More than 200 meeting and event planners mingled with representatives from the food & beverage, entertainment, audio/visual, hotel, special facility, event product and service industries at the Plan Your Meeting’s Oceans of Opportunities cocktail party and trade show June 22, held in the Georgia Aquarium’s Oceans Ballroom.
The PYM Atlanta trade show was excellent. The meeting planners/attendees were great — I ran out of all my marketing materials 45 minutes before the show ended! The venue, food and entertainment (the monkey girl dancer was truly unique) were wonderful.
— Niccole Haschak
Naples, Marco Island, Everglades CVB
The event was so great — I didn’t expect to stay very long, but I stayed the entire time. The artist, band, and dancers were very entertaining. There was perfect circulation for the trivia game, booth displays and food stations. — Jackie Thornton, M.S., CMP Planner
It was great seeing you yesterday at the WONDERFUL SHOW! I actually have around 20 potential clients that are interested in booking off-shore programs and want information on our resort! Best show I have participated in for Plan Your Meetings!
— Debra Furr, Area Sales Manager
Le Meridien Cancun Resort & Spa
You guys REALLY outdid yourselves at last night’s function … it was simply fabulous!! The food was plentiful and delicious, the service was excellent and the entire event was very well organized. [PYM] continues to exceed our expectations.
— Jackie Moore, Planner
Steve Houser, vice president of sales and marketing for the Georgia Aquarium, introduced planners to the venue’s meeting space, although its charms were evident. Two floor-to-ceiling viewing windows in the 16,400-sq. ft. ballroom thrilled attendees, giving them glimpses of exotic fish and marine animals, such as the playful, and rare, white beluga whales. In-house caterer Wolfgang Puck provided ocean-blue “Tidal Wave” cocktails and exotic island- and seafood-inspired foods.
The Oceans Ballroom accommodates up to 1,600 attendees and is divisible into three smaller ballrooms. For larger functions of up to 10,000 attendees, the entire aquarium may be used as a special events facility. Kosher catering also is available. For more information about the aquarium visit georgiaaquarium.org.
Plan Your Meetings (PYM) Editor-in-Chief Christine Born welcomed exhibitors and planners, reviewing the numerous “oceans of opportunities” PYM provides from the annual planning publication, to monthly e-news, luncheons, trade shows and the soon-to-be-expanded national online resource directory. Born also announced that “Beyond the Basics” is the theme for PYM’s 10th Anniversary Southeast Expo at the AmericasMart in Downtown Atlanta.
“Plan Your Meetings always delivers the basics of meeting planning in its annually updated publication with ‘The Practical Guide to Meeting and Event Planning,’ which has become the bible for meeting planners throughout the Southeast,” Born says. “But we’ve also urged planners to go beyond the basics with articles about planning meetings on the water to incorporating chef demonstrations and wine tastings. This year, we carried an article about using spas and spa treatments to pamper attendees. We want to continue the theme by treating our member planners to mini-spa treatments and other surprise indulgences at the Expo.” Seminars, luncheon round-tables and exhibitors will all demonstrate how planners can go “Beyond the Basics.”
Planners made the most of the “Oceans” trade show, networking with 65 exhibitors representing some of the most innovative products and services, caterers, special events facilities, hotels and entertainment available from Florida to Colorado. Additional refreshments were served by exhibitors such as Cool Daddy’s and Boi Na Braza Brazilian Steak House.
Entertainment was provided by Kingsized, a versatile Atlanta-based band fronted by 6’8” singer Mike Geier, which plays everything from Elvis-themed rockabilly to Rat Pack-style swing to tongue-in-cheek Hawaiian luau shows. Joined by the va-va-voom Dames A’Flame dancers, who design interactive go-go and burlesque shows as well as teambuilding dance lessons for corporate groups, Kingsized kept the room swinging. Artist Eric Waugh captured the excitement of the event, painting an original work of aquarium art as the crowd watched.
Oceans of Opportunity ended with a raffle drawing of prizes donated by the exhibitors, giving planners the chance to experience first-hand some of the golf and spa resorts, airplane flights, special services and catering expertise available for their future meetings and events.