Orlando Florida is a great place for Conventions and Meetings.
Meetings and Conventions in Orlando, Florida have a huge impact on the economy and it’s not just Mickey Mouse that gets all that revenue. The main place for conventions is the Orange County Convention Center and here is what I found on their site to share with you. I love being a Convention Photographer and providing Tradeshow photography to meetings nationwide so my passion is this industry. When I talk to meetings planners and the sunshine state pops up I say that Orlando Florida a place for Conventions and Meetings is a good starting point to look for your groups needs.
I have put what I feel is more in line with this industry so I won’t bore you with too many details. If you want to learn more please go the OCCC website.
$3 billion estimated economic impact (fiscal year 2018-2019)
$2229 is the average economic impact per delegate (attendee)
1200 businesses impacted by the OCCC Activity
2.2 nights average length of stay per meeting attendee.
36% arrive by air.
62% arrive by auto.
8% of the meeting attendee head to the beach!
23% dining. So many places to go.
18% Theme parks
Some of Orlando’s largest conventions and the economic impact in dollars below.
Please note, this just for the OCCC and not the other hotels that host their own conventions and meetings.
AAU Volleyball Nationals has 110,000 attendees and $141.2 million.
Premiere Orlando 2019 had 57,000 in attendance and 146.3 million.
HIMSS had 46,480 and $119.3 million.
PGA Merchandise Show 2019 had 43,000 and $110.4 million.
MegaCon Orlando had 68,000 and $87.3 million
When I cover a meeting, it has been at the OCCC but also many of the hotels and resorts. I just have a great time, every time. The locations are always beautiful and the experience that I hope anyone that goes to conventions and conferences will as well.
So, let’s start with the hotel that I go to a lot over the years. So many groups but I will just share my thoughts on the hotels listed here. I will keep it to 3 so as not to lose your interest but future posts will talk about the other properties, I have work and stayed with groups.
As with other locations across the country I have stayed here many times. I could probably walk blindfolded around the lobby and know how to get to the pool. Seriously this is a very elegant hotel with enough rooms for any meeting. 1582 Rooms is a lot and more than enough for the majority of conventions that I have been hired to do.
Plenty of meeting space at 144,785 sq ft, for general sessions, breakouts and events. The meetings I covered here over the years have been incredible. Events inside or outside are always unique and the local DMC’s know how to throw a party. Golf is also a favorite of mine and if you love the links you will like this course. Also, the waterpark is a favorite for families and attendees. Location is a bit off the beaten path but there’s a reason in my opinion. Groups that have hired me have told me they want to keep the attendees a distance from the parks to keep them focused on the meeting. There is nothing that you will not like about the JW Marriott Grande Lakes.
Orlando can get pretty humid at times and with the meeting space this size, the air is always at a perfect temperature. The exterior of the convention site faces the championship golf course and offers great views between sessions if you want to go outside and make that call or just take in the fresh air.
HILTON ORLANDO BONNET CREEK
Right in the middle of the Disney Theme parks. Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek is a great place for meetings and conventions but also for families that want to be near the parks.
1,001 guest rooms and suites
World-class dining: Harvest Bistro, *Bull & Bear, La Luce, *Oscar’s and Peacock Alley, plus in-room dining.
Lazy river with resort style pool and water slide on over 3 acres.
A great golf course. Rees Jones-designed championship golf course
Complimentary transportation to and from all the Disney parks and Downtown Disney
The size of the convention place is something to consider for your larger groups. 122,000 sq ft of total meeting and events space. The main ballroom is 35,925 sq ft and can be divided into 12 sections. Also, there is 44 breakout rooms. So, your meeting will be successful.
This beautiful breath-taking resort is on the other side of the meetings space of the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek and has 30,000 sq ft of meeting space as well. The largest ballroom is under 8000 sq ft and have a pre function space of under 5000 sq ft.
As an Orlando Convention Photographer, I have covered meetings that took both meeting areas and resorts. Walking to and from the Hilton and Waldorf from 6 am to 11 pm for 4 sometimes 5 days straight has kept me in shape but I love it and wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Below are some of the amenities that the Waldorf has on property, note the * means that this is shared with the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek
Rees Jones-designed championship course that is shared with the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek.
Restaurants and Lounges: *Bull & Bear, *Oscar’s, Sir Harry’s Lounge, Aquamarine, The Clubhouse Grille and in-room dining.
A Pool of its own and Private Cabanas.
Now these properties provide ample space for any convention or conference and event but off-site venues are what makes this destination stand out. Let me share a couple of places that my groups have had their events.
If you ever wanted to wow your group then this is the place. Universal Orlando Resort has a meetings department that can setup anything you need.
As the groups Convention and Event Photographer I covered CITYWALK BLOCK PARTY. Yep, that sound right. It comprises of a variety of venues that include restaurants and entertainment clubs. Your guests are provided with food at all locations served buffet style and the entertainment venues provide drinks onsite.
The entertainment venues can have karaoke, live bands at different areas. Heck the sky’s the limit. If you haven’t experience this you need to.
