74 PCMA CONVENE MARCH 2014 PCMA.ORG
The business of planning a meeting is anything
but business as usual in the Sunshine State,
where endless attractions, miles of beaches,
and a cosmopolitan energy seamlessly blend
with tropical relaxation to keep things interesting before, during, and after meetings.
Meeting facilities in Florida have continued
to exceed industry standards, as a growing
landscape of sites encompasses everything
from the nation’s second-largest convention
center to forward-thinking conference venues
that are breaking new ground in technological
capabilities. Hotels and resorts in Florida are
also earning recognition for having state-of-the-art meeting spaces that come with expert
staff to ensure things run smoothly.
It’s a level of quality many planners have
come to expect in Florida, yet when it comes
to unique off-site venues, many groups
appreciate the unexpected. They may be
surprised to find themselves gathering in his-
toric theaters, avant-garde museums, base-
ball and football stadiums, on beaches and in
gardens, or inside an ice lounge, wearing fur-
lined Crocs. Florida’s vast net work of support
professionals is also at the service of meeting
planners to ensure a successful event, from
destination management and transportation
companies to creative advertising and com-
munications agencies and top-notch caterers.
All work and no play, though, can make
meeting delegates a bit restless. Private
yacht charters on the Atlantic and Gulf of
Mexico or paddling excursions along the
state’s inland network of waterways can
help groups recharge after a day of sessions.
Watersports and shell hunting are a few of
the many options for enjoying the gold- and
white-sand beaches that fringe the state’s
shoreline for 1,200 miles. But for many
attendees, the preferred color is green, and
with its year-round sunny climate and scores
of public and private golf courses, Florida is
on par with the world’s top golf destinations.
Whether delegates feel like power buying,
bargain hunting, or just browsing, Florida offers
a dizzying array of shopping opportunities,
from designer boutiques and whimsical souvenir shops to alfresco shopping promenades
that make the most of the state’s balmy breezes and sweeping waterfront vistas. Groups can
have their meeting and eat well, too, at restaurants that reflect nearly every taste in the world,
from the Deep South to South America.
For more information: VISIT FLORIDA —
Cheryl Hatcher, Director of Marketing
and Events; (850) 205-3831;
Must be the sunshine
Tee time Florida’s 1,250-plus golf courses include some of
the most challenging greens in the country.
After party With so much to see and experience in the
Sunshine State, post-meeting options are a must for groups.