APR 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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⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ A P R I L 2 0 1 8 w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 4 ConventionSouth (ISSN 1074-0627) is published monthly by Covey Communications Corp., P.O. Box 2267, Gulf Shores, AL 36547. It is mailed under Standard mail rates. POSTMASTER: CHANGE SERVICE REQUESTED TO ConventionSouth Subscription Office, PO Box 16868 North Hollywood, CA 91615. Editorial and advertising offices are located at 2001 West First St., Gulf Shores, AL 36542. Editorial ideas, photographs and content suggestions are welcomed; however, the publisher and editorial team retains the right to edit all content in print and online. Photos are typically obtained from direct sources and credits are given at the discretion of the editorial team. Copyright 2018 by Covey Communications Corp. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without express written permission of the publisher or editor is strictly forbidden. WOW Moments What makes you say WOW? For me, it can be something as stunning as an ornate chan- delier or as inspiring as a sunset over the ocean. It can be as thrilling as a helicopter ride or as peaceful as swinging in a hammock. It can be a festive reception or an intimate dinner. It can be a modern building, with the latest and greenest features or a historic structure with striking architectural details. For me, the WOW is best experienced by being fully immersed in the moment, whenever and wherever that moment occurs. I've been traveling a lot over the past few months and have been very impressed by the many ways that Southern destinations and meeting properties strive to provide the WOW factor that will not only have an immediate impact on the senses but also develop memories that linger long past the event itself. Whether a property offers a grand entrance or whimsical décor, the WOW experience often starts upon entering a hotel lobby or special event space. From there, it can be an amazing meal, a cleverly designed guest room, views from the building or art placed within. It can be a boating excursion or a hike along a nature trail. It can also be a meeting room or gathering spot that is conducive to social and creative interaction. In this issue, we showcase a great variety of destinations that offer WOW experiences for all types of group functions and hope you will find them inspiring and inviting. Among the places I've visited recently, many have been properties specializing in cor- porate business and these are some of the venues that pull out all the stops when it comes to offering WOW moments and memories. As our feature articles on corporate meeting trends and activities indicate, corporate gatherings, whether they are educational confer- ences or incentive trips, are now often aimed at energizing and invigorating the participants and the WOW factor is important to this goal. Also, from my experiences, recently and in the past, Florida is full of the WOW factor. With its seemingly endless coastline and interior waterways, its state-of-the-art theme parks and charming old-Florida attractions, the state offers so much to explore. Fantastic meeting sites abound in the sunshine state. From laid-back resorts to urban hot spots to retreats set amongst nature, there's a huge variety of WOW experiences, as this month's Event Planner's Guide demonstrates. I hope you will find many things in this issue that make you say WOW! perspective putting it in Senior Editor Convention South EXECUTIVE OFFICES 2001 West First Street Gulf Shores, AL 36542 MAILING ADDRESS P.O. Box 2267 Gulf Shores, AL 36547 TELEPHONE (251) 968-5300 (800) 968-0712 E-MAIL FAX (251) 968-2033 WEBSITE PUBLISHER J. Talty O'Connor ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Ashleigh Osborne (251) 968-5313 NIKKI GRAYSON Relationship Manager (251) 968-7023 SENIOR EDITOR Marcia Bradford DESTINATION EDITORS D. Fran Morley T. Wayne Waters CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Adrianne Bowen Selena Chavis Shannon Rasmussen DESIGN SERVICES MANAGER Kelly Williams MANAGER, TRAFFIC Dorothy P. Miller AND PROMOTIONS CIRCULATION MANAGER Ashley Strickland FINANCE MANAGER Mandi Morrison EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD Jenny Anderson, CMP National Association of College & University Business Officers David Bruce, MMP, HTS CMP Meeting Services Jeff Hurt Velvet Chainsaw Consulting Robert Mandelbaum PKF Consulting Meg Slentz, CMP Meetings To Order Sue Walton May & Williams Ltd. James Hobbs Meeting Expectations Loriann White, CMM, CMP American Express Meetings & Events A WOW spot near the Southernmost point in the continental U.S. With Jessica Long, marketing coordinator, at Key West Margaritaville Resort.

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