After the opening reception held at CITYWALK the group was escorted to an after-hours theme park event. The group picked Universal’s Islands of Adventure.
All attendees were invited to unlimited rides in the area and closed to the public no less. There was food and drinks until the event was over. What an end to a great convention week and the attendees were so happy.
Conventions, conferences, meetings and events bring people together, to make connections, friends, it’s how teams gets formed. New alliances made.
Showcasing your brand face to face and the opportunities are limitless. I miss the moments and know in time we will be back to having our meetings but until then I will continue to write about my experiences and places.
Thanks for reading my blog if you got this far. If you need a convention or event photographer, consider my company Professional Images Photography for your meeting. You can send your RFP here and remember, Orlando Florida is a great place for meetings and conventions.
COVID-19 at Meetings and Conventions for 2021. What can we expect? What is going to be the new norm that stays with us for years? The Meetings and Tradeshow Industry has been in a tailspin, but ready to bounce back strong by the 3rd to 4th quarter of 2021.
March 2020 is the last time I traveled for a Corporate Photography Job. I remember the day perfectly our lives changed in ways I could have not imagined.
I am a Convention Photographer and provide services to the Meetings and Tradeshow Industry. It has been challenging to say the least. Businesses in all areas have been affected and many have not survived. The latest stimulus check will help but for how long?
As I go through the various cities looking at the Convention calendars of events, I see many cancellations and postponements. In addition, events have been scaled back but the good news is not completely, so there is hope.
The biggest vaccination campaign in history.
The biggest vaccination campaign in history is underway. 392 million doses have already been administered as of March 17, 2021 across 128 countries and this based on Bloomberg. 9.50 million doses a day so far and growing.
NORTHSTAR meetings group recently posted an article writing that recovery is starting back up. They write that approximately 355,000 new jobs have been gained in the leisure and hospitality sector last month alone. This according to the latest report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is great news and hopefully with continued awareness and wearing masks we will get ahead of this pandemic.Keep in mind that even with Vaccines being administered daily, half of U.S. properties are projected to stay empty in 2021. I looked at the American Hotel and Lodging Associations 2021 State of the Industry report.
What’s going with the HOTELS AND LODGING INDUSTRY?
AHLA research shows 34 percent of American’s feel comfortable staying in a hotel right now. I can say this as well. My hotel points are enough for at least 40 days but I have not used them unless it’s for work and that was once last year in October.
When AHLA did their surveys, they found that many noted that their comfort level is tied to vaccinations, with 20 percent saying they won’t feel comfortable until a majority of Americans have been vaccinated. You can find out more by going to their site.
Hotels are coming back so please note that cleaning protocols are in place and have been since last year. New technologies in cleaning are being utilized not just in hotels but in the meetings spaces all over the country.
Meeting and Conventions will start to come back in the 3rd and the 4th quarter. Vaccines are rolling out at a good pace, and this gives meeting planners and convention planners positive vibes.
As we get moving toward normalcy, here is my take on the Do’s and Don’ts so you can be ready for the work to I feel confidant will be ahead of us. Please note, I realize this has been said a lot but I thought to just share again my thoughts here.
DO: SOCIAL DISTANCING AND WEAR YOUR “MASK”
Yes, it’s a sentence that have come to be heard more than we care but there’s a reason for this. I’ve battled a few people (verbally but not too bad) that look at this as silly, government control and so on but here’s the reality.
Flatten the curve: You know the daily numbers we get from our local news, national news. If we can stay at least 6’ or 2 meters away from everyone that we don’t know and yes even those relatives and friends that you see on occasion, this really does help. Working from home for those that are lucky to still have a job know zoom as their best friend or worst enemy but it’s what we have to do. You can also still chat with you friends on the phone, yes, it’s not just for texting or sending photos. Use Zoom to chat as well if you can’t FaceTime.
DON’T: GOING TO LARGE GATHERINGS INDOORS OR OUTDOORS THAT HAVE NOT BEEN PROPERLY PREPARED.
You can be carrying the virus and not show any signs or feel any symptoms so this works both ways. Someone in that crowd may have it and not know it, some may have it and know it and don’t care. It’s just not worth the risk to you, your loved ones you have to go back home to and if you are the income earner this will devastate your family.
DO: GET VACCINATED
I went to the CDC.gov site and below are some highlights.
COVID-19 vaccination will help you from getting COVID-19. It’s that simple. Vaccines currently available in the United States have been highly effect at preventing COVID-19.
Additional COVID-19 vaccines that are in development are being carefully evaluated in clinical trials and will be authorized or approved only if they make it substantially less likely you’ll get COVID-19.
Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you.
Experts believe that getting COVID-19 vaccine may also help you from getting seriously ill even if you do get COVID-19.
COVID-19 vaccination is a safer way to help build protection and an important tool to help stop the pandemic.
It is my belief that we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and 2021 will be the year that happens. Let’s all come together and make a difference.
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and if I can help you at your Tradeshow, Convention and Event. Send me your RFP. I would like to get back into the Meetings Industry and do what I do best. Capturing More than the Moment.