MAY 2013

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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By Selena Chavis Despite incidents in years past that have made some question whether resorts are appropriate venues for business events, organizations tell us they are resolute when it comes to selecting these full-service sites for their meetings. From the AIG incident in 2008 to the GSA scandal of 2012, the past few years have been a bumpy road for resorts that serve groups. Both meeing industry mishaps casted a negative light on resorts, portraying them as too expensive, too extravagant and too exciting for business-focused events, especially during a soft economy. Concerned that their events would get pegged as a junket, many organizations turned away from holding their meetings at resorts. However, not all have been swayed away from resorts. In fact, numerous meeting planners were eager to talk to us about the value of selecting resorts for certain types of meetings. Life Technologies Inc., a global biotechnology tools company based in California, builds teams at resorts. The availability of an on-site teambuilding company made the Lakeway Resort and Spa in Austin, Texas, an attractive option for Life Technologies' corporate teambuilding event held in March, according to Executive Assistant Christina Esparza. Professional instructors helped the group of 15 organize a sailing activity that not only taught individual attendees how to sail, but also how to work together for a common goal. And, for Esparaza, selecting Lakeway made her job easy as all apects appealed to Life Technologies execs. "The sleeping rooms and conference services were nicely packaged at competitive prices with beautiful surroundings on a lake and not too far from downtown activities and airport." Pharmacists in Tennessee desire resort's mix of focus and fun. Health concious professionals like pharmacists like to balance education with entertainment, according to Judy Sadler, director of organizational w w w. c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m affairs with the Tennessee Pharmacists Association. Sadler says that resorts fills her organization's perscription. "Our attendees come to learn but like to play and enjoy each other, and they're very family oriented," she noted as to why she chooses resort properties like the Meadowview Marriott Conference Resort and Convention Center in Kingsport, Tenn. "After traveling to reach their destination, they just like to stay and not leave and enjoy the resort... golf, pools and a fitness center." UK Healthcare, which offers continuing education solutions for healthcare professionals, finds that resorts offer the welltrained staff that their group requires. Expert-level service is one of the driving forces behind why UK Healthcare CECentral has booked the Griffin Gate Marriott Resort and Spa in Lexington, Kentucky two to three times a year for the past 10 years. According to Health Education Coordinator Candy Back, the staff at resorts like the Griffin Gate, in particular, are "the best in the business." The organization recently hosted its week-long Annual Family Medicine Review at the resort, bringing more than 100 physicians together from all over the country along with spouses and children. "The ➤ Basically when I'm at the resort, I feel like family and am treated like royalty. M A Y 2 0 1 3 ⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ 17

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