantage." The District also boasts Georgia's sec- ond-largest convention center, the Georgia International Convention Center, with 400,000 square feet of meeting space and three campus hotels, all conveniently connected to the Atlanta airport by way of a complimentary skytrain. Although not connected to the skytrain, the immediate area surrounding the District boasts 60 hotels with 8,000 hotel rooms, most of which offer shuttle transportation to the airport. "Visitors can move directly from the airport to the convention center or campus hotels and nearby hotels without being exposed to the elements," Oxford said. "They don't have to schedule transportation or navigate traffic. If they want to focus on meetings or business without distractions, the District saves them time and money." Attracting International Participants The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) hosted 27,000 healthcare professionals at its annual conference in New ► Things to Remember When Planning Medical Meetings Medical meetings provide important opportunities for healthcare professionals to network and learn about developments in their particular industry. The annual requirement for continuing medical education credits provides a great incentive for professionals to step away from their practices for a few days to gather with others in the industry. The following considerations will help you plan a medical meeting that makes people want to attend: 1. Ask lots of questions. "The more questions you ask prior to the visit, the more prepared you'll be," said Nicole Malcom, director of operations for the American Holistic Nurses Association. "I send at least 100 questions prior to the visit and I arrive for my site visit with about 50 or 60 more. The more infor- mation you have, the easier it will be to successfully host your program without unnecessary stress." 2. Consider each destination's history of hosting medical events. New Orleans has hosted the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons several times, as well as other medical association meetings. "We have a history of hosting many medical meetings, both small and large," said Robert Reso, vice president of convention sales for New Orleans & Company. "Associations typically experience strong registration numbers when meeting in New Orleans." The city's footprint, as well as its state-of- the-art Biomedical Innovation District, draw large meetings to the area. 3. Find family-friendly venues with a variety of activities. "Lots of meeting planners find our prox- imity to downtown Atlanta beneficial," said Meg Oxford, director of sales for the ATL Airport District. "We're close enough to downtown to take advantage of the offerings there without being right in the middle of it. We're also seeing a trend toward more outdoor activities, so we're building mountain bike trails to allow visitors to enjoy outdoor activities." n Convenience: A skytrain connects venues in the Atlanta Airport District to the Hartfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

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