Meeting planners have myriad options for
making their event uniquely Florida, starting with venues and accommodations. For
starters, there are more than 1,696 hotels in
the state with meeting space, and Florida
has some of the largest convention centers
in the country — including the 2.1-million-
square-foot Orange County Convention
Center in Orlando.
If destinations like Orlando, Fort Lauder-
dale, and Miami have already been checked
o; the list, consider second-tier convention
cities such as Daytona Beach, home to the
Ocean Center — the ;ifth-largest convention
center in the state — and ONE DAYTONA,
a 300,000-square-foot entertainment
district opening across from Daytona
International Speedway later this year. For
corporate meetings and retreats, smaller
cities like Naples and Sarasota pack a big
punch, too, with a solid inventory of upscale
hotels, downtowns ;illed with boutique
shops and art museums, and easy access
to quiet beaches.
Encouraging attendees to think outside
the box means that planners should probably get them outside of the boardroom.
Fortunately, inspiring itinerary ideas can be
found throughout the state. In St. Peters-burg/Clearwater, groups can spend an afternoon at Clearwater Beach, ranked Florida’s
No. 1 beach by readers of USA Today, then
the evening surrounded by Salvador Dali’s
surrealist masterpieces at The Dali Museum
in St. Petersburg. Or impress VIPs in the
Palm Beaches — where America’s resort
tradition began more than 100 years ago —
with a round on one of the most challenging
golf courses in the world and a Lilly Pulitzer–
themed brunch for the spouses.
Whatever the theme, whatever the
group’s personality, whatever the budget,
there’s a destination in Florida to match it.
Planners will ;ind plenty of inspiration for
even the smallest of details. Need a center-
piece? Stack local oranges in a tall vase. What
about interactive entertainment for guests?
Bring in a few animal friends from Wild Flor-
ida, Gatorland, Sea World Orlando, or one of
many zoos located around the state.
Whatever their interest, Florida has some-
thing to pique it. Outdoorsy? Florida is home
to three U.S. National Parks — Everglades
National Park, Biscayne National Park, and
Dry Tortugas National Park. Are they craving
a fresh catch? Florida is known as the ;ishing
capital of the world. Need inspiration? Visitors
can tour the former homes of Ernest Heming-
way, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and Zora
For more information: VISIT FLORIDA —
Well-equipped to inspire
Spoiled for choice With 87 percent of Florida’s counties o;ering
meeting space, even repeat groups will ;ind new places to meet.
Face-to-face Florida Encounter, VISIT FLORIDA’s appointment-based
trade show, brings the state’s premier suppliers and meeting planners
together for three days every year. Learn more at ; loridaencounter.com